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Copy That: 9 Essential Copywriting Rules for Brands

No development in history has moved the human race forward more than the written language. From cave drawings to the printing press to the Internet, words move our world and shape our beliefs. Words are our greatest form of communication, regardless of medium. Like art and music, words have the power to elicit emotion and influence opinion. Effective and emotive copywriting is essential for every brand. Great copy is more than just stylish wording – it moves people, drives action and connects with its intended audience. From great taglines like Nike’s “Just Do It” or Burger King’s “Have it Your Way” to crisply-written websites, email messages and blog posts, a brand’s copy will help direct its audience to take action ­– and help achieve its business goals. The following nine essentials for effective copy will help your brand reach, engage – and close its audience.

Know your audience: You wouldn’t talk to your grandmother about the new features in iOS 7 and you wouldn’t discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses with an eight year old. The same goes for copywriting. Determine whom the audience for your product or service is, and write in a voice that speaks to them accordingly.

Write with a purpose and a defined strategy: Why are you writing? What do you want to achieve? If your business’ goal is to sell more ceiling fans, write copy that will help achieve that goal. You’re writing copy to make something happen, not to impress your high school English teacher.

Get the tone and voice right: Your brand’s personality is driven by its tone and voice. Whether your brand is light-hearted and fun, or serious and professional, the tone and voice in which you write must be uniform across all brand communications.

Write short sentences: Nothing burns the eyes (and loses attention) like run-on sentences. Short sentences promote readability and comprehension – two things you need your copy to include if you wish to win more customers. If you’re trying to decide between a comma and a period, go with the period.

Employ vigorous English: One of Ernest Hemingway’s rules for writing, “vigorous English” refers to the active voice. Active voice opens the door to the party and announces its presence. Passive voice tip-toes around outside, waiting to be let in.

PRO TIP: Try to reduce the number of times you use the word “is.”

Never waste a word: Never say in two words what can be said it one. If your first word isn’t strong enough to enforce your point, find a better word.

Sell benefits, not features: No one really wants to know how the sausage is made. Tell your audience how your product or service will benefit them and improve their lives.

Be original – and creative: It’s a crowded marketplace out there. For most products, there are multiple options at similar price points. Creative, original and memorable copy can cut through the clutter, and “make the sale” for your product or service.

Spur action with words: Always include a call to action as you lead potential customers down the path to purchase. Identify the next steps, and show your audience how to get there.

Does your brand’s copy need a touch up? Contact us to discuss how we can help by using the form to the right!

San Diego Branding Agency | Jacob Tyler

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