Making mistakes to a certain extent is unavoidable in life and in copy. And we could argue that making mistakes is actually a good thing.
Often they teach us valuable lessons and set us on the right path. But, who wouldn’t want to avoid some mistakes all together if they could; especially in copy.
As a copywriter, I know the importance of details, the little things that can make a difference to the reader, even if they don’t know it when they see it.
I remember back in journalism school, every time I read through a piece that was due to the editor, my mind would race through a huge mental checklist.
I could hear every professor or mentor in my head reminding me of the importance of the smaller details.
While all of those things are still on my radar, there’s a bit more flexibility in copywriting for a business than there is in journalism. But, that doesn’t mean it should be a free-for-all. Your copy matters. Here are a few of the bullets on my mental checklist that will help you avoid those dreaded copy mistakes once and for all.
Okay okay maybe not all of them! I love a little peppy one-liner or an exclamation point to really drive home a message, but too many can be overkill. Too many exclamation points can actually dilute your message because your reader doesn’t know what area you want them to pay attention to. Different brand voices will influence how many are acceptable or “on brand” but as a rule of thumb, if you’re seeing multiple sentences back to back all ending with “!” take a second look.
Your brand voice is how you set yourself apart AND how your audience gets to know you. If your business is very light and positive and your copy comes off with a serious tone, your reader may do a double-take. The goal should always be to have copy that is recognizable without people even seeing your logo or name behind it. I recommend defining your voice or collaborating with a copywriter to nail it down. A good place to start is by asking yourself how you want your brand to sound to your reader? Positive and uplifting or sarcastic and rambunctious?
You know when you sit down next to someone on the airplane (remember planes and travel?!) and they just keep talking and every time you think they’re done they just keep going? Mmhmm well, a common mistake with copy is pretty much exactly that. Every time you write something, I encourage you to read it out loud. Is there a natural stopping point? Could you get the same impact in fewer sentences? If you hesitate when asking yourself those questions, make another draft and read aloud again you may be surprised how few words it takes to achieve the same message.
Grammar and spelling mistakes, ugh. It happens to all of us, but it’s one of those “once you see it you can’t unsee it,” type of things. Sorry to go full-on english teacher on ya, but grammar and spelling matter. Of course, things fall through the cracks, even for professionals, but try to slow down. And don’t forget that one final read through aloud before hitting send or post can do you wonders.
Writing for the sake of writing is not the way you’re going to nab your dream client or a new customer. So many entrepreneurs and brands feel pressured to produce, produce, produce that their content begins to be quantity over quality. Stop right there. Next time you write a piece of content, whether it’s for social, a newsletter or your website, ask yourself if you would want to read that. If not, scrap it and try again when something really inspires you.
I hope this will act as your new mental checklist to conquer your copy with confidence and leave those mistakes behind. If you need a hand getting your brand messaging and story squared away you can learn more about our services HERE.
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