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7 WAYS TO MASTER SHORT COPY

Get to the point!

You’ve thought that when visiting a website. We all have. Because we’ve all landed on a page that prattles on and feels like it’ll never end – like a coach journey in 38° heat with no air conditioning.

Boring the pants off people will make them click away, so here are seven ways to master short copy.

 

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One. Know your audience.

So, you sell Bluetooth headphones.

But who are you selling to?

For example:

Explaining Bluetooth headphones to a 19-year-old is likely to be much shorter than to a 65-year-old.

If you’re targeting a young crowd, get rid of long explanations like:

Bluetooth uses radio frequency to transmit data through a short-range audio network. Bluetooth is capable of connecting up to ten devices (Bluetooth connected electronic equipment) at once. This means you can connect our headphones to your computer, iPod and mobile phone.

Try:

Connect our headphones to up to ten devices and rock out to your favourite tunes in seconds.

If your customers know your products, get rid of needless babble.

It connects to ten devices. You can listen in seconds.

Job done.

 

Two. Use short sentences and paragraphs.

Short copy. Short sentences.

Makes sense, right?

Short sentences create urgency.

They make people read on.

If people are met with 25-lines of block text, they probably won’t read the first line. However, if sentences and paragraphs are fairly short, your audience is more likely to respond to content that’s in digestible chunks.

 

Three. Cut the jargon.

Are you a:

Matrimonial Audio Technician

Or:

A Wedding DJ

Don’t confuse your readers with overly complicated terms and jargon – especially if you’re calling yourself something different from your competitors.

Say things as they are.

I could call myself a Technical Word Constructor.

But I’m not.

I’m a copywriter.

 

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Four. Cut your copy down.

You may have followed all the rules, but take a look at the copy you’ve written. Can you make it concise without losing the message?

The art behind writing short copy is using fewer words without losing the heart of what you’re saying.

Going back to my opening, could I write it more concisely?

Get to the point!

You’ve thought that when visiting a website. We all have. Because we’ve all landed on a page that prattles on and feels like it’ll never end – like a coach journey in 38° heat with no air conditioning.

Boring the pants off people will make them click away, so here are seven ways to master short copy.

Or:

Get to the point!

You’ve got ten seconds to hook your audience. Here are seven ways to master short copy.

Sure, I’ve just pulled my work apart, but I wanted to show how, even as a copywriter, I can improve too.

The original still works, it tells more of a story, whereas the rewrite gets to the point, is more urgent and uses fewer words to say the same thing.

 

Five. Remove words and shorten phrases.

Yep, one tightening up isn’t enough – go through your copy and see if you can remove words or shorten phrases.

Do you have words like:

  • That
  • Just
  • Very
  • Own, or
  • Really

Words like the five above can often be removed without harming the sentence. If a sentence makes sense with a word cut, get rid of it.

And phrases?

Shorten or simplify:

In order to … to … Because

It actually happened … to … It happened

In regards … to … About

In due course … to … Soon

Endeavour … to … Try

Such as … to … Like

Think quality over quantity.

 

Six. Use the active voice.

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Active voice is current. It’s urgent and, honestly, it sounds better:

Passive Voice: Chicken is eaten by her.

Or:

Active voice: She eats chicken.

You can see how passive is clunky and a bit sluggish.

Active is to the point – and it’s often shorter too.

 

Seven. Use a grammar checker.

Yep, that old favourite, the grammar checker.

Even if you’re confident with words, grammar checkers are useful for trimming the fat from your copy. They pick up wordy sentences and passive voice and help make your copy concise.

And don’t just try one, I run all my stuff through:

 

Bonus Tip #1. Don’t write everything in short copy.

Short copy is handy when you want customers to get information fast. However, not everything has to be written in as few words as possible.

Blog Posts and Articles are prime examples of taking time to explain something or tell a story. They’re wordier, especially when you’re trying to crowbar in SEO keywords like copywriter, freelance copywriter or content writer.

*gulp*

copywriter, copywriting, content writer, uk copywriter, copywriter in liverpool

So, there you have it, seven fabulous tips on chucking out stuff you don’t need from your copy. For more tips on improving your business yourself, check out my post: Why Nobody Cares About You.

However, if you’d rather leave your copy to a copywriter, check out my post 14 Tips For Working With A Copywriter – and get in touch.

Until next time,

Matthew

PS. For more on being clear, check out my follow-up post ‘How Proper Titles Help Customers Find You‘.

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