Make sure you aren’t ignoring the most essential rule in copywriting.
I love words. I love writing. I kinda sorta like grammar.* But I realize many people don’t have the time or affinity for writing. In a content-driven world, this can frustrate many folks, especially small business owners with limited time and budgets.
To help, I’m sharing the most helpful tips, best practices, and church-whispered suggestions to help up your copywriting game. And these tips include the one rule most people don’t consider when writing copy:
1. Know your audience. Nope!
1. Use SEO keywords. Nope!
1. Be concise. Nope!
1. Get rhythm! Yes!
That’s right. The most important thing you can learn and embrace as a copywriter is what Jonny Cash sang in 1956 – Get rhythm! If you want your words to dance off the page – and you do; you really, really do – grab dance partners with rhythm and get to know them well: parallelism, alliteration, repetition, and rhyme (don’t dance with rhyme too often, though). Rhythm in your writing equals engagement. It takes your readers for a twirl and leaves them exhilarated.
2. Read poetry and children’s picture books often. With the restrained formats of both genres, every word counts. Every verse has rhythm to lead you to the next verse. My favorites include Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Mo Williams, and Arnold Lobel of the enchanted “Frog and Toad” series.
3. Draw loopy circles. I don’t know why, but it opens up the brain.**
4. Practice daily by writing a blog post about the day’s weather. If you just write about the weather, you won’t stymie yourself trying to come up with a topic. The weather is there, every day in front of you. You will eventually get giddy writing about it, and it will be good for you.
5. Listen to real conversations. Writing good content is about relevancy. To be relevant, you need to know what people are talking about. Now that we’re reconnecting with groups of people, tune in to what they’re saying, and touch on it in your next piece.
6. Avoid subjects with expiration dates. Even though you want to include timely and relevant issues, beware the use of TikTok-like memes that might be outdated by the time your content gets any real traction.
7. Know your creative golden hour. I like to write in the morning, starting out in my notebook and then refining the words on my computer. If I think of something while out and about, I record it in the Notes app on my phone.
8. Read out loud. When you think you are finished with your content, read it aloud. Go ahead. I won’t laugh.
9. Walk away. Before sharing any content, go for a walk or take a nap, then give it one last read. Trust me on this one.
10. Play with words and phrases. In my headline, I take the old radio term used by truckers to mean, “Do you write copy?” I changed the meaning of “copy” from “understand” to the verb “write,” which is not grammatically correct. But who cares? Go ahead, butcher the king’s language.***
**I’m not a Neurologist.
***Just kidding, Oxford English Dictionary!