Whether it’s a cover letter for your resume, a sales pitch to a client, a blog post, a Twitter tweet, or an internal business proposal, all of us need to write in a way that draws the reader closer to us.
We need writing that’s compelling, interesting, and unique. We need writing that’s magnetic.
Some think that magnetic writing is all about talent. But a few simple techniques can make any piece of writing more compelling.
Here are ten ways to help you write copy that draws the reader closer:
1. Don’t hedge
“Hedging” is when you go out of your way to cover every contingency in an argument. Example: “Nowadays many middle-school girls have at least some affinity for vampires.” The hedges are “almost all” and “at least some affinity.” These may be strictly true, but it’s soft, pudgy wording that lacks punch. Instead: “Nowadays middle-school girls love vampires.”
2. Repeat a phrase
Repetition establishes structure and rhythm. Repetition taps into the old part of our brain that loves rhyme and meter. Repetition pulls the reader into the flow of your writing. Repetition isn’t difficult to use. Repetition is your friend. Repetition is annoying if overused.
3. No passive voice
Passive voice is when you switch the positions of the subject and object of a sentence. For example: “The boy hit the ball” is in active voice; passive voice is: “The ball is hit by the boy.” Notice how passive voice uses more words without adding information — usually a warning sign of flabby writing.
The wrongness of passive voice isn’t universal, but wouldn’t it have been clearer if I had said that passive voice isn’t always wrong?
I don’t care how good your writing is, most people won’t read more than a few sentences. Any more and they’ll start scanning. You probably aren’t reading this article exactly from top to bottom are you? In fact, you’re probably not even reading this sentence. Man, for a discussion about brevity this sure is dragging on. You can fight it by being more entertaining, but the best policy is to just write less.
5. Use short sentences.
Short sentences are easy to read. They’re easy to digest. It’s easier to follow each point of an argument. Sometimes longer sentences — especially if divided up with dashes — are an appropriate tool, especially mixed in with shorter sentences to break things up. If you think short sentences are incompatible with excellent writing, read Stephen King. Or Hemingway. Or Basho.
6. Provoke, don’t solve
If you’re writing a report that is supposed to cover all the bases, this tip doesn’t apply. But if you’re trying to be persuasive (particularly if you’re creating a content net), don’t try to handle every objection in one sitting. Your goal is to get the other person to respond: To ask you about a feature of your product, to challenge your assumptions about a competitor, to double-check something before scheduling an interview. Don’t solve every problem, leaving no stone unturned; leave them wanting more!
7. Eliminate trash adjectives
Most adjectives and adverbs don’t add information; they just take up space and dull your message. Example: “I’m very interested in quickly scheduling an in-person interview.” Remove the adjectives and you get the same message, but sharper: “I’m interested in scheduling an interview.”
8. Be direct
Pardon me, dear reader, but if it wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience, could I trouble you to do me the favor of applying your obvious considerable facility with the English language to just get to the damn point?
Flowery, respectful and qualified wording is appropriate when you’re asking a waiter to do you a favor without spitting in your food. But it has no place in magnetically persuasive writing.
9. Tell a story
I knew a guy named George who couldn’t figure out why people couldn’t understand the benefits of his software. He had feature and benefit bullet points but they just weren’t sinking in. One day George changed his tactics completely. He wrote up a one-paragraph story about how one of his customers saved $125k by using his software. After that, sales were a lot easier.
10. Write informally
Sure, informal writing isn’t “professional.” And yeah, using phrases like and yeah violates the brevity rule. But it’s usually smart to write like you talk. Being informal helps you come off as a real person, not a stodgy, robotic copy writer.
‘course, it can git to be too durned much, s’don’t go ’round makin’ it hard to just plain understand what in blazes yur talking ’bout.
They say first impressions are most important, and often your written word will be the first impression someone has of you! So take the time and care to make it magnetic.
What tips do you have for more magnetic writing? Share them in the comments and we’ll all improve.
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Reader Comments (206)
I totally appreciate the piece of advices here. It helps a lot, I’m not really a good writer and trying to be one so I am looking for advices. My favorite part in writing is that I usually write informally because I want to share what’s on my mind the easiest way I know.
Blogging Guide says
Honestly, this is a great list of things to consider when copywriting. Especially learning to use short senteces has helped me out a lot. Basically keeping things simeple, is the key to writing a good copy.
