You probably remember a few English lessons from your school days.
Never start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. Spell out numbers one to nine and give everything higher in numerals. Sentence fragments like ‘Because I want to’ are grammatically incorrect…
Meanwhile, copywriters have always thrown these rules to the wind as they tap into common slang to suck readers in.
So what is the best way to write copy? Which rules should you follow to reach a large audience and convey your messages?
When it comes to writing for the web, there are some easy things you can do to keep readers hooked.
Here, we show you the best practice for digital copywriting.
Copy goes on screens
One of the biggest influences on the way we write is the way we read. And today, we do a lot of reading on screens.
Readers go to websites, social media and apps to get their information from governments, businesses and newspapers.
And the way we read on screen is very different from how we read print.
Device screens are not as kind to our eyes. And much of the reading we do online is not slow and meticulous but speedy as we quickly skim for juicy facts.
Good writing helps the reader snack on information without their eyes getting bloodshot.
Because of technology, headings, subheadings and small paragraphs are more important than ever.
Copy tells stories
The internet changed the way that businesses communicate with their audiences for the better.
You no longer need to hire out Don Draper from Mad Men to write your advertising copy for billboards and centrefolds.
Sure, businesses can still use paid advertising, but they can also reach audiences for free through blogging and social media – also known as content marketing.
But how can businesses cut through the noise when there’s just so much free content out there?
The answer is storytelling, the secret weapon of content marketing.
Use storytelling in your writing for the web to convey your value in an authentic way and connect with your ideal customers.
Want to learn how to do it? Find out how to harness storytelling for content marketing.
Copy is accessible
The internet has democratised information, making it accessible to more people than ever before.
At the same time, we have an obligation to write web copy in language that is inclusive and accessible.
Whether you’re a pro copywriter or a small business doing your own marketing, accessible writing is easy to do.
Keep your sentences simple and short (rather than long and convoluted) so that people with different skills and backgrounds can read them. This includes people with different levels of education and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
You can also use an easy browser app called Hemingway to double check that your copy is nice and clear.
Copy needs style
Just like your Grade 3 English teacher worshipped Strunk and White as her grammar bible, so writers today have their own guides for writing for the web.
One of the best is the Australian Government’s Style Manual.
If you want to convey your messages online clearly and reach as many customers as possible, this is the guide for you.
It shows you how to write those things essential to your business – websites, blogs, emails, social media and so much more
It’s been carefully developed with inclusivity and accessibility at top of mind. It’s even easy for non-writers to follow.
While it’s tailored for Aussie audiences, the Style Manual is also a great tool for getting your messages out into the wider world.