“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” – Leo Burnett
Admit it — no matter how good online marketer you are, being asked to write a blog post chills your spine. Marketers prefer to stamp their fists on walls than to work on a compelling blog post that would convert – but why?
Content marketing has been growing as the most important skill required for marketers to land a job. Having copywriting skills is surely a benefit because writing compelling articles is intimidating and not everyone can do that. However, there’s always some room to make improvements even if you feel that you are not good at writing. Your writing does not need to be agonizing and there are several small hacks you can use to hone your skills and all you require is a little discipline and a will to learn.
Check out these 10 sure-fire ways to improve your copywriting skills.Advertising
1. Write for one
You need to treat copywriting just as if you are writing to one person and trying to grab his attention. Copywriting is all about sharing your knowledge in the best possible way to make your marketing campaign effective and if you grab attention of just one person, the rest will follow. Write as if you are writing an email, be personal, add humor and try to include details as much as you can. Consider your copy as a cover letter and you surely will see a lot of improvements in your writing.
“Someone once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person. As it happens, I believe this. I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, “I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?” For me that first reader is my wife, Tabitha.” — Stephen King
2. Brush up on the basics
Before you start writing an incredible copy, you need to learn the basic principles of writing. This does not mean you need to have an university degree in literature, but you surely should have a strong grasp of grammar and spelling. You need to go through good books and learn their styles and try to refine them and add your touch to your copy. Improving your grammar and spelling will make your copy more compelling as well.
3. Work in groups
Writing is basically a solitary activity, but when you work in groups and have a reasonable sized company, you learn from them and gain much-needed feedback to make improvements. Find someone who is also trying to improve his writing and work together. Talk to your coworkers or friends and ask if they want to check your work. This will ensure if your copy has mistakes or points that you overlooked.Advertising
4. Write a killer headline
If your headline is not powerful, all you get in return for your copy is crickets. Try to hone the skill to write headlines that attracts; learn the art and master it. You can start reading different popular journals and magazines and see how they prepare their headlines. Analyze the work of others and see what works best to your readership.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” ~ David Ogilvy
5. Keep it short and interesting
Most people don’t go through paragraphs that are long, no matter how stellar the content might be. If you keep it short, it sounds simple and sweet, of course. Generally, when you keep the first paragraph short, chances are people will find it interesting and read through the complete post.
The opening of your copy should be hypnotic and you can do what you feel best; include an intriguing question, show stats or an outrageous claim that will keep your reader interested.Advertising
6. Imitate writers you admire
Wait there, imitation is not the same as plagiarism. There’s no way you can rip off anyone’s work and call it yours, ever. What you can do is try writing like the same writers you read on regular basis. Dissect what part of their work you enjoy best and see if you can use similar strategies in your content.
If they add humor, do that if you like it. If they are always serious, try that too and see if it will impact your readers as much as it did on you.
7. Use bullet points
Try different search query about foods you want to eat or travel destinations you want to visit this summer, the search engines are filled with list posts. Believe me, such posts have been successful since…forever. Yes, from the very early days of copywriting to now and in the future, copies that have bullet points guarantee success than copies filled with paragraphs only.
Using bullet points will make it easy for readers to scan the article and if they oblige to your readers, they’ll oblige you too.Advertising
8. Edit ruthlessly
You have to do this for once and for all if you want to become a great copywriter. Editing is a tough skill and is considered a waste of time by many. But in fact, editing is what can place immense value to your copy and you don’t require a lot of rewriting as well.
Editing copies will give you tons of ideas about your writing level. Start eliminating extraneous words and try making sentences short. Make sure to get your message to the point and wax it lyrically. You need to be harsh on yourself and the more ruthlessly you edit your copies, the better results you’ll see.
9. Do your research
Most articles I read today are plagiarizing someone else’s work. Well, they even credit the source and if they don’t, they make sure that no sentences in their work is present in someone else’s article; that’s cheating. You can rewrite any articles, rephrase sentences and make them yours, but that is still plagiarism. Learn the fact that there are no shortcuts when it comes to success.
Try doing your own research, add statistics to your copy and make sure you source or attribute the details. Even if you are an amateur, researching and adding them to your articles will make you look like a professional.
10. Find a good editor
Everyone needs an editor, even the best writers in the world. If you are trying to improve your content strategy or looking to guest post on your favorite site, make sure you are working with a good editor. This will ensure that you deliver the best content and see improvements in your work where necessary.
Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com
Last Updated on February 21, 2019
How to Stop Information Overload
Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.
This has to stop somewhere. And it can.
As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.
But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.
Table of Contents
How Serious Is Information Overload?
The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.
This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.
When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.
We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.
No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.
The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.
That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”
Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.
Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.
But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.
Why Information Overload Is Bad for You
Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.
When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.
Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.
The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.
You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.
How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)
So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.
1. Set Your Goals
If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”
Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.
Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.
Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.
2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information
Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.
First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.
If it does, then ask yourself these questions:
- Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
- Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
- Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?
If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.
(You’ll forget about it anyway.)
And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.
You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.
Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.
3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose
There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body, Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.
Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.
Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.
Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.
4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information
Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.
This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.
Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.
The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:
Summing It Up
As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.
I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.
I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.
More Resources About Boosting Brain Power
- How Clutter Drains Your Brain (and What You Can Do About It)
- Re-learn How to Learn in the Information Age
- How to Use the Low Information Diet for Better Day-to-Day Productivity
- 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com