10 tips for writing brilliant copy

1.

Stalk your readers

Get to know your audience, their culture and what's news to them, find out what they read, hang out where they go and learn their language.

2.

Start a conversation

Readers are sophisticated, so make sure you have a strong opening gambit to get their attention.

3.

Use the right voice

Use the right tone for you conversation – whether it's a keynote at a conference or a spoiler-filled rant at a Games Of Thrones convention.

4.

Give them reasons to keep reading

Make it a rewarding use of your readers' time – whether it's insight or amusement, give your readers something to take away from your copy.

5.

Make an offer

Build your copy around a specific course of action you want your readers to take, and make sure your readers believe you know what's best for them.

6.

Talk with confidence

You can be confident without being sales-y. Know your product, and have the right facts to back up your points, and don't be afraid to address potential sticking points (eg a high price point) head-on. 

7.

Use active language

Using lots of verbs make your audience use their imagination, visualising themselves using your product, and saving you a lot of hard descriptive work.

8.

Keep it conversational

Use natural language and keep your word count low – make sure you edit out any words that aren't pulling their weight, as write as efficiently and elegantly as you can.

9.

Stick to your story

Don't get sidetracked writing about cool bonus features, or bogged down in your metaphor. Decide on your message and stick to it – don't make your readers have to work to know what you mean.

10.

Have fun with it

Build on the bits that work, do more of the stuff you enjoy – don't be afraid to make mistakes or try something different, you can always change it back.

Journalist, copywriter and editor Eddy Lawrence writes for the Guardian, Shortlist and Time Out, and regularly runs talks and masterclasses on copywriting for businesses and the public for Clever Boxer and Guardian Masterclasses. He can be contacted via eddylawrence@gmail.com


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