As a freelance copywriter, I’ve worked on several projects where I was hired to clean up the mess left by the last copywriter. For one reason or another, the copy they wrote wasn’t working, and of course, the client wasn’t happy with it.
Most times, this happened because the client tried to save money on hiring a copywriter. They hired the cheapest copywriter they could find, and as a result, they got what they paid for.
When cleaning up the mess left by rookie copywriters, I’ve noticed there are 3 common mistakes they tend to make.
- Rookie Mistake #1: Focusing on the wrong benefits—My good friends over at The Write Blog, wrote a post a while back titled “Don’t sell the car. Sell the Nissan.” The title sums it up perfectly. You need to write copy that focuses on the benefits specific to your products and services. It’s all about identifying your unique selling point. Like Wintress says in her post, you wouldn’t sell a car by telling the reader that “it’s a faster way to get around town than riding a bicycle.” Instead, you would probably focus on the miles per gallon the vehicle gets and the unique features specific to the vehicle (and more importantly, the benefits of said features).
- Rookie Mistake #2: Not asking the reader to take action—At the end of the day, the success of the copy depends on whether or not the reader takes action. All copy has a purpose. It could be to close the sale on the spot or to get an email address to gather leads. Identify the purpose of your copy, and ask the reader to take the action you desire. If you don’t ask for an action, your readers will never snap out of their passivity.
- Rookie Mistake #3: Using too much fluff—I’ve seen some copywriters make a living out of saying nothing at all. Oh, they write a lot of words, but they aren’t actually saying anything. Their copy is nothing more than a bunch of fluff that takes up space but never gets results. Here’s a tip. Print out your copy, and cross out non-essential content that doesn’t add to your main message. Just be careful not to go overboard as you don’t want to strip the personality and conversational tone from your copy.
Which rookie copywriting mistakes would you add to this list? Leave a comment with your thoughts.