When I write, I try not to think about any of this stuff. I just churn it out.
The editing process is when I try and incorporate some of the great points laid out here.
Sean Platt says
These are the rules of page turning fiction, which is also magnetic copy; drawing them in close and selling them on turning the page and spending their time. When I first started writing, flowery language was my achilles heal. And while it still has its place, sales copy isn’t it.
I like #8. I hate it when people go on and on without getting to the point. Just tell me what you want damnit. Whole list is awesome and I can’t come up with anything to add to it. How about drinking and having that glass there on… nevermind.
You rock! What a great post – clever, entertaining, clear. Love it. Thank you.
Nicely done. Enjoy how you’ve provided examples of your recommendations. Thanks!
David Walker says
Thanks Jason. I did, and do read every word. I feel if the writer felt the need to write that long, then maybe it ought to be read.
Still, I’m the type to read literature on drugs, graffiti, scribbles and every written word. I’ll ask to be excused on those grounds 😉
I find I have difficulty with the passive voice (years of ‘wrong’ schooling maybe?) and it’s only when I write like I talk that I can overcome it.
After this bit, I see I need to work on short sentences too.
Oleg Mokhov says
I agree with most of your tips here – very useful not just for writing magnetic copy but solid writing for any kind. However, do you think we should ALWAYS follow #1 ‘Don’t Hedge’?
Brian wrote in his Headline series that when we make a sweeping statement, it won’t be convincing because people know it’s not completely true. Instead, he gave a headline example of “Why Some People Almost Always ___.”
By inserting just one word (“almost”) you still keep the statement attention-grabbing and short, but you’re also truthful and convincing. You acknowledge that not every single person is that one thing.
What do you think?
Other than that, thanks for the useful, simple list with a nice dash of humor,
Jason Cohen says
@Oleg: Yes of course every “rule” is really a guideline. You should think about which apply to you, in which circumstances, etc.
In fact, this “caveat” that “no rule of life should be blindly followed” could be tacked onto every blog post! Which is why I left it out. 😀
As another example, there’s the bit about being informal. If you’re trying to persuade the local tax office to not raise your property taxes, it’s best to not be “cute” or informal, right? But for a blog post like this it’s more enjoyable if there’s some levity and human-ness behind it.
So that’s right — a sweeping UNBELIEVABLE statement is unconvincing, I agree. But being forceful and clear is good; you’ll have to find the balance with your own copy.
Mike Stenger says
It’s amazing how simple little changes in wording and sentences, can make such a huge difference. Now, I’m no pro or expert writer but I do agree with writing informally.
Have some sort of professionalism to what you’re saying but weave in your own personal dialog. People are attracted to personality and rather not an all business, 100% professional piece.
Great suggestions! Will definitely refer back to these tips in my future writing.
Kerrie Flanagan says
Great post. I especially like #1. Some writers don’t want to take a stand and their writing sounds wishy-washy.
Tomas Stonkus says
Great tips. I am stugling myself to make my writing more punchy. I know I have been guilty of hedging, solving issues instead of provoking thought, using passive voice and brevity.
Many of these things are very subtle. For example: “How do I know if I am being too lengthy or just using the language the way I speak?” “Am I being to repetitious? ”
I am sure many of them come with practice, but it is great to become aware of them and continuously try to incorporate them into writing blogs.
Thanks for great tips!
Jonathan Golden says
Writing is something that I have to constantly work on. Thank you for these tips. I will definitely use them daily. Your included examples makes this article very helpful!
Maggie Dennison says
Thanks so much! I’m a copywriter and agree 100% with your points. I really like number 6. It’s the one that my clients the most difficulty with.
Leslie McLellan says
I think you are right on when you say to write like you talk. That plays such a big part in building the “relationship” with your reader. Love it and thanks so much!
Great post. I’m the world’s worst when it comes to the “trash adjectives”. I’m the word fluff queen. I keep telling myself LESS REALLY IS MORE 🙂
I love #6 – Provoke don’t Solve. Add to the PAIN, intensify it and keep selling the PROBLEM. Don’t relieve the pain, but make the pain so big and real that they motivated to take action.
Jason Cohen says
@Roschelle – A tip there is to allow yourself to write however you feel like it at first, then apply the scissors during editing. That way you get out your natural voice, but still can use an objective eye to get it sharper.
@Charles – Great way of putting it!
