It’s early January, which is the best time of the year to make your New Year’s resolutions. You can make them next August, but it sort of defeats the purpose.
There are all sorts of “no-no’s” in marketing copywriting. And I vow to write better, and avoid all of those “no-no’s.” Or, at least, many of them. I promise to:
- Do the research. People don’t think of copywriters as researchers, but a lot of our job is interviewing, learning, talking, reading and searching online. You can’t just write … stuff. Or it sounds like … stuff. Everything a copywriter writes should be based on an insight or benefit.
- Avoid weasel words. These are words that are vague and seem to imply something, but don’t really. Politicians use them all the time. Marketing examples include phrases like, “Most people think …” or “It is said that …” and many more. (By the way, the term weasel words was actually coined by Shakespeare, and comes from the egg-eating habits of weasels. Weasels puncture a small hole through an egg’s shell and suck out its contents. While the egg looks fine on the outside, closer examination reveals a fragile shell without any substance.)
- Avoid going off on random tangents, such as referring to Shakespeare.
- Avoid redundancy. Short copy is king. Saying something twice merely adds words for no reason. Saying something twice merely adds words for no reason.
- Read more. If you want to be a better musician, listen to music. If you want to be a better artist, go to the museum. Reading inspires writers and helps us sharpen our craft.
- Never steal copy from another source without crediting it (BTW, the Read More resolution above was stolen from this blog here).
- Write benefits, not features. No one cares if a product has the “Whatchamacallit 200.” They care what the “Whatchamacallit 200” does, and why it’s awesome. And if it doesn’t do anything … well, maybe we can dance around it … No. Nix that. See my resolution #2.
- Work out more. Fine, this has nothing to do with writing copy, but I wanted to write it down anyway.
Writing down your resolutions helps them come true. But if you do write them down, make sure you avoid weasel words, redundancy and so on.