When writing copy, you want to keep it tight. Here’s how to declutter your copy so you don’t waste your customer’s time by making them sift through unnecessary words and information trying to find your main message.
Start cleaning it up!
01. Get rid of extra words
Seems obvious but here’s how to do it. Read through your current copy. Are there any filler or unnecessary words you can remove? You want your copy to sound natural, like someone would actually say the words you use for your brand. But, when trying to sound natural, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of using modifiers or unnecessary words. (Don’t become the lyrical copywriter.)
These words can often be deleted without changing the sentence structure or meaning:
- we think that/we believe that
02. Get rid of complicated words
Keep it simple. You don’t need to use big words or jargon to prove your brand’s quality or professionalism. While you don’t want your copy to sound dumbed down or repetitive, you also don’t want it to sound like you used a thesaurus for every word. Usually, the simplest, most-used version of a word will be the best. For example, in #1 I used the word “extra” instead of “extraneous.” Both will work but one is obviously simpler.
Same goes for corporate jargon. It’s okay to use industry-speak if it’s really necessary…but, let’s be honest, most corporate jargon is pretty cringe-worthy.
03. Use subheadings and lists
Copy should always be scannable. Whether you’re writing for your website, product packaging, social media or service packages, your reader and potential customer should be able to scan your messaging instead of having to dig through large chunks of text.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that shorter copy is always better – you’re free to write as much as you need to accurately and effectively get your point across. BUT everything you write should be easily digestible. This means cutting out unnecessary words or structuring sentences so they’re completely clear, as well as formatting your copy so it’s easy to scan.
That’s where breaking up text with subheadings or organizing information in bulleted lists rather than paragraphs come in. You can see this on my homepage – the intro is broken up into individual sentences, then services are highlighted in clear subheadings with short descriptions before a short, clear call to action.
04. Focus on benefits not features
This is one of the three copywriting mistakes I often see. Poor copy focuses on a brand/product/service’s features. Strong, effective copy focuses on the benefits to the potential customer or client. (See more about this in #2 here.)
05. Write directly to your customer
This is another common mistake and one of the main things that’s CRUCIAL for connecting and converting customers. Your copy should be written directly for and to your customer. Not for you. Not for your competitors. Not for any stakeholders. It should be written in your customer’s voice and speak directly to them. Writing directly to the reader, and speaking to their needs and emotions is the key to unlocking sales.