5 Ways to Strengthen Your Copy
- Elizabeth Frey
- On December 15, 2011
Strong, compelling copy has the power to inform, persuade or motivate your readers. For a blog, having useful, intelligent copy that provides value is your ultimate goal. If you present such content to your readers, they’ll return to your site, link to it as an authority and share it with their friends, all of which will also help Google recognize the relevance of your blog and bring it up in the search results. For ad copy, you need language that efficiently communicates to the reader the value of your brand and motivates them to take some sort of action, like call your business, visit your website or show up at the store. Here are some tips to help improve your copy.
1. Utilize Headings
Traditional SEO advice has recommended using keyword-rich headings in your copy, with the idea that spiders would crawl your page, have a better understanding of what it is about, and be able to direct visitors to your site. While Google is constantly updating their algorithms, it’s still sound practice to use headings in your copy simply for the sake of your reader. Organizing your content under headings provides structure to your post, emphasizes the importance of each point and looks less overwhelming to a reader than a large block of text.
2. Perfect Your Technique
You want your copy to be exciting, compelling and pleasing to read. The best way to improve your writing is to read as much as you can. You’ll see what works best, and start to realize those techniques in your own writing. However, here are a few tips in particular that can help your writing:
Avoid Passive Voice: Passive voice refers to sentences whose structure emphasizes what is happening to something, rather than what something (or someone) is doing. For example, “the car was purchased by a middle-aged couple.” Another way to say this without using passive voice would be, “the middle-aged couple purchased the car.” While passive voice can be used effectively at times in order to shift emphasis, in general it will sound a little bit more awkward.
Use Parallel Structure: Parallel structure refers to a technique used by writers where they structure items in a list similarly. Here’s an example: Utilizing parallel structure makes your copy sound smooth, gives it a rhythm and flow, and emphasizes the equal importance of each item in the list. Each item started with a verb in the same tense (“makes,” “gives,” and “emphasizes”). Do this in your copy, and it will look more professional and polished. Use lists of three items for the best effect.
3. Speak to the Right Audience
Knowing your target audience allows you to cater your message to the right people in the right way. Ask yourself, “Who will be reading this?” The answer will determine what level you should be writing. A how-to piece might have a simpler, straightforward tone, a case study will have a more analytical tone, and ad copy needs language that piques interest initially and compels the reader to follow through with your call to action.
If you expect an audience to have an informed understanding of your topic, then you want to increase the complexity of your post in order to offer them valuable information.
4. Brand Your Language
Develop a writing style for your business and continue to use that style throughout your copy. The key to branding is consistency, and it’s important that your writing style maintains that consistency. When developing a style, consider the audience you mean to attract. Adopt a tone that would appeal to that audience.
5. Keep It Simple
The number one rule in writing is always say something as simply as possible. That doesn’t mean to use basic language, but rather to express your point as efficiently as possible. Your goal is effective communication. Convoluted language will confuse your readers and defeat the whole point of writing. Have someone else proof your copy to ensure you’ve made your point succinctly.
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