Ever wondered what separates generic from outstanding copywriting? The answer is quite a lot, but there are certain habits at both extremes of the spectrum that can swing things wildly in either direction.
So with this in mind, here’s a quick rundown of 10 surprisingly common copywriting habits it’s usually best to avoid at all costs:
- First up, using too many exclamation marks throughout any piece of copy doesn’t typically pan out positively. Given that exclamation marks are used to convey emphasis, trying to emphasise the whole piece strips emphasis entirely and illustrates laziness.
- Using too many adjectives can also take value away from whatever it is the piece is attempting to promote. Overuse of superlatives will never convince anyone that what you’re saying is true. Quite the opposite, in fact.
- Starting successive sentences or paragraphs using the same word won’t necessarily harm the quality of the content, but it still comes across as somewhat lazy and unprofessional. In any case therefore, it’s best avoided.
- Switching backwards and forwards from one voice to another can also render what may be an otherwise interesting piece of text confusing, amateurish or illegible. Choose first-person, third-person or whatever voice fits the piece and stick with it.
- It’s also quite common to fall into the trap of using overly formal words, purely for the sake of upping the authority/value of the piece. The only problem being that these kinds of tactics can be spotted at miles away by the average reader, once again coming across as lazy and/or desperate.
- Creating and publishing paragraphs that are too long is a cardinal sin in the world of both website development and content creation in general. Even if the text is relatively simple and easy to read, enormous chunks of text that aren’t separated or in some way punctuated with bullet points, numbers or breaks are immediately off-putting.
- Repetition can be a powerful tool, if used appropriately. At the other end of the scale, repeating the same point over and over again simply to drill it into the mind of the reader is both boring and devoid of any real value. Make your point and feel free to summarise it later on, but don’t keep banging on about the same thing.
- The same also goes for wit and humour – incredibly powerful in the right hands, though quite destructive and detrimental in others. It’s important to remember that humour is subjective, meaning how it is received by the reader matters more than the comic capabilities of the writer.
- Even something as simple as poor formatting has the potential to make or break online copy. Crossing the line into the flamboyant isn’t usually a good idea, but whatever is being presented should come across as immediately attractive and eye-catching.
- Last up, stringing copy out simply to increase word count is usually worse than publishing no content at all. Not only will fluff and filler sends readers in the opposite direction, but it doesn’t exactly go down well with Google these days, either.