This is a good list, but not all points apply to all types of writing. I would not write a pitch letter or a press release in the same style or tone I would write a blog post. It’s important to keep the reader and the context of what you are writing in mind to help determine which of these rules should apply.
Jennifer Weber says
This is a tremendous post and I learned a lot. Thanks.
Since you asked, my advice is as follows:
No matter what you are writing — from a shopping list to a manifesto — DO sweat the details when it comes to spelling and rendering of words, terms, idioms, and colloquialisms.
You look like a dummy if you don’t.
It’s pretty funny when someone doesn’t know (or pretends not to know) the difference between prostate and prostrate (although I don’t have a problem with that one because when getting ready to use either word — which isn’t often — I repeat to myself Dave Barry’s infamous jingle, to wit: “If two ‘r’s’ can be found, it’s down on the ground; if one ‘r’ is at hand, it’s a gland.”).
And I am helped.
But it’s downright aggravating when someone demonstrates in a piece that their grasp of the English language is too weak for them to appreciate the subtle difference between, say, principal and principle or eminent and imminent, to name just a few examples.
Oh, and jam isn’t the same as jamb. One goes on your toast and the other supports your door.
Look it up, for crying out loud. Look. It. Up.
Jason Cohen says
@Jennifer – Thanks those are great! Completely agree. Incorrect word choice and bad spelling are distracting and senseless.
Sonia Simone says
@Jennifer, I agree. Taking a little time to “sweat the small stuff” makes a gigantic difference. You may not catch everything (I don’t), but the effort shows.
Ian Greenleigh says
For the record, I did in fact read this top to bottom (but I don’t always do so).
I am always tempted to hedge. But the first step is admitting I have a problem. I was raised to worship inclusiveness, and it’s a hard mantra to stop chanting.
Informality also rubs me the wrong way on occasion, but the other extreme is far worse. For the record, I would love to see a post written exclusively in Victorian Cockney.
Oleg Mokhov says
@Jason: Thanks for your reply. I agree with your statement that all rules are just guidelines and shouldn’t be blindly followed. I should have been more specific with my comment – should we follow that guideline while WRITING specifically.
Obviously, there might be certain cases where it’s good to write “every teenage boy loves hip-hop,” but in general, is a better guideline (not rule) to write “almost every teenage boy loves hip-hop?”
Anyway, like you said, we take what we need and adapt it in our own way anyway. I definitely agree that being forceful and clear is good, and that’s what I got from your first guideline.
Thanks again for your concise and useful list (bookmarked), and I hope my nit-picking wasn’t too annoying 🙂
This is a damn smart post. Love how you employ the tactics into the point you were making. “Show, don’t tell”. Yeah I got it.
That’s one more tip to add to writing magnetic copy- Be witty.
James Deck says
Fantastic post, Jason.
Often I retweet a “10 ways” post agreeing with, say, seven or eight of the points.
In this case, I was glued to the article and thoroughly agreed with each point.
Shane Arthur says
Good write and welcome Jason.
My tip: Partner with an editor that eats magnets. 😉
We need writing that’s compelling, interesting, and unique. We need writing that’s magnetic.
We need compelling, interesting, and unique writing. We need magnetic writing.
thatmagnetic writing is all about talent. But a few simple techniques canmake any piece of writing more compelling. Here are ten ways to help you write copy that draws the reader closer:
Draw readers closer in 10 ways:
“Hedging” is when you go out of your way to cover every contingency in an argument.
“Hedging” is going out of your way to cover every contingency in an argument.
Repetition isn’t difficult to use.
Repetition isn’t hard.
Passive voice is when you switch the positions of the subject and object of a sentence.
Switching the positions of the subject and object of a sentence creates passive voice.
The wrongness of passive voice isn’t universal, but wouldn’t it have been clearer if I had said
thatpassive voice isn’t always wrong? Any more and they’ll start scanning.
Any more and they’ll scan.
You probably aren’t reading this article
exactlyfrom top to bottom are you? You can fight it by being more entertaining, but the best policy is to just write less.
Entertaining writing fights it, but writing less is the best policy.
Short sentences are easy to read. They’re easy to digest. It’s easier to follow each point of an argument.
Short sentences read easy. They’re digestible, making each point of an argument easy to follow.
If you think short sentences are incompatible with excellent writing, read Stephen King
If you think short sentences and excellent writing don’t mix, read Stephen King
If you’re writing a report that is supposed to cover all the bases, this tip doesn’t apply.
