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Want to know expert advice on writing content that compels readers to take immediate action? Read these 11 simple copywriting tips to stay ahead of the marketing game.
Speak to any copywriter who ever existed and they’ll tell you one thing.
Copywriting is not as easy as it sounds.
Over half of all readers lose interest in any webpage in 15 seconds.
Those could’ve been paying customers — good money, dropped into the abyss.
Gone for good.
Needless to say, starting strong is an absolute must.
Cast a hook as early as the first sentence and never ever let go.
Now you may be asking yourself:
“How do I do that?”
“How do I make my unconventional, no-name brand sound compelling?”
We hear you. For a start, write readable content.
Too vague? Don’t worry.
We’ve listed ways below to give you a leg up in the copywriting biz.
Here are 11 simple copywriting tips to maximize your content readability.
1. Cut Sentences Down to 20 Words Each
Great copywriting is not just about knowing what to write.
It’s also about knowing what not to write. And long, meandering sentences are a big no-no.
Because smacking your reader sentence after sentence with long strings of text wears them down.
Readers love storytelling, simplicity, and skimmable posts.
All that long sentences do is offer them the opposite.
Here’s an example:
“Although there is a clear 'Stop' signposted for pedestrians and bikers, and they're not allowed to use the ramp until it's clear, if a motorist is coming around a curve and sees a person approaching it, the motorist might instinctually swerve or stop to avoid hitting them, which may, unfortunately, cause another collision altogether.”
That piece had 54 words. Quite a mouthful, right?
Writing long sentences will lose an audience’s interest. While it mostly depends on the message you’re conveying, shorter sentences create a long-lasting impact.
There are tools to help you chunk your sentences down, like the Yoast SEO Real-time Content Analysis tool.
For each sentence, a rule of thumb is to keep them within 20 words or less — no exceptions.
Aside from highlighting lengthy sentences, they also give a comprehensive content audit of your text. This includes picking apart your passive sentences from your active sentences, and the percentage of transition sentences in your article.
2. Write Short Paragraphs
Have you ever read an assigned book in school, dreading the realization that there aren’t any paragraph skips?
You’re not alone.
Readers hate walls of texts, and they carry over the same dread when forced to read lengthy web copies.
Only this time, they don’t have to finish reading anything. They can always look at the next website to see if their content is more digestible.
That said, keep your sentences succinct and easy to read. Around 2-4 sentences per paragraph should keep the reading experience smooth for your audience.
Write succinctly, but don't write shallow articles either.
Thin content doesn’t sit well with Google. So, if you want high search engine rankings, be sure to create comprehensive, well-structured, and in-depth articles.
Needless to say, each sentence must be packed with impact. You can do this by doing away with weak words, like “stuff” or “things” or “got”.
By removing filler words, you’ll naturally develop sharper writing skills and craft a more compelling story.
3. Add an Image After Every 300 Words
Did you know that, on average, content with images gets 94 percent more traffic?
Users love it when you break up slabs of text with images.
This is especially true for more technical copies. A visual provides your audience some breathing space before they read through the rest of the article.
You can find these royalty-free visual aids in repositories like Unsplash or Pexels. Or you can go the more creative route and make your own custom graphics, like infographics and data visualizations, instead.
Online graphic design tools like Canva are great for those cases. They offer a drag-and-drop tool along with pre-made templates for non-designers.
Just remember this when using graphics in your content strategy:
Don’t use your competitor’s images, and always credit and link the images you use.
4. Don’t Skimp on Subheadings and Headings
Statistics show that 79% of readers scan a page before reading an article.
Do you know where their eyes fall first?
You guessed it, it’s the post’s headings and subheadings.
While your post’s headline should draw clicks, your headings and subheadings should help readers find the information they were promised.
Write subheadings that describe exactly what readers should expect from each section. For example, rather than writing “blogging tips” as a heading, use something like “SEO blogging tips for beginners.”
Subheadings are also great because they — just like images — break up thick walls of text. So, be sure to use them whenever you want to talk about something important.
5. Master Transition Sentences and Phrases
Building great content that flows from start to finish is one of the biggest challenges in copywriting.
You don’t just blend bits of reworded text from various sources. You need to weave sentences together with finesse so they read like a part of a single, cohesive piece.
Transition sentences and phrases can help you achieve this.
They allow you to establish logical connections between the sentences and sections of your copy. More importantly, they help you avoid writing choppy content with awkward and disruptive jumps from point to point.
