What should a copywriter not do?
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If you’ve looked into copywriting services, you’ll already have an idea of what a copywriter should be able to do for your business. However, just as important as knowing what should be done is having the answers to “What should a copywriter not do?”. It’s a common misconception that all that a copywriter needs is a basic grasp of the English language. The reality is that this is a good starting point but, on its own, it doesn’t lead to effective copy.
We’re going to look at some of the red flags that you should be aware of when it comes to selecting a copywriter for your business. Some of these carry more weight than others and it could be that just one red flag is enough to walk away and find another writer. By the end of this article, you’ll have an in-depth answer to the question, “What should a copywriter not do?”.
Promising to get your website to number one on Google
While there are differences between creating content and copy, both of these can have an impact on how your site is viewed by the major search engines. Of course, every business wants to see itself at number one on Google and you may well find copywriters promising that they can get you there overnight.
The reality is that well-produced content can help your rankings, but no one can get you from page 40 to page one overnight. Anyone suggesting otherwise should be avoided. With that in mind, it’s important to have ways of measuring the impact and success of your copywriter and they should be able to work with you to establish goals.
Ignore your target audience
When it comes to considering the question, “What should a copywriter not do?”, a big watch out is a writer who completely ignores your target audience. Some writers are unable to adapt their tone and every piece they produce seems to have the same feel to it. This means that they are hardly versatile and they are limited to the markets they can write for.
You should be able to provide your copywriter with your customer persona and then have the confidence that this is who they will write for. Poor copywriters will write for themselves with no consideration for how your target audience will respond.
Write too formally
This one can be a little tricky when looking at what a copywriter shouldn’t do. The thing is, copywriting should be conversational and it should come across as if the writer is speaking directly to the reader. The problem is that many writers feel the need to be overly formal and this has an impact on the effectiveness of any copy.
Why is this a tricky one? Well, businesses are keen for copy to sound formal and professional so that they are presented in a favourable light. There needs to be a balance between writing that is casual and flows and writing that is too casual and borders on unprofessional.
Use too much jargon
When considering the dos and don’ts of a copywriter, one of the things that one shouldn’t be doing is using too much jargon. While you want a writer to get to know your business and everything about your sector, the danger is the more knowledgeable they get, the more jargon they start to use. Suddenly a piece can be awash with abbreviations and acronyms and, as the client, you may not realise the harm this causes.
While the jargon looks good to you, to a reader it’s often too much. It leads to a reader losing attention and that means that they simply stop reading. Of course, there are times when the use of technical words is a must to fully explain something, but this use should be limited.
Focus on features and ignore benefits
While looking at, “What should a copywriter not do?”, one of the biggest things that need to be avoided is focusing on features alone. It needs to be remembered that copywriting is there to take the reader on a journey and this should culminate in a purchase. Focusing on features alone doesn’t achieve this.
The thing is, readers, don’t care about a list of specs and features. What they really want to know are the benefits that are offered and why they need your product or service. Successful copywriters use feature-benefit writing as this gives the reader all that they need to know to make a purchasing decision.
While clichés have their place when it comes to making a point, using these too often leaves writing that feels a little bland. When reading copy, a potential customer can spot clichés with ease and, at times, these can come across as almost tacky and mean that what follows is not taken seriously.
If you’re using a copywriter, you need to check that what’s produced isn’t falling into this cliché trap. These words and phrases have an impact on how your brand is perceived and you need to be protective of this.
You need to remember that a copywriter is working for you. Yes, they will have knowledge and experience but, ultimately, you are the client and you need to receive copy that you’re happy with. If you find yourself working with a writer who’s closed to feedback, it’s time to move on and find someone else.
A great copywriter will embrace your feedback, as long as it’s delivered professionally. They will work with you to make any amendments and ensure that you’re happy with the finished piece. If there are genuine reasons that they are against making suggested changes, they will present these reasons in an appropriate manner. If you still disagree, they will go ahead and complete your request.
Try too hard to sell
When considering the question, “What should a copywriter not do?”, this is another one of those areas where a balance needs to be achieved. Yes, when producing online copy, the end goal is an increase in sales. The thing is, anyone, visiting a website knows that’s the aim and being too much in their face is a real turn-off.
Your copywriter should be providing you with copy that appeals to your readers. They should be using storytelling and language that’s appealing to present the benefits of your product or service. Not every line needs to be pushing for a sale.
Ignore the importance of subheadings
A copywriter should never ignore the impact that subheadings can have. A lazy copywriter will give little thought to these and will just include them for the sake of including them. If this sounds like something that your copywriter does, then now may well be the time to seek a change.
Effective copywriters realise that subheadings matter. The majority of online readers will simply scan copy and there is a need for subheadings that grab attention and get the person to pause and read. Then there is the impact on SEO. Good copywriters will look to weave keywords into subheadings when this is possible.
Create a weak call to action (CTA)
While we’ve said that copy shouldn’t be about constantly pushing for sales, there’s no getting away from the fact that the CTA is a vital part of any piece. This is where the reader is guided as to what they need to do next. A poor CTA will mean little, or no, conversions.
A solid call to action to will be clear about what the reader is supposed to do. It will provide a compelling reason to take the action and it will also create a sense of urgency. Simply saying “Sign up for our newsletter by clicking here” is hardly inspiring and you can be sure that few people will take you up on this.
An obvious answer to “What should a copywriter not do?”, is stealing the work of others. Plagiarism is all too easy and a writer may be tempted to try and pass off an idea as their own. Now, there is no harm in taking inspiration from other sites and the likes of using news reports for inspiration are actually encouraged. However, both of these are very different from blatantly ripping off someone else’s work.
There are some undesirable consequences of publishing plagiarised content. While your copywriter may be supplying you with this work, it is your brand reputation that will suffer and it’s your business that may well be wide open to legal action. Be sure that your copywriter is only providing you with content that’s unique.
Anyone can open up their laptop, type a few words and claim that they’re a copywriter. However, the reality is that there’s so much more to it than this. Your business deserves a writer who can deliver copy that has a real impact and one who can work to boost your brand.
At Content Conga, we know exactly what a copywriter should and shouldn’t do. With 15% off your first order, today is the perfect time to get in touch and experience what we’re capable of delivering.