If your report must cover all bases, ignore this tip.
But if you’re trying to be persuasive (particularly if you’re creating a content net), don’t try to handle every objection in one sitting.
But if you’re trying to persuade (particularly if creating a content net), don’t tackle every objection in one sitting.
Your goal is to get the other person to respond:
Getting the other person to respond is your goal.
After that, sales were a lot easier.
After that, sales soared.
They say first impressions are most important, and often your written word will be the first impression someone has of you!
They say first impressions are most important, and often the first impression someone has of you is your writing.
Ruben A says
Shane, you are missing the point with all your edits. Sales copy doesn’t need to be grammatically correct as long as it’s conversational. When you read it out loud, it sounds like someone is speaking with you, not reading a text book at you.
I know, this post is from like 2009, but hey, EVERGREEN!
Alan Fairweather The Motivation Doctor says
Great; thank you, very helpful!
Great advice, as usual! Thanks!
I get more clicks when I add something personal to a blog post. When I post a recipe I get a better response by adding what my guests usually say about it. Just providing informaiton is not enough. I am learning that you must engage your reader!
Ahh… Hedging is so commonplace today. I think that comes from our desires to always be right (or at least look like real authorities on the subject).
Great list Jason!
Btw – for more great tips on writing check out On Writing by Stephen King. Entertaining & insightful.
Jason Cohen says
@Ian – Awesome point about Cockney. Brings up the fact that some of this differs by culture in ways that we don’t always consider. Typical American fault as well, no?
However, that does reinforce the point about “short and clear” — makes it easiest for non-native speakers to grok the talk. 🙂
@Shane – Hah, awesome! 🙂
I think what you’re really proving here is that copy is never perfect, and that more eyeballs (to a point) are better.
Of course eventually you have “to just f’ing ship it…” 🙂
Great tips! I always believe in the power of a few words to persuade ‘stubborn’ readers. Brevity should always be considered so readers won’t end up snoring while reading your piece…
Sonia Simone says
Laughing, Jason. Just so.
Shane has a very special gift. 🙂 I’m a pretty good editor, but I don’t see everything he sees.
Coach Donnelly says
Or, how about summing up all this advice by simply remebering:
“DON’T WRITE COPY LIKE A POLITICIAN!”
why not? after all a POLITICIAN is a person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip!
Derek Alvarez says
Great advice, Jason! Practice also helps and I also get a lot of ideas by reading good copywriters’ work — like this blog, Mike Dillard’s stuff, Perry Marshall, etc.
Shane Arthur says
@Jason, magnitized eyes are better than many eyes. Did I mention I eat magnets? 😉
@Sonia, Stop it! I’m blushing magnet-red right now. :0
anton kozlik says
@Shane: I believed writers didn’t read this blog — and then you did what had to be done. Nice job!
Shane Arthur says
@anton, I’m no writer. I’m a compulsive proofer with an unmatched inability to keep it to myself.
ps. Jason, I just read your “Rich vs. King” post. Great story and great write. I highly recommend the Copyblogger Tribe read it. If everyone here follows copyblogger advice and becomes successful, they will have to make the same tough decision you made (the right one in my opinion): http://blog.asmartbear.com/rich-vs-king-sold-company.html
Great advice, short sweet and to the point!
Glendon Cameron says
I like this advice. Gain quite a bit of things to put into my blog post today. I think I will tell a story!
Ian Greenleigh says
Your lean, mean magnetism just got you an interested twitter follower and blog reader. So, there’s that…
Don’t know what I’m trying to prove, actually. I wonder how you feel about outlining comments before writing? JK JK JK – that would be LAME.
Kristina Halvorson says
Jason, this is one of the best posts I’ve read on Copyblogger. Entertaining, insightful, and articulate. While your tips can be applied in any medium, they’re especially pertinent when writing for online media, which is where I focus.
Here’s another one – or an extension of #9…
Be concrete. If you need to include numbers to tell your story try creating a visual image rather than siting data. This works especially well if the image is local to your audience.
Last year ______ served enough people to fill Lincoln’s Pershing Auditorium – twice!
Rather than: Last year _____ served 15,000 people.
Gabe | freebloghelp.com says
“The blogger left a comment.” I like it!
Seriously though, the amount of word lard that I read daily is sickening. Hopefully some folks learn a few lessons from this post.
