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5 rookie copywriting mistakes (and how to avoid them)


There are some mistakes that copywriters starting out are always prone to.  Once you see the mistakes you’re making they seem obvious.  You can’t spot them until you know what they are. In other words, it’s easy once you know how.   When starting out in any profession, it’s worth doing some research before rushing forward and putting your work on the line. Of course, we will all get better with time, but there are some mistakes we can try to avoid. Here are five:       1. Mistaking style for skill     New writers are often advised to ‘find their voice’. In copywriting this can stand in your way. You should have confidence in your strength as a writer, but you shouldn’t create a singular, unshakeable tone of voice.   You must be like a chameleon, able to adapt your tone of voice to meet the needs of your client.   Many copywriters starting out can forget this, and it can lead to our next big mistake:     2. Rigidity     In order to evolve, we have to adapt. Copywriting is about producing engaging, persuasive work that also meets the desires of our clients.   There’s a careful balance to be struck. You must persuade your client that you are giving them what they want before they know they want it.     3. Talking to a million people instead of just one     It’s easy to start thinking of your audience as a mass of faceless people. In fact your audience is just one person, sitting alone in a room. This one person will be thinking about what is right for them. Your job is to grab their attention. Be direct, clear and explain how your product could suit their needs.     4. Not being plain or simple     This is not to be confused with making your copy boring (avoid that). However it’s vital to remember that readers will often only skim read, so remember to make it easy to scan.   A piece of work split up into easy to read sections is much easier to read than one big chunk of text. Make it exciting and interesting, with bold, clear statements that your reader can recognize and easily understand. Your readers will be all the more likely to continue reading.     5. Forgetting that first impressions are everything     This may be the most important thing to know when starting out, and it relates to only a couple of sentences in your work – the ones at the start. This is a mistake that’s easy to make and also easy to avoid. Many of your readers will only stick around for that first line. You need to grab their attention and draw them in.   Drop the first line like a bomb: this is important information that your life will not get easier without. If they get sucked in, the rest of your copy will be all the more convincing. They’ve already made the first step by reading beyond the first paragraph; the rest of the copy should confirm what they suspect.     If we study the errors of the past we can learn to avoid them. There are some big mistakes that must be avoided in copywriting, even if it is easier once you know.


Ben Locker



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