9 mistakes that show your copy is behind the times
Copywriting has changed fairly dramatically over the last few decades since digital took over.
The majority of content is now written for the web and social media channels. It can be difficult to keep up with best practice and writing conventions, but it’s important – you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons.
Here are some pointers on what to avoid when it comes to writing copy for digital channels.
- Long paragraphs.
Remember most platforms like websites have relatively narrow columns for copy, much narrower than Word. In fact, it’s likely someone may end up reading your copy on a mobile screen. Also, users tend to skim read blog articles and web copy, so it’s best to break it up and make it easier to digest. There’s nothing more annoying than landing on a page that has a huge block of text to try and absorb.
- Indenting paragraphs.
A space between them will do. This isn’t a letter from the early 20th century, it’s a nice, clean bit of copy going onto a digital channel.
- Double spacing.
This is a legacy of typewriters, but your content won’t match the formatting and layout of your other digital content if you start adding in double spaces. Also, it’s often difficult to be consistent with double spacing and you end up with a weird mix of single and double spacing, especially if multiple people are editing a bit of copy.
- Being too salesy.
Sales-driven content can come across as insincere and be off-putting. This includes cheesy one-liners and exclamation marks. Just avoid them.
- Keyword stuffing.
It’s so obvious when you’re writing content just to fit in as many keywords as possible rather than with your reader in mind. If you are writing an article about a particular subject, then related keywords will naturally crop up without you having to force it.
- Overuse of bold, italics or even worse, all caps.
There are better ways to draw attention to key points such as using subheadings or single-line paragraphs.
- Using obscure words in order to elevate your copy.
Generally, it’s best to keep content simple and relatively easy to understand. There’s no need to oversimplify but also no need for unusual or flowery language. You could alienate your audience.
- Forgetting who you are speaking to and what tone of voice to use.
If you’re writing for a younger audience or a more informal channel (e.g. social media) then overly formal writing will look out of place. Think carefully about where your content will appear and who you are speaking to.
- Using ‘click here’ or URLs for hyperlink text.
There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t do this, ranging from SEO to user experience. Plus, the link will take up unnecessary space if the link text is a URL. Try to describe in a few words what you are linking to, for example: BBC website.
Don’t be afraid to ask for some professional support. Here at asabell we have dedicated copywriting experts on hand to help you produce the best possible copy. Catch people’s attention with your content – but for the right reasons. Get in touch to find out more.