5 annoying habits of the world’s worst copywriter

Believe it or not, some copywriters – who make a decent living off stringing shiny, 7-syllable buzzwords together in sentences – aren’t practicing some of the most basic fundamentals of marketing.

While I don’t wish to totally rid the world of these professionals (heck, they help good, honest writers like yours truly look good), I do want to expose some of their most annoying habits.

Beware of this guy, the world’s worst copywriter, who…

  1. Writes without ever stopping to put himself in his customers’ shoes to ask “what’s in it for me?” A good copywriter always proofs the piece, asking him/herself, “What’s in it for my reader?” This goes back to the whole write to sell a benefit not a feature adage that’s been passed down from one generation of marketers to the next. Maybe it’s just me, but judging from a lot of stuff on the market today, it seems like this lost art has skipped a generation…
  2. Writes to impress his creative copywriting cronies, rather than write for the audience he’s supposed to be marketing to. Winning industry awards/acclaim from other like-minded folks in your profession is cool and all…but when it generates somewhere between zilch and diddly squat as far as sales, that award carries about as much weight as a sopping wet Olsen twin.
  3. Writes copy that fails to include a call to action. In the rare event your prospect does read every word of your copy, don’t ever leave her asking “Now what?” Tell her who to call, where to visit, when to do it by and what she’ll get out of it. And it never hurts to offer something for free (e.g. shipping, newsletter, gift).
  4. Writes about how great his company is before ever giving the customer one good reason to continue reading. Here’s an example of his arrogance: “ACME Inc., a family-owned, Midwestern-based company with roots stretching back to the Eisenhower administration, is pleased to introduce its latest and greatest widget that will revolutionize our industry by combining state-of-the-art technology with the personal touch of a dedicated, experienced craftsman that…” Instead, include a customer benefit (not your feature) in the headline, then repeat it in the body copy and again in your close.
  5. Writes headlines like they’re an afterthought. Your reader isn’t visiting that Web site…or reading that newspaper…or checking their (e)mail to see what he can buy from you today. So your headline (or subject line) has to jump off the page (or screen), shake him silly and change the behavior he was about to engage in before you – the big, bad marketer – came along.

 

About the author:

Jeff Fisher is an experienced copywriter who’s tired of seeing companies waste money on copywriting professionals who don’t deliver results. He’s currently seeking a new, full-time copywriting gig where he hopes to improve the fortunes of one lucky employer…one carefully crafted message at a time. To learn more, please contact Jeff or follow him on Twitter at @jeffjfisher.

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