Copywriting – tasty morsels or a blow-out meal?
Imagine this … it’s Sunday morning and you’ve just had a huge weekend breakfast. You’re basking in the gourmet delights of bacon, sausages, black pudding, beans … well you’ve got the picture, haven’t you?
Still sated from your hearty blow-out breakfast, you head off to visit your mum. As you know, all mums think their offspring are malnourished. So five minutes after you arrive, she serves you dinner. In front of you is the biggest plate in the world … brimming with a fabulous Sunday roast.
So what do you do? You can’t eat it. You have no appetite. It’s just all too much. Now hold that thought, because you’ll need it if you’re planning on writing any business copy.
So what the heck, I hear you asking, has that got to do with copywriting? Actually, quite a lot! Because people writing about their business often make the same mistake and try to force-feed their audience.
Don’t put your readers off
It doesn’t matter how good you are at copywriting, how well crafted your words or how technically correct it is; you must encourage your audience to read it. Everyone is short of time and under a lot of pressure. Nobody has an appetite for a huge plateful of information.
So compare your copy to a large meal at a time when the reader isn’t hungry. Long sentences are hard work. They need careful reading before you can digest them. Short sentences slip down without any effort.
Long paragraphs are visually off-putting – it’s going to take a lot of effort to plough through them. So instead of reading your copy, your audience will push it to one side. Keeping your paragraphs to five or six lines makes them much more readable.
When copywriting, your objective is to write something which can be read quickly and easily and encourages a response. Cramming your page with densely packed information will simply put your readers off.
Write in bite-size pieces
Instead, divide your copy into bite-size pieces. Use headings so your audience can choose what to read. Some people will want carrots, while others will want sprouts!
Give your copy visual appeal by increasing the amount of white space on the page. Don’t be tempted to cram it all onto one. If you do, it will resemble that laden plateful of food. Use a slightly wider line spacing and formatting techniques to help people read it quickly and easily.
Remember to use a sensible font in a decent point size. You might think ornate fonts look good, but in fact, they’re very difficult to read. They might work as a garnish, but don’t be tempted to use them for the main course!
When people look at marketing or business copywriting, they don’t read every single word. First, they scan the copy looking for points of interest (carrots and sprouts again). When they spot something they like, they will start to read.
Give your copy eye-appeal
It’s said people eat with their eyes first, so food must have visual appeal. Copywriting is no different. If you present it well and make it easy to digest, your copy will work and you’ll generate results.
So next time you’re writing, be considerate. Help your reader out – they’re busy people and they’re going to have a lot on their plate already.
As WORD-right’s principal copywriter and company director, Joy McCarthy has many years’ experience in both copywriting and marketing and is a highly skilled SEO copywriter and internet marketer. She is also a copywriting tutor and director of Copywriting Training Ltd. She works with student copywriters, marketers, and business owners and managers, helping them improve their writing skills.