Have no clue what transition sentences are?
Here are some examples:
● With that in mind, …
● I know what you’re thinking
● The bottom line is this:
● It’s not really rocket science, …
● The good news is, …
● Here are some examples:
You can learn 13 more transition phrase categories here to expand your copywriting vocabulary.
6. Create a swipe file to improve word variety
Want to know what will help you keep track of transition phrases and sentences in your writing arsenal?
A swipe file is traditionally a collection of fine writing samples used in copywriting.
Think of it as an inspiration board you can always look back to if your creative juices aren’t flowing.
Here are some things you could collate into a swipe file:
● Transition sentences and phrases
● Transitional phrases
Preferably, you should build your own, private swipe file with content you’ve written over the years. For beginners, search online for free swipe files you can use to borrow ideas and enhance your copywriting skills.
7. Simplify Your Language
Writing with verbose language isn’t pleasing anyone, especially on the Internet where everyone wants skimmable information fast.
If you’re not writing about technical topics, you should write in plain, meaningful English.
Many blogs and digital agencies prefer writers who write light and fluff-free — as if you’re talking to a friend.
Writing with simple language improves the readability of any copy. This also allows readers to absorb information at a steadier and more comfortable pace.
The Hemingway Editor highlights wordy and difficult sentences you may have missed during the drafting process. It also provides quick revision suggestions for certain issues, like complex words and passive voice.
However, always take these tools’ suggestions with a grain of salt. As helpful as they are for busy copywriters, their revision suggestions aren’t always perfect.
The best approach is to use them for basic issues only to keep the copywriter’s original writing voice intact.
8. Read Your Draft Out Loud
While seeing is believing in copywriting, your ears can also help make your content easier to read and more “natural-sounding.”
By reading aloud, you can check the brevity of your words and see how your sentences and ideas work together.
Not only that, but you’ll also better grasp the strength of your sentence structures.
Maybe you can spot awkward phrasing, a misspelled or duplicate word, or a redundant, value-less phrase. You could even find a hole where you could insert a transitional phrase, or remove one when necessary.
If you’d rather listen to your draft instead, plenty of text-to-speech tools online can do the job.
A tool that does that for you is NaturalReaders, which can read through pasted text and file attachments. You don’t even need to create an account — just plug in your draft and go.
9. Streamline The Proofreading Process
Writing the first draft can be messy.
You probably won’t like your output the first time, but putting words on the screen is already an achievement.
It’s best to write without worrying about editing first. Otherwise, you might end up stopping and editing sentences over and over again.
Writing unobstructed makes the copywriting process much faster.
When proofreading, simply giving your draft another read-through might be tempting. But if you want to create polished pieces, some tools can help streamline the process.
Grammarly can help sift through your work and can catch minor errors in writing. It comes with a paid version, but even the free version should have all the core features you need.
10. Write Tweetable Quotes
Have you noticed how many popular blogs have “click-to-tweet” quotes embedded in their articles?
They’re not there as decorations.
When you gather an engaged audience, you reap the benefits from social selling on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Copywriters add them with the intent to showcase a strong piece of insight that readers can tweet in one click. Hence, the word “click-to-tweet.”
You can easily create tweetable quotes with plugins like Better Click To Tweet. This will make it easier for readers to share tidbits of your wisdom on Twitter.
11. Wrap Everything Up into a Table of Contents
For readers, a table of contents is an absolute time-saver.
It allows them to take a quick glance at the article’s skeleton structure. You can also use links to enable readers to jump to the specific section they want to read.
The good news is, you don’t have to pull off some form of coding wizardry to create a clickable table of contents. In fact, you don’t need to touch coding at all.
A plugin like LuckyWP Table of Contents can get the job done automatically using your content’s headings.
If you prefer to do things yourself, all you have to do is use something called local or “anchor” links.
First, you attach an ID attribute to the section you want to include in your table of contents. It can be inside a tag like <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <p>, and so on.
<h2 id=”yourtag”>1. This is your header</h2>
When building the actual table of contents, you simply need to write the link like:
<a href=”#yourtag”>1. This is the link in your table of contents</a>
Go ahead and give it a try — it’s easier than it looks.
Writing good content is all about turning valuable and actionable information into something digestible and revenue-generating.
Copywriters aren’t expected to write like scholars, journalists, or scientists. They are results-based and conversion-based.
We hope you learned a lot about maximizing content readability from this post. If you want to learn more, check out 7 more tips on how to create branded content.
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