If you run a company website, you need to write web copy to expose your business and attract prospective customers and clients.
If you own a blog, you need to write content that is informative by communicating value and NOT trying to impress.
I know you’re wondering why I’m placing emphasis on writing a clear, concise, and direct copy, right? It’s not a new question, but the answer is obvious!
There are only three principles to writing clearly and effectively.
- Conciseness – Spares your audience from re-reading what they already know.
- Cohesion – Gives you an opportunity to make multiple references to people, things, and events without the need to reintroduce them again and again.
- Coherence – Helps your readers to focus on specific people, events, and anything you are writing about.
Your main intention on the Internet is to build an audience that can remain loyal and support your endeavors. But to succeed, you have to write seriously, and with authority by creating quality content if:
- You want to attract traffic to your website or blog
- You want to make money
- You want to sustain your online business
Take a look at seasoned bloggers and you will notice they create quality content, which is shareable as soon as it goes live. And when they write, they are keen on crafting clear, concise, and direct content that conveys the message as it is supposed to – from an authoritative angle.
Unfortunately, not everyone can do that. And with Google updating its algorithm on a regular basis, content strategy will ultimately be the decisive factor towards the success of your online business. If your copy is valuable and easy to read, then it gets shared and most likely creates buzz. This is good for business since it helps generate traffic, leads and sales. Poorly crafted copy will always suck and no one will ever want to interact or engage with it. The result is a waste of time, which no business owner wants to experience.
So, what needs to be done?
Having worked as a freelance writer for 10+ years, I know damn well what it means by writing quality web copy for your business. It’s all about style, and where there is style, you need clarity.
Your clients are guided by emotions and you want them to act in a certain way. Whether you’re offering incentives or giveaways, you want them to respond. They can only do this if they understand well what you have to offer by writing in a clear, concise, and direct manner. This is the best move you will ever make to trample your competitors. If you think this is a joke – try this out!
9 simple tips to write clear, concise, direct copy
1. Always ensure you use the “Active Voice”.
Did anyone ever mention to you that behind every good sentence lay a strong, precise verb? If your answer is NO, now you know! At the core of most flummoxing, awkward or wordy sentences lies a weak verb. Does this ring a bell? You have to choose the correct voice while communicating with your audience.
Take this example:
Passive Voice – It was earlier demonstrated that hypertension could be caused by high stress.
Active Voice – Research showed that high stress could cause hypertension.
Have you noticed any difference in the two sentences?
Though you should stick to using the active voice, there are instances where you’re allowed to use the passive voice if:
- You have to create an authoritative tone
- The aim is to emphasize the action rather than the actor
- You intend to keep the subject and focus consistent throughout a passage
- You intend to be tactful by not naming the actor
- You have to describe a condition in which the subject is unknown
2. Put the action of the sentence in a verb.
Avoid burying the action in a noun or blur it across your sentences. Makes sure you are on the lookout for nominalizations – verbs that have been turned into nouns by adding (-tion).
3. Avoid using wordy verbs.
4. Avoid expletive constructions like “There is, It is and There are” – use them sparingly.
5. Do not use nouns like “consideration, aspect, case, area, degree, and factor”. They make you sound wordy.
6. Unless you have an audience that is used to your writing style, always avoid using strings of nouns in your sentences.
7. Expunge any unnecessary prepositional phrases in your writing.
8. Try not to write copy with the inclusion of filler words. It makes it disgusting and boring.
9. Wordy phrases should always be put on a diet. Instead of using a phrase like “due to the fact that” simply use “because”.
It makes more sense if written in a clear, concise and direct manner.
Ultimately, your readers will likely remember these three things:
- Ending sentence in your copy
- Beginning sentence in your copy
- The middle sentences in your copy
So there you have it — 9 Actionable tips to writing clear, concise, direct copy for your business.
It’s your turn now.
Do you have more actionable tips that work for you? Or do you think the 9 tips above are misplaced? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me on Twitter.
Enock Machodi is a professional blogger, a seasoned freelance writer and an entrepreneur. He fuses blogging with personal development to help other bloggers unleash their potential for excellence, by guiding them along the path of success. Connect with him on Twitter to get the conversation going.