Robert Bravery says
Nice post, and by the way I did read the whole thing. But must confess that I do do a lot of scanning. Especially on a blog that has small fonts.
English is my first language even though I often make buge grammar mistakes. Probably due to the fact that I am dyslexic. No excuse, just makes it harder for me as well as taking longer to get it right.
You points really got to the heart because at times I have been guilty of all.
Brent Logan says
I find I do my best writing when I read the post aloud before pressing “publish.”
Samir Balwani says
I think No Passive Voice and Tell A Story are the most important. Especially when it comes to social media, telling a story makes it easier to spread too. People relate better to stories.
Dale Berkebile says
Thanks so much for the excellent article. Boy you bring up some really great points here. I not only learned a few things, but you also re-enforced some of the habits we already use. I will be sure to pass this on to our friends and clients.
Keep up the good work!
Helen Kidd says
Found myself agreeing with every point while at the same time finding it sad that we, as a society, have gone from taking the time to read the likes of “War and Peace” and “Gone with the Wind” to skimming blogs and tweets of 140 characters. Best advice I ever had was “Write a lot. Read even more” (Jerry Jenkins).
I think we’d all do well to take some of these tips, but there’s certainly a little bias in favor of the author’s style here. As a copywriter quick, witty, and pointed is the standard, but some of my favorite blogs use a much more creative and less pragmatic approach. I can’t say I love wordiness, but frankly, I look for quality writing and content over the brief blogger online-media-maniac pretentious jargon.
Charlie Moger, Wizard of Ads says
Copy that isn’t compelling is noise and gets tuned out. Short sentences. Brevity of wit. Boost the verbs. Great post. Because less is more, I’ll leave it there.
Scott Sheaffer says
Oh doctor heal thyself. “He wrote up a one-paragraph story…” How about, “He wrote a one-paragraph story…” I’ll forgive you this time.
Annabel Candy says
I’d say use language that resonates with your readers. If they’re teenaged Twilight fans the language that will appeal to them will be quite different from the wording that a bunch of stuffy judges would appreciate:)
Derek Alvarez says
@Helen, I decided to read “War and Peace” a few years ago and it took quite a bit of dedication and discipline to set aside enough time to finish it. It was worth it, though!
The most common excuse I hear people give for not reading is that they are too busy or there is not enough time in the day. But it’s funny because, like you said, how many people spend their spare time reading Twitter posts and watching Youtube videos?
Leaving a comment is what I almost always do, but I kind of feel a little like I might sort of drag it on and would most likely break too many of the hard and fast rules of brevity and other things.
Actually… this was a fantastic post!
Andrew @ WeBuildYourBlog.com says
I always focus on my readers when writing a blog post because they are my customers. They will converse with you and they will be the ones buying from you. So your writing must be focused on them.
Amanda Gonzalez says
A good rule of thumb is to write to an eighth grader. This DOES NOT mean being simplistic – it means if there’s a more common word to explain your point, use it. Don’t use big words for the sake of it, or to show off your vocabulary.
Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com says
I think people ‘hedge’ sometimes because they don’t want to get in trouble stating something that may not be entirely true. More so the case now with the new FTC rulings in place you can’t get away with stating something so ‘punchy’ unless it’s true.
It may not apply to just standard blog posts (does it or not?) since blog posts don’t usually ‘sell’ anything, so I may be wrong.
Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com
Thanks. Great way to explain. You have shown by doing.
Jason Cohen says
@Sarge – IANAL, but you can write whatever you want as long as it’s not slander.
You’re referring to the new law that if you get compensated for reviewing a product you have to disclose that. Nothing to do with WHAT you say about it, or how.
If it’s actually an advertisement you’re writing, there’s laws (in America) about what you can say, but clearly that’s not what the guidelines above are referring to.
Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com says
@Jason that’s cool. I figure for blog posts you can write whatever you want pretty much.
I’ll admit I haven’t read through the FTC rules myself – just what others have blogged about it. From what I picked up you can’t say things like ‘you will lose 20 pounds in 20 days’. I’m sure it only applies to things you’re actually selling but I could be wrong.
Just wanted to point that out. 🙂
Jamie Favreau says
Great tips as always!!
Dan Bossenbroek says
Great article, again. Thanks for the tips.
