Have you ever wondered how brands communicate with so much wit? Well, it’s all in the copywriting and it’s no piece of cake. Good copy needs to walk a fine line between encouraging action from consumers without sounding too pushy and above all, needs to catch their attention. Good content writing is essential for all businesses, so here are my top content writing tips for beginners! ⠀⠀⠀⠀
Before we jump straight into my 12 content writing tips for beginners, let’s first take a look at what copywriting actually is. At its most basic level, copywriting is text created for marketing purposes and it’s crucial for converting your target audience into customers.
When a visitor lands on your site, it takes them 3 seconds to decide whether what you can offer is what they’re looking for. It’s as simple as 3, 2, 1, gone! If done well, content writing will instantly capture the attention of your audience, helping potential customers slide their way through the sales funnel and into your shopping cart. It’ll convert potential customers into leads, and finally into loyal customers.
Copywriting also helps your audience better understand who you are as a business, including your history, mission, goals and beliefs. To put it bluntly, copywriting is what pioneers every brand and any marketing campaign that is worth its weight features masterful copy, so keep reading for our content writing tips that are sure to captivate your audience!
Not only does your content need to capture your target audience when they are on site, it also needs to get them there in the first place. Luckily, you can tweak your copy to include keywords to get seen on search pages when your audience is browsing for a solution to their problem. This is a form of copywriting called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
SEO can benefit your business and help you get to the top of search pages, making it more likely that your target audience will find their way onto your site. Your company must be one of the first your customer sees when they’re searching online and this starts with relevant, interesting and valuable content carefully created with Search Engine Optimised (SEO) copywriting in mind.
We have created a content cycle which when followed correctly, will help you to create effective, SEO optimised copy.
The Content Cycle:
Our top content writing tip for beginners is to start your research early. The research stage is where you dig deep and find out everything you need to know about your ideal customer.
- What interests them?
- How can you help them solve a problem?
- How do they think?
Every time you run into something interesting around this topic, save it and compile a list of useful articles.
Once you have completed your research, it’s time to decide on a plan of action. This is the stage where you’ll decide if you’ll create the content yourself, or outsource. As a small business owner, time is your greatest asset so if you can use it to grow your business by focusing on something other than copywriting, don’t be afraid to hire a professional (like me).
The content you create needs to be tailored toward your specific audience. A great content writing tip that will elevate your copy is to have a deep understanding of what your audience wants to see. Instead of fixating on selling your product, take a step back and ask yourself, what does my audience actually want to know?
Make sure you are using proper grammar, spelling, and formatting to establish authority for your business. This also means looking at the keywords your target audience searches for, and making your content SEO optimised.
After creating and optimising your content, it’s time to publish! This is where you’ll decide on the platform that’s best for your business.
Metrics, analytics, and statistics are just as important as promoting. Each time you publish content, you need to analyse how it performed. Over time, you’ll understand your audience better and effective content writing will become a second language to you!
6. Lastly, repeat this cycle!
Still not sure? Still need more help on copywriting?
Here are my 12 copywriting tips for beginners (like you) to help you on your writing journey.
1. Keep it short
Short words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs are more impactful than long ones. When you write long, meandering sentences, your target audience has to work much harder to make sense of what you’re saying. They might even give up. So keep your sentences short and to the point.
2. Talk in the Present Tense
Writing in the present tense is more compelling. Try ‘We do X’, rather than ‘We will do X’.
3. Reduce the number of words
If you can take a word out and your sentence still makes sense, do it. As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the better. You can also try and say the same thing using fewer words, for example, ‘Because’ instead of ‘Due to the fact that’.
4. Always focus on ‘you’ rather than ‘we’ & push benefits rather than features
This puts the focus on the customer or reader. Effective content marketing and copywriting always starts with the customer. No one wants to read copy that only talks about the company, so make sure your copy uses “you” twice as often as “we” and you’ll naturally focus on the needs and desires of your customer. This will make your copy stronger and you’ll get more traffic, leads and sales. For example, “Because we do X, you’ll get X” is much more powerful than the unimaginative, “We do X, Y and Z”.
5. Don’t be too formal
This copywriting tip might seem counterintuitive, but the best writers know when to break the rules of proper grammar. One of the most common copywriting mistakes brands make is writing in a way that’s too formal and robotic – it doesn’t feel natural! If you speak in your audience’s language, they’ll hear your message and act!
In your copy, be too formal in less formal situations and ditch archaic or legalistic words and phrases. Say ‘You’ll’ instead of ’You will’ and don’t be afraid to start sentences with ‘And’, ‘But’, ‘Or’, ‘Because’ etc.
6. Ditch clichés and management speak
When it comes to copywriting for your business, plain talking always wins the respect of your customers. Simply swapping out phrases like ‘at this moment in time’ for ‘now’ or ‘blue sky thinking’ for ‘creative ideas’ is more effective than you might think.
7. Keep your copy as short and to-the-point as possible
Simplify your content as much as possible. When someone is on the internet, you don’t have their full attention, so using simple language will make it as easy as possible for people to scan your message and catch the general drift. Don’t waste time with lengthy introductions and instead, focus on creating punchy one-liners that tap into human emotions. As for the main body, simply split your content into bite-size chunks by including short, benefit-packed subheadings and bullet points.
8. Don’t hype it up! – it will look hyped up!
If you wouldn’t speak like that in public, then don’t write like that either.
9. Avoid too much punctuation
Avoid too many bolds, underscores, capitals, exclamation marks etc. It’s easy to get carried away with punctuation but too much emphasis, emphasises nothing.
10. Only say as much as you need
Only say as much as you need to and not a word more, or less. It’s important that everything you write has a purpose.
11. Come back to your draft
Once you’ve written your first draft, leave it – then come back to it the next day and read it again.
Taking a short break will give you fresh eyes when you come to look over your work the next day. When re-visiting your writing you should put on your devil’s advocate hat and ask yourself after each sentence, ‘Does the reader care?’ and keep doing this until the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’
12. Test your draft
Test your draft on a customer or colleague – someone you can depend on to be brutally honest.
Find someone you trust and ask them, ‘Would this make you buy the product?’. This person should be brutally honest with you and may even pick up on things in your writing that you hadn’t noticed! This will give you an insight on what you need to change in the editing process of your writing.
In wrapping up these copywriting tips for beginners, it’s important to remember that writing is a skill, and just like any skill it takes practice! Let’s look at the key takeaways before you begin writing.
- Keep your writing short and simple
- Focus on the ‘you’ rather than ‘we’. Always talk about your customer and their needs.
- Don’t be too formal
- Ditch clichés
- Avoid punctuation
- Re-visit your work the next day and ask someone to proof-read it for you
Not you’ve read my 12 content writing tips for beginners you can take the actions you need to win up the perfect content! If you found this post helpful, please take a moment to share it with your network in the hopes they may find it useful too!