Usually, people draw the Jill-of-All-Trades line when it comes to website development, paid ad management, and (hopefully) electric and plumbing. However, most people fancy themselves a copywriter. Luckily, with training, you can be! But just because you’re literate doesn’t mean you have stellar copywriting chops. To ensure your copy wows and converts, follow the next 18 copywriting tips. They’ll help you hone your writing skills and content marketing messaging to provide a better customer experience in 2019.

Determine Your Purpose

Is your copy meant to entertain, educate, or promote? Whatever the intention, determine your copy’s purpose before writing! If you don’t have something interesting to say, don’t say anything at all. If you do, proceed to the next tip.

Create a Messaging Hierarchy

In other words, write a high-level outline based on goals and overall talking points. To determine this, determine the main message you want to get across in the piece—or the primary goal. Then, assign the secondary and tertiary goals. After this…

Draft an Outline

When you lay the groundwork for your blog, email, or case study, your finished piece will be so much more organized. Take the time to do this! Start with your messaging hierarchy and write a headline that encompasses your primary message (more on that below.) Come up with a few supporting points. Then, make room for your conclusion. Once you have your outline, you can fill in the blanks with your first draft of copy. When you do…

Speak To Your Audience

Great copy resonates with the target audience. To make your copy more personalized, segment your messaging—especially in email campaigns or on landing pages. For instance, create variable headlines, subject lines, and paragraphs for certain groups of people. This may be patients who have an upcoming visit versus lapsed patients. You can also segment demographically by location or age. The bottom line? The more you talk specifically to someone, the more they’ll pay attention to what you have to say.

Stay True to Your Brand

Use the voice and tone of your brand in every bit of copy—from punctuation to sentence structure to email signatures. Lean on your brand guidelines to help you and your team stay consistent and on track. If you don’t have a brand book, learn how to make one! It’s essentially your brand’s owner’s manual.

Focus on Subject Lines and Headlines

Headlines and subject lines may be short, but they’re important! Not only do these snippets summarize the content to follow, they also intrigue the audience to click and read the piece. Follow these rules to write better subject lines and emails:

Write More Than One

Your first idea isn’t always your best. Write a batch of headlines and subject lines to find the best solution. Shoot for five to 20 to get the pick of the litter.

Ask a Question

Questions intrigue people and draw them in to find the answer. Test questions in your headlines and emails versus statements to see what does best.

Add Urgency

Compel people to open an email or blog post with an urgent headline or subject line. The headline, “Final hours to save!” or “Don’t miss out!” show the audience they need to act fast—and usually get better click-through-rates.

Be Straight Up

It’s tempting to get cutesy and creative, but sometimes straightforward is best. When in doubt, ask a co-worker. If they scratch their head, you may need to simplify things.

Use Numbers

People love numbers! Use them whenever you can for listicles, percentages, or tips.

Keep it Short

Keep subject lines to 70 characters or less and headlines under 30 characters.

Use Action Words

Tell people what to do with action words like “shop now” or “read more.” Be direct and to-the-point.

Don’t Mislead!

Bait and switch techniques only piss people off. Tell them what to expect in the headline or subject line and then deliver on that. Otherwise, they won’t trust you to click next time.

Pay Attention to Trends

Fortunately, marketing statistics exist. Pay attention to these emerging trends to seize an opportunity when it comes along. Here are the best performing headlines of 2017 according to Buzzsumo.

best performing headlines

Break Up Your Copy

Blocks of copy put people off. Use bullet points, H2s, H3s, images, and sections to make your copy easy to scan and read.

Be Ruthless When Editing

If you watch Project Runway, then you know editing is necessary in fashion. And if you’re reading this blog, you know editing is important in writing too! That’s why we never churn out a piece of content in one day. We like to come back to it with fresh eyes to slice, dice, and trim the proverbial fat. If you can tighten up a piece or say something quicker or simpler, do it! Hire an editor if you need help. They’re great at slaughtering unnecessary words for the greater good.

Use Grammar Apps

Nobody likes a typo (crossing our fingers we got them all in this article or our name is Mud!). Typos dent your credibility and distract from the message you work so hard to craft. We employ professional editors and proofers, but we also use a few apps to keep our words sharp. Download Grammarly as an on-the-fly editor or Hemmingway App for free editing tips.

Shakespeare wasn’t built in a day. And like with most things in life, you can never stop learning how to become a better writer. If this blog is your first step, good for you! Continue to read up on writing tips to get your copywriting where you want it to be. Or, throw in the towel and have us do it for you.