Fan Bi says
thanks for this great post jason, and yes did read every word. on the company blog (www.blank-label.com) personally do find myself repeating for emphasis, which comes at the cost of brevity. also i like to be direct but find myself not doing it because i want to tell a story which has interesting twists and turns. so it turns out that maybe you do have to hedge a little and balance between all the factors …
healthy source says
I often read interesting articles, success stories, a variety of success, but few who tells it how to succeed, how to achieve such success. generally recommend a tool or goods at a specified price. just a story, without being able to take advantage for the reader. thank you for you who have shared
Rachel Henke says
I enjoyed your post very much. I have found that asking questions works well and involves the reader.
Good tips, I really like the one about telling a story; everyone loves a story. The best stories are our own personal ones. The only problem is when we tell them it can leave us vulnerable to being ignored and considered just uninteresting. But its a risk we all have to take.
Thanks again, Jimmy
I think I’m guilty of ‘hedging’ but it is certainly something I’m working on!
Michael Adams says
Great list. Thanks.
I would just highlight the importance of rhythm and visuals. Magnetic music has long, medium and short notes. So does speech. Use short sentences, but add some funk. While adding your baseline, use visual notes.
If they feel and see, they’ll buy.
Joshua Black says
Spot on with number 9. I will use number 4 with a side of number 10 to write this comment.
Tell a story. People remeber stories. Just look at the last time you heard an urban legend that you thought was true (and remember it from 10 years ago).
…now try to remember the benefit bullets in the cell phone ad you heard 5 minutes ago.
Exactly my point.
David Reske says
Attention to writing is too often neglected in marketing. This is a great resource for staying on target and keeping skills sharp.
I like the clever way in which you wrote the whole piece 🙂
Regarding #5 -use short sentences – I’d say to mix short and longer sentences, make them dance. Too many of those short sentences can make a text sound telegraphic.
As of hedging, there are certain constructions that ask for this kind of afraid-to-say-what-I-want-to-say writing. In a sentence like “Nowadays many middle-school girls have at least some affinity for vampires.” it’s the “nowadays” that asks for the hedge. My take on this would be that instead of trying to generalize we should “settel” for an observation – we’re not publishing a study, we’re writing about stuff we believe in.
Nice to read your here too:)
Ms. Freeman says
I am always on the look out for ways to become a better writer, and I find I am guilty of several of these key points. Number 4 was very funny. I need to work on short sentence writing.
Jillian Kuhn says
Jason, nice post. Easy to follow, well articulated, and smart ways to improve your copy. I’ve been trying to explain the benefits of shorter, more to-the-point copy on my blog, and a few items on your list are great tools to help achieve that.
Okay so a friend of mine who is an english professor offered to copy edit my wine blog. I dont even know what that means. I told him I have spell check. and Item #10 on this list sums it up. Time for a #buzzcation
Pamala Knight says
GOD, I love this blog.
Kevin Day says
Great list and a great reminder of the fundamentals. Thanks for the flashbacks of Mrs. Boldman, my whip-cracking ninth-grade English teacher. She scared the crap out of me, but just thinking about her makes me a better writer.
Be real. Write from the heart. Don’t write to your audience. Write for them. This encourages dialog.
l like this article, well done very good, always be more magnetic
Jenny Pilley says
Posts like this always catch my attention because they remind me of what my writing may be missing. It’s so important to find the balance in writing well but being informative, writing for an audience without being too chatty.
I think you balance your points well but I have to disagree… I read all of it, no scanning 🙂
James Frey says
I write things out, just get the words out of my head and spilling out on to the screen. Then I go back a edit — hack and slash and take out about 90 percent of the garbage.
great article. i think the point about brevity should carry more weight, but i definitely agree with everything that was said. this article will help me rethink my writing. thanks!
Dr. Elon Bomani says
I know that having good copy writing is very important and I am so glad for the information you shared. I must do the best copy in the world for 2010 to help my online biz succeed.
Karl Moss says
Very informative post, I feel I am doing far too much of the features and benefit bulletpoints you mention in number 9 and not enough story telling. Definately something to consider!
Ankara Parke says
Be real. Write from the heart. Don’t write to your audience. Write for them. This encourages dialog.
Samantha Y says
Great Post. I’m just starting my blog and stumbled across yours on Twitter. I have a short attention span but have been trying to write how I thought everyone else would like to read a post. You have greatly relieved my mind. I’ll write like I think and talk.
