How To Create Good Copywriting techniques
As you know, there are certain rules for good copywriting. And it is important for you to understand them. Only when you know the basics should you try to become more innovative.
As with any other ability, practice makes for better performance. The more you write, the better you will write, provided you start by following the basic rules.
It is easy to allow sloppy habits to creep into your writing. The effort you put into the basics now will serve you well later on. There are certain professional copywriting techniques that you simply must follow. If you ignore them you reveal yourself as an amateur and your efforts will be treated accordingly.
This is not to say that you cannot be yourself or that you cannot knowingly break rules. But you should do this with a purpose, not out of ignorance. From time to time, you will certainly go beyond the rules into new horizons of creativity and style. But know the rules first!
You will also find that most writing is straightforward. It does not call for clever innovations that often do not work. So, when you’re fist tarting out stay with tried and tested methods. Certainly, any writing demands creativity. However, keeping it simple does not mean you are not being creative.
Keep It Simple
Many beginning writers believe they will impress by being as complicated as possible. Not so. Being creative in your writing does not mean being complex or sounding intellectual. Being simple in your writing does not mean being dull or imply a lack of intellect. The simpler your copywriting the better.
The whole idea of writing is to communicate. You do not want to make your readers struggle. When you write simply it means that more of your readers can understand what you are saying. Most certainly this approach will not offend your more educated or intellectual readers.
Create Flow In Your Copywriting
Always ensure your copy “flows”. Good copywriting also concerns setting out what you want to say in a logical sequence. The article should flow naturally from one point to the other. Do not jump backwards and forwards between ideas or items of information.
Cover each aspect of your story fully and individually before moving on to the next part. It shows when you have an after-thought and attempt to cover it with an additional paragraph further on.
Use short paragraphs. The best way to break up your paragraphs is according to subjects or ideas. One idea, one paragraph! But when you have an overly long paragraph it is better to cut it in an appropriate place. Use your paragraph breaks to achieve a smooth transition from one concept to another.
Avoid Using Needless Words
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “verbiage” as an abundance of words without necessity or much meaning. Avoid needless words – For example:
- As a matter of fact
- It may be stated
- It should be recorded
- As you will recall
- To be perfectly blunt
- For your information
- It is important to add
- For your information
- It is interesting to note
Here are some other examples of “verbosity”:
- prior to (before)
- subsequent to (after)
- in excess of (more than)
- for the purpose of (to)
- on the grounds (because)
- as a consequence (because)
- in the course of (during)
- in the absence of (without)
- with the exception of (except)
- in the event of (if)
A Checklist Of Copywriting Techniques
I believe you can always make improvement to any article you intend to submit to an editor. Consider these points?
- Have you written a strong lead to spark your reader’s interest?
- Every story must have a beginning, a middle and an ending. Develop a flow to your story.
- Do not be afraid to rewrite. All stories benefit from editing.
- Do not try to imitate anybody else. Be yourself and let your own style develop naturally. Do not forget that style is different to the correct use of words.
- Always simplify. The simpler you make your writing the better.
- When you edit your work ask yourself: Does this serve a useful purpose?
- Go to the heart of your story. Do not waste too much time coming to your point.
- Set out your story contents in logical sequence. Do not jump around with your ideas.
- Use plenty of paragraphs. Newspaper and magazine layout does not encourage big slabs of copy. Break it up.
- Short sentences are better than long sentences.
- Use strong verbs that fit what you are saying.
- Write in the active voice.
- Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
- Use the concrete word rather than the abstract.
- Prefer short words to circumlocution.
- Do not be contrived or overly clever.
- Avoid overstatements.
- Do not preach to your reader. Show them. Use dialogue, anecdotes and incidents. Do not use long narrative.
- Get quotes to back your story up and make it come alive.
- Do not rely on adjectives. These have little place in good copywriting.
- Do not digress from the main points of your story.
- Do not be wordy. Say what you want to say in the most economical way you can.
- Do not use unnecessary punctuation.
- Keep yourself out of the story. If you wish to give an opinion write a Letter to the Editor.
How To Research and Use Quotes
I think you understand the distinction between “research” and “quotes”. But let me just re-emphasise it anyway. “Research” sources are books, files, reports, previous articles, letters, programs, documents and other materials that have, generally, been published before., “Quotations” are spoken words, from the people you have interviewed for your article.
Usually if you make a statement in your article it comes from research: “The house is 130 years old.” You know that because you checked it in say, a book and a title deed. But you might quote someone instead. “I reckon the house is over 130 years old, Mrs Smith said. Either way, you’re right.
I usually recommend to anyone starting a writing career that as the writer, you should state any facts and figures. Even if your interviewee gives you a lot of facts, try to use as quotes the more colourful statements. In other words, if Mr Jones says to you “I believe the home is over 100 years old, and believe me, it’s haunted by a scary ghost,” you should write; “The home is supposedly over 100 years old, Mr Jones said. “And believe me; it’s haunted by a scary ghost.”
Fraser is a Freelance Journalist, Author and CEO of Pro-Content Australia – providing professional online & offline content writing services worldwide.
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