- No fragments.
- NEVER end a sentence with a preposition. (Wait… what was a preposition again?)
- Don’t EVER start a sentence with “and” or “but”.
Well, first things first. You need to consider your audience. Who’s reading your stuff? What are some of the words they use? Colloquialisms, perhaps?
Talk how they talk. Have a conversation.
Good copy is empathetic. Good copy is authentic.
So, how can you write awesome copy that throws out the grammatical drivel?
- Slang. Use it. Slang should turn you on. You know why? Because it’s what turns your audience on. That’s how you become relatable and real.
- Go easy on the thesaurus. It’s interesting how marketing copy that has big words that no one would normally use quickly sounds hoity toity and arrogant. Don’t be that guy. (girl). Think “Dawson’s Creek” and do the opposite.
- Use fragmented sentences. These would send that English teacher into a fit of rage. But in the world of good copy, fragments make an impact. They breathe. They take their time…
- End your sentence with a preposition. Really. It’s ok. “Who were you talking to?” sounds a lot better than, “To whom were you talking?” Simply put: normal people don’t talk like that.
- Split infinitives. I say, split away. Do you want to “go boldly” or “BOLDLY go”? Sometimes using the adverb before the verb is the only way to get your reader to understand the true impact of your benefit.
What Not To Do.
Now, before you get too excited and go off to write that next blog post with reckless abandon, let me clear a few things up. There are definitely mistakes that’ll make you look… for lack of a better term… stupid.
- Always use correct punctuation. Using slang and fragmented sentences that make an impact are fine. But if those fragments have punctuation like a comma– or the dreaded semicolon, for that matter– in the wrong place, it’ll undermine your intelligence, credibility, and destroy any hope of coming across professional.
- Use your active voice. Using a passive voice dilutes your message. Your product or service kills the competition. The competition isn’t killed by the product or service. See the difference? Be bold. Say it like you mean it.
- Use correct spelling and contractions. I beseech you– don’t rely too heavily on your spell check. Spell checkers can’t tell the difference between things like “to” and “too”. Also, while we’re on the topic: “they’re” is “they are”. “It’s” is “it is”. “You’re” is “you are”.
Copywriting should be impactful and talk to your customer in a way they can understand. The rhetoric need not be too formal. Just keep it simple. Use words they would normally use. Talk like a person– not a snooty, stuffy, reprimanding teacher. But be warned… using too much of any of this could be overkill. Edit. Make smart choices and you’ll be on the way to making marketing magic happen.