Marshall Wayne says
I like the “Don’t Hedge” idea. I feel turned off when I read someone who is hedging (I almost wrote, “I sometimes feel just a little bit turned off….then realized I was blatantly hedging).
This is what’s up! I love and appreciate no nonsense people like you guys ! Even though I have been using some of these tactics in my own copy it’s always nice to see people on my page.
David Lorell says
“Repetition is annoying if overused”… very funny! Obviously, injecting humor is a real pull… it hooked me from that moment on.
Roy Petitfils says
Great post. Bulleted content, as in this post is magnetic.
Avoiding fluff is the key.
What do you think about admissions of fault? Its usage definitely requires care (it wouldn’t quite be appropriate in the middle of trying to prove you are right), but it can help connect you to the reader. Used at the right times, making readers privy to your imperfections gives the impression that you are honest, helps the reader relate to you (because they aren’t perfect either), and makes you seem less pretentious. Have you ever done this? Has it worked for you?
Thank you for this article, super easy to read. I read the whole thing without scanning, so unlike me. 🙂
mk akan says
full of tips and straight to the point..l love telling stories it connects people emotionally
Pat Sutton says
Great article, I have retweeted. You asked for any further tips – I was once told that a good test is to pretend to hold a phone to your ear and read it out loud as if you’re talking to someone – if it feels laboured and not natural then it’s not right. Try it, it does work!
~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ says
#4 is cracking me up! …and yes, I did scan a little bit.
Wonderful advice. I’ve always viewed my writing style as ‘brain farts with a voice.’ Trying to become more of a writer. I’m feeling pressure because I’m actually getting readers and comments and emails…what have I done? lol
Thanks for the tips!
Excellent advice- it’s so easy to slip into bland and flabby writing style when a taught and challenging writing can spring the copy to life. I particularly like the story idea- adding personal interest, which is why it’s good to have a comprehensive profile.
Wow. This is a superb resource. Bookmarked! What I always like about the posts on copyblogger is the humor in it. It cracks me up ;-).
I talk like you did in the last point. Maybe that should be edited 😉
Y’all add so much to these here internets. Thanks a bunch n’ keep on a truckin’. Y’all are the bestest.!
Translation: You guys add lots of value. Thank you. You are great
Thanks for the advice,I’ve been looking for some tips on how to improve my writing skills, and this one will surely help.I just realized that writing is not that hard as what I’ve thought before.
I concur with the other comments. I was scanning the article until point 4, after that I went back and read it end to end. I am always looking on ways to improve my writing skills. This 10 point guide will really help with that – succinct and entertaining. Thank you.
Helen Keevy says
I think you got the best advice up there first – Don’t Hedge. That is one I know I’m guilty of… comes from working in the public sector and hard to shake off. Will try to keep it top of my list too. Thanks
The Story Woman says
Thanks for the reminder about these ideas that I do know, but forget apply. Deleting “more” from you title would be following your own lead, and is stronger.
A great reminder that “less is more” when it comes to writing…and a lot of other things in life
Janet Raines says
Good advise! Seems as if the journalists that have written for printed media are the ones that have difficulty in keeping online writing short and to the point.
Mohammed Al-Taee says
Thanks for the reminder!
Another key to magnetic copy is the use of specifics. The more specific you can be (especially including specific numbers), the more alive, believable, and memorable your writing becomes. What if McDonald’s had launched the Big Mac by saying, “it’s some beef patties with a bunch of other stuff on a bun”? Instead, we still remember their ultra-specific “2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun” word-for-word some (ahem) 20+ years later . . .
Brevity – good reminder.
Repitition – will try it.
Provoke – will think about that one too.
search engine optimization pricing says
could i make a pdf of this info? it some really good info and i would love to use it as a reference offline. want to ask first before i do anything you might not like…
Dom A / SevenFigureBlueprints.com says
Another great post by you guys – I am loving your site. It’s well written and really informative, perfect for startup beginners and those with experience that are looking to improve their marketing techniques through the power of writing.
Mark E says
Thoroughly enjoyed this article. I have begun my writing for my site…and it is real work. Thanks for providing this valuable information.
cheers for the tips my man. though i love my trashy adjectives!
Jim Hageman says
To be magnetic you must give value. This post gave me value. Thank you.
Bolton Removals says
Thanks for the article, good tips. I personally think the most important thing when writing articles is