I teach a lot about what to do with your copywriting, but not so much about what not to do.
But a lot of the times, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing the “to-do” list rules when you sit down to write a piece of copy.
Because you could be losing your readers without knowing it.
Losing them to boredom, annoyance, confusion, or FOMO. (Yes, you really can lose them to FOMO.)
In this video, I walk you through five really common copywriting mistakes to make sure you avoid.
If they’re already on your website or in your blog posts—no worries.
But with this instruction (and the help of some of my other videos), you’ll be able to identify what needs to go and know how to change it.
And once you’re done with it?
I think you’ll notice a difference in how engaged your readers and visitors are. 😉
So here’s the video.
Check it out and let me know some of your personal takeaways, will you?
I spend a lot of time talking about and teaching the tactics of HOW to correctly do copywriting to prompt action, but I don’t often talk about how to not do copywriting.
So today I’m going to cover 5 different copywriting mistakes to avoid and how to correct them if you realize they’re lingering on your website or in your marketing material.
***just talk out the examples***
Jargon is something that’s SO EASY to fall into… so much so that even the best copywriters in the world catch themselves doing it from time to time.
So don’t beat yourself up about it if you find it on your site. Just identify it and make a note of it so you can get rid of it.
And the best way to get rid of jargon is to be specific.
Let me illustrate with an example.
I was recently reading a B2B website where they couldn’t stop talking about a “paradigm shift.”
And while I had a vague idea of what they did for their customers, I could NOT figure out what the heck a paradigm shift was.
Sure, we know that shift means movement, and we all know the dictionary definition of paradigm, but what the fuck does it actually mean for their customer?
They’d have been much better off not using the phrase “paradigm shift” and just saying something like:
-A different advertising pattern that gets better results. OR
-A new step-by-step system for your cold calling sales reps to go through so fewer prospects fall out of your funnel and you have more sales-ready leads.
Do you see how those are so much more specific than “paradigm shift?”
2. Going off on tangents
Tangents aren’t the same as examples or anecdotes used to illustrate a point.
I’m all about weaving in your story with your brand… especially when you’re teaching.
Tangents instead are those little jabs and side-thoughts we place into our writing that we think are funny or witty.
And while your readers will probably forgive you for one or two of them, they get really old and annoying really fast.
Because the reality is, no one cares about your personal stories, thoughts, or opinions unless it DIRECTLY relates to what you’re teaching them.
I could go off on a tangent right now on my odd neighbor across the street that always walks around his car twice before getting into it, but unless it directly relates to what I’m teaching you, you don’t give a shit.
Which is why in copywriting, tangents are SUPER dangerous.
They’re things your readers don’t care about, so all you’re doing with your tangents beyond pleasing your own ego is bogging your reader down with extra words to wade through, slowing them down, and STOPPING them in your own little self serving story.
Which is HORRIBLE for copywriting, because we do copywriting to SELL.
So if your side-thought or story doesn’t do anything to propel your reader forward to the call to action, get rid of it.
3. Not considering reader thought flow & skipping crucial transitions
Have you ever been on a website, reading through the copy, and all of a sudden the writer started talking about something you weren’t even thinking about yet?
Before you know it, you’ve lost your train of thought, don’t remember the reasoning process you were going through two paragraphs before, and everything just feels really disconnected and confusing.
It’s because the writer forgot about your thought flow and was writing to sell to his or her thought flow.
Basically, you as the buyer have one set of pain points and concerns.
And that person, as the seller, has another set entirely of pain points and concerts from trying to sell the product.
Most of the time, what’s happening is they’re trying to build up an argument for buying by knocking off opposition they’ve heard against their product, which may or may not be anything related to why you’d consider buying it in the first place.
So take yourself out of the salesperson role when you’re writing copy, and make sure your transitions make sense.
4. Being too close to your business
This is similar to the point about ignoring reader thought flow, but if you’re too involved in your business while you’re writing your copy, you’re probably not going to consider the thoughts of people who don’t know anything about your business to begin with.
I’ll tell you a secret: most likely, your customers aren’t married to your industry like you are.
They don’t know then ins and outs. They don’t know the acronyms. And they don’t know or care about the subtle differences between you and your competitors.
All they care about is that you’re going to take care of their problem and make them feel good while you’re doing it.
Most commonly, this problem manifests itself when you’re doing a teaching blog post and you just use industry short hand or acronyms.
But since your customers don’t know your industry or your business as well as you do, they can get lost in those acronyms and those “short hand” terms.
For example, it’s second nature to me to write “CTA” and it also takes a lot less time than to write out what it actually is. But in communicating with my clients, who aren’t marketers and copywriters, they’ve asked me what a CTA is, and I’ve just felt silly.
Of course they wouldn’t know that CTA means call to action, because they have no reason to know it. Calls to action are important on their website, but knowing the acronym for that term is completely non-essential for them in the running of their business. So now I write out “call to action” when I’m talking to clients who aren’t in the online marketing industry.
5. Not having multiple calls to action
No, I don’t mean having a CTA for an ebook, a CTA for a free trial, a CTA to email you, and a CTA to attend your webinar all on one page… because that kind of decision-making on which action to take is paralyzing for a site visitor to the point they won’t take ANY action, which is not what you want.
What I mean, though, is that if you’re trying to get people to sign up for your webinar and you’ve created a landing page for that, then the ONLY thing you should be asking people to do on that page is sign up for your webinar.
No ebook, no free trial, none of anything else except for the webinar.
And you need to ask them to sign up for the webinar MULTIPLE times on the same page.
It isn’t enough to just have a form at the top of the page or a “polite” little text link all the way down at the bottom of the page.
First of all, most people won’t go all the way to the bottom of the page.
But also, by asking for the same thing multiple times, you really drive the point home in regards to what you want them to do and why you want them to do it.
It also helps eliminate confusion, since most people are slightly ad or CTA-blind so by putting the call to action directly in front of them multiple times, you eliminate confusion and get more people to sign up.
So, to review:
1. Replace jargon by being specific
2. Don’t go off on tangents
3. Don’t skip important thought-based transitions
4. Avoid staying too close to your business while you’re writing your copy
5. Use lots of CTAs
So there’s some of my best & “quickest” advice on copywriting mistakes to avoid.
If you want to dive a little deeper, check out my other videos.
In each video, I tackle one specific copywriting topic or niche, give you some instruction, and then share my screen with you as I live-edit the text on two or three different websites so you can see real-life examples.
If you’re watching this video on my blog, you can click the title at the top of my screen to get to my YouTube channel, where you’ll see all my past videos and subscribe to get in on the future ones.
I’ve also pasted a link below to my ebook that has five easy-to-implement copywriting tips that’ll help you decrease your bounce rates and increase your conversions and profits for any page on your website. You’ll be able to read through it in 20 minutes, and it’s definitely worth the download.
Thanks for watching! Bye!
If you found that video helpful, I’d love it (and you!) if you’d click on one of those cute little social media icons and share it with your network.
And for more tips on how to instantly improve your website’s resonance and conversion rates, check out my free 3-part email course that’ll have you selling more via your website in 3 days flat.
Beyond that, you can subscribe to the Copy Power YouTube channel to be in the cool “in” crowd that gets brownie points from the universe.