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Copywriting Checklist Top 7 Signs That Your Copywriting Stinks
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Many writers ask how they can judge whether or not their work is any good. While an opinion on the subject of an individual's writing may be somewhat subjective there are some important areas to focus on in order to discover whether or not your writing passes the smell-o-meter. Following are seven areas to consider when checking if your copywriting stinks. Call it the "Copywriting Sniff Test" if you wish.
1. Your copy is full of hype and empty promises. Don't over promise or overstate the benefits of your products. Don't make guarantees that can't be met. Steer away from the used-car-salesman-snake-oil-fly-by-night-dazzle-them-with-BS school of marketing and be authentic. Hint: Hyped up copy smells like cheap cologne on a sweaty back.
2. Your writing is confusing and difficult to understand. Maybe you are trying to communicate too many ideas in one piece. Keep things simple; boil ideas down to their basic levels. Ask a friend to read your material and offer suggestions for making it simpler and easier to understand. Clue: Confusing copy smells like pumpkins and ammonia mixed with sulfur and wheat grass. No wait, confusing copy smells like pumpkins, sulfur...
3. Your copy is full of typos and spelling and grammatical errors. There are NO excuses for sloppy, lazy writing. Use your word processor's spell check feature. Read your copy backwards, have someone else proof read your work. Sloppy writing practices smell like a New York garbage handlers strike in August, not good.
4. Your writing lacks personality. Is there anything worse than reading prose with no character? Your writing voice is an asset; it's a commodity, hell, it's what makes people want to read what you have written. Take the time to develop your style and voice. Characterless copywriting often smells like, well it doesn't smell like much of anything really.
5. You focus on features instead of benefits. I've written about this at length in other articles so you may already know how strongly I feel about focusing on benefits. This isn't a new concept by any means so it's rather surprising to see how much material is written that still focuses on features. Don't make this mistake with what you write. Note: Features focused writing smells like the inside of an old vacuum cleaner. I'm not sure why, it just does, trust me on this.
6. You don't invite readers to take action. It might seem like a no-brainer but hey many people still forget to ask readers to take action. Close your material buy asking readers to do something for you, even if it's as simple as liking your face book page or following your tweets. Clue: Missing your call to action smells just like apple pie, minus the apple pie smell of course.
7. You don't have a damned clue about your audience. When you write to a specific audience without understanding their needs your work will fall flat on its face. Take the time required to research your audience before ever writing to them. Hint: Not knowing your audience smells like vinegar poured on your breakfast cereal.
So how does your copywriting rate on the sniff test? See or smell any areas that can use improvement? Address each one of these areas and your friends will soon be commenting, "I can't believe how fresh your writing smells!"
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