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What to Do When Good Copywriting Goes Bad Blog Feature

February 18th, 2015 min read

What_to_Do_When_Good_Copywriting_Goes_Bad_In marketing, there's good copy...and there's bad copy.

But if we're being honest, there's primarily a lot more bad than there is good. 

(And if we're really being honest, there's a good chance that some of it is hiding on your own website.)

So how can you tell? What can you do?

The difference between the two is that good copy aims to convey value, connect to needs, and create a story that people can buy into, and bad copy, well, bad copy just sort of exists. 

The good news is that it is entirely possible to turn bad copy around (everybody deserves a second chance, right?)

To help guide you through the process, we've detailed 3 important principles that high quality copy must follow to encourage visitors to trust and take action.

1. Use their language, not yours

I'm a lot of things. I'm a blogger, a baker, a little sister, a graduate, a Pinterest-addict, but I'm not a mind reader, and if I had to take a guess, neither are you. 

So rather than wait for your target audience's wants and needs to magically permeate your mind, consider what you can do to take matters into your own hands. 

CopyHacker's Joanna Wiebe suggests "review mining."

"What's that?"

(Sounds fun, right?)

Wiebe explains that after being tasked with defining new messaging for a rehab center, she turned to the review section of several different rehab-related books on Amazon to uncover what type of language people were using to describe their experiences. 

From here she made note of the following: memorable phrases ("saved my life"), what people want ("not only strength of conviction, but understanding"), and what people we're mad/in pain over ("the struggle of secrecy and denial.")

By reviewing the audience's response, she was able to identify what was truly important to them by making note of phrases and themes that rose to the top. As a result, she put forth a new value proposition that drove over 400% more clicks and over 20% more submissions than the previous one. 

2. Make each sentence count

"Why waste a sentence saying nothing?" says best-selling author, and marketer, Seth Godin.

When it comes to writing copy worth reading, chose your words carefully. With visitors more prone to scanning than ever before, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to move from point to point. 

To help break up blocks of text, you'll want to incorporate both headers and subheaders. These will work to not only set the reader's expectations, but also make it easy from them to quickly identify the sections that matter most to them.

Another effective way to ease readability is to put forth focused bullet points. Employing bullet points serves as a way to highlight the most important takeaways without it feeling overly complicated. 

With such a limited amount of time to make an impact, you'll want to be sure that you strike a balance between quality and quantity.

3. Convey benefits

Brochure-style copy is the pits.

Honestly, when's the last time you picked up a brochure and thought to yourself, "Man, this is a great piece of content?"

In order to resonate with your audience, the copy you employ must be both compelling and benefit-driven. Rather than highlight the features of your product or service, your focus should be on what you product or service can specifically do for them.

How is it going to improve their life? What will they gain from choosing your product or service?

Considering benefits are directly connected to our desires, benefit-driven copy serves as an effective way to establish an emotional connection with your audience. Aware the emotion often drives action, you're on the right track. 

Think about it. 

If someone was trying to sell you a cellphone case, they could try to sell you on the fact that the case is made from durable polycarbonate, or they could ensure you that you'll never have to deal with the embarrassment (and frustration) that accompanies pulling a shattered-screen phone out of your pocket. 

See the difference?

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