If you’re reading this, you already know the cold hard truth: copy is important. What you say and how you say it are important. There are a million copywriting resources on the internet – but you haven’t got time for that.
That’s why our team has put together three copywriting tips from three copywriters that will get you well on your way to writing better copy for your small business.
1. Opening a Dirty Tap with Harry Dry
Harry is the genius behind Marketing Examples and its infamous page of copywriting examples. In fact, one of our writer’s-block-defeating exercises is to stick whichever brand we’re stuck on into any of Harry’s copywriting examples. It hardly ever becomes the final copy but it helps us get warmed up and ready to make magic for our clients.
Harry’s number one tip is simply to start writing. When he spoke on a webinar for The Marketing Meetup, he shared this Ed Sheeran quote to encourage everyone to start writing until the writing gets good:
“Write everything that comes into your head. Write anything. I kind of treat it like a dirty tap in an old house. When you run a dirty tap for the first time in a while it’s clogged up… then suddenly it’s going to start running clear… just sit down, write a chord and off you go – you’ve unclogged the pipes’.”
There you have it, start writing. At first, you might think you’re spewing rubbish but getting the rubbish out of the way will get you to the good stuff faster.
2. Zooming In with Eddie Shleyner
On Valentine’s Day this year, Ed’s email included a story with a really good copywriting tip at the end. He called it Love, explained by a copywriter. It’s simultaneously beautifully written and useful for anyone trying to write better copy. Here it is:
While back, someone asked me a big question.
“What’s it like being in love?” they said.
“Oh,” I drank some beer. “Big question.”
“Ya,” they said, “I guess so.”
I felt shy so I looked down.
“So,” I said.
“Sometimes I wake up &
She isn’t there.
She’d already left for work.
So I roll over onto
Of the bed & hug her pillow
Because it’s cold & comfortable & smells like her shampoo.
And then I fall back asleep, thinking of her…”
I looked up. It was quiet.
“That’s what it’s like?” they said.
I nodded and had more beer.
“Ya,” they said. “I get it.”
You know, it’s just a moment, what I described. It’s just this small thing that reminds me of my wife. But it also represents a huge, universal concept, almost too big for words, much less a sentence.
And therein is my point:
Next time you need to efficiently articulate a huge concept—whether it’s about love or business or anything else—zoom in.
Zoom in on a specific moment tied to that concept. Focus The Reader’s attention on that one spot.
If The Reader can relate, the moment will carry weight. If she can relate, it will tell your story better than you think.
3. Proofread Your Sh*t with Oxford Comma
This tip is pretty basic but extremely important. When you make a typo, you look like you don’t care. Messages get lost in translation and your big marketing plans crash and burn. All because you didn’t put that extra bit of time into proofreading your work.
These are 3 tips from the trailblazing copywriting studio Oxford Comma Collective that will make your proofreading more efficient:
- Make it HUGE – Blow your work up on your screen and look at every single letter, in detail.
- Read it three times – You may have missed something on the first read. And you may have missed something on the second. Walk away and then give it a third read with fresh eyes.
- Read it out loud – Things sound better in your head. Give it a go out loud and see how it feels when you speak the words. Make sure every word feels correct.
Our extra thought here is to always have your Grammarly on and set to the correct English language variation. This will prevent mistakes from being made when you’re hopping between clients who want US English and clients who want UK English.
You don’t always have to listen to what Grammarly says but checking it will help make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Bonus tip from our team: Finding Gold in your Testimonials
Good copywriting is the result of good listening. If you can’t find the words to tell your audience why your product is so amazing (in most cases, you’ll want to stay away from actually using the word amazing) start with your testimonials and client feedback.
We like to start with a list of testimonials. Read through the list and highlight words that stand out – emotive words that make you feel something. Take note of which ones repeat often.
If your clients are constantly saying your space is ‘stunning’, your marketing copy should use the word ‘stunning’ when describing your space. Because if they keep mentioning it, it’s clearly something that matters.
Those are our top three copywriting tips from three copywriters who inspire us regularly. In summary:
- Start writing, even if it feels like rubbish at first
- Zoom in on the stuff that makes you feel something
- Proofread until you’re beaming with copy-pro pride
And if you can’t find the words, look for them in your testimonials.