Is simplifying your copy confusing your message? Tuesday July 31, 2012
Sometimes, making things clear and simple and is a very murky business indeed. This is definitely true in business copywriting.
I recently had a phone call from a client. She told me she was trying to draft some content where the message needed to be official and straightforward. Yet she was finding it incredibly difficult to do.
My client was concerned that her content (for users of a new system) would come across as too formal. But she needed it to be noticed and acted on.
So why is it that the simplest copywriting message can often end up being the most challenging to create? Here are some of the reasons in my view:
1. Overthinking it: It’s easy for companies to overthink their own message, creating a copywriting approach that undermines their overall message. Avoid idea overload and aim to pare back your copywriting approach to what will work most effectively for the reader.
2. Fearing formality: In certain circumstances, your content will need to be formal. Companies like the client mentioned above sometimes worry about being too unfriendly when in fact audiences are accustomed to and expect a little formality. So if it’s appropriate, allow a little formality in and see how well it works. Consider what’s right for the overall context of your copy rather than pushing to be full-on informal all the time.
3. Doubting the reader: Companies also worry that making the message simple will stop it from standing out. This is despite the fact that, in business copywriting (as in so much else), less is very much more. This doubt can lead to copy which overstates and thus complicates the message. Stay clear about who you are writing for and why. Then you’ll be much more likely to create copy that communicates instead of confusing.
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, July 2012
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