Don’t waste my time – lessons from a persuasive writer

I’m reading Can I Change Your Mind? – a book about persuasive writing by copywriter Lindsay Camp and came across something that resonated with my experiences of writing for clients.

Under the heading Losing sight of the intended result Lindsay discusses how clients keen to shout about their new “manufacturing process, award for innovation or bottling plant outside Kettering” often force a copywriter to mention them.

Now sometimes the new manufacturing process or bottling plant can be great things that attract attention or help convince your customers that your business is right for them. But all too often these bits of information are forced into copy because the client is proud of them, not because they serve a purpose.

Lindsay goes on to advise aspiring persuasive writers to “tell your reader what they might be interested to hear rather than what you want them to know.”

How can you stand out from the crowd?

Stand Out in a Crowd

Highlight your differences. Why are you better, faster, cheaper or stronger than your competitors?

Work out your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and then advertise it. Tell your customers why you’re better than the other guy.

A freelance copywriter can help identify the thing that makes your business special. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will see something new – something your customers will want to know about.

If the economy continues to make running a profitable business more challenging, differentiating yourself in a crowded market will become even more important.

Stand out from the herd and your customers will notice you.

(picture courtesy of Floppylion)

Why clear communication should be your priority


Smart business people recognise the value of good communicators.

If your organisation doesn’t value communication, you may be wondering why people don’t get what you do.

Poor communication at all levels of an organisation can be the cause of:

  • Confused customers
  • Disillusioned staff
  • Unclear goals
  • Bad products/services.

If your team doesn’t include any talented writers, consider using a freelance copywriter to boost the quality of your organisation’s communications.

(picture courtesy of Sascha on Flickr)

Write More – Writing Tip #1

Just write.

Write emails, blog posts, articles or letters. Everything you write makes you better at writing.

This isn’t Earth-shattering advice, but it’s important enough that I made it my #1 writing tip.

Show me a bad writer and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t write much. It’s as simple as that.

Copywriters are lucky in that they get plenty of practice to hone their writing skills. If you’re not so lucky, make the most of writing opportunities in your daily life to write, and take care in your writing.

Is bad copy to blame for your website’s high bounce rate?


If your copy is a load of balls your bounce rate* will be sky-high. Bad copy can affect your bounce rate in a number of ways:

  1. Your visitors may have been expecting something different to what you are offering. Unclear copy can attract the wrong kind of visitor.
  2. Poor grammar or spelling tells people that you’re lazy and stupid. Correct your copy and people might stick around.
  3. Copy that doesn’t offer clear benefits will not persuade customers to buy or read on. Make your selling proposition obvious and stress your offering’s benefits.
  4. Verbose copy bores visitors. If your visitors get bored they may bounce off to a competitor who doesn’t waffle.

Copywriters understand the reasons why web users bounce off websites. If your website is suffering from a high bounce rate ask a copywriter to assess your site for flaws.

Identify weak spots and change them. Changing a website is simple so this process is quick and cheap.

Don’t let your copy let you down!

*Bounce rate = the rate at which people “bounce” away from your website. A bounce occurs when a visitor leaves your website without visiting any other pages. It’s a clear sign that they didn’t want to be there in the first place or don’t like something about your site.

(Picture courtesy of Tom Barnett)

Read More – Writing Tip #2

Writers don’t have to read every classic. You can read anything, but you must read something.

If you don’t read you will never understand how writing works, or how it can fail.

Be adventurous with your reading. Avoid re-reading the same few books.

Reading a variety of styles and sources will strengthen your writing, improve your vocabulary and fill you with ideas.

Quick Copywriting Tip #2

Is your copy full of “we”?

If you find lots of “we”, “us” or “our” in your copy, it’s a sure sign that it’s self-centred, and not focussed on your customer.

You should have copy littered with “you” and “yours”. These words generally indicate that your copy is aimed in the right direction (your customer’s!).

Click here for a more in-depth look at this subject.

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