Digital copy: Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it focused.
Writing in the digital space may be compressed, as in social ads, or longer-form, as in a blog or website. Either way, experience has shown us that to write effective copy, certain fundamentals apply.
Effective digital copy is:
Brief. There’s no room for puffery or padded language, especially in digital. Even longer copy needs to look short: broken up with subheads, photos, pull quotes or graphics that help the reader track through it. This is especially true for web pages. Too much type looks like too much work to read, and it will cost you customers.
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Conversational. Definitely include terms that are part of your client’s everyday business. But don’t overdo it. Stiff, jargon-laden language turns readers off. Sir David Ogilvy, one of the pioneers of modern advertising, said “Write the way you talk. Naturally.” (Proof of concept: read the copy out loud. If it doesn’t sound good, it probably isn’t.)
Active. Passive, indirect constructions waste valuable space and confuse the reader. Effective copy is active copy. It leads the reader directly from beginning to end, culminating in the call to action.
Direct. Effective copy tells the reader exactly what to do next: download, call, sign up, learn more.
Customer-focused. Talk to your customer, not to yourself. Show that you understand their problem—then show how you’ll solve it. You’ll help a business run faster; more efficiently. You’ll help them save money, feel better, be smarter. And wherever possible, use the “you” voice. It’s an excellent way to make sure your focus is on the customer, where it belongs.
Benefit-oriented, not feature-oriented. Merely listing features—no matter how many or how impressive—isn’t enough. You need to sell benefits: how does your product or service help your reader? As the adage goes, “Features tell. Benefits sell.”
To summarize, keep it short, keep it simple, keep it customer-focused—and you’ll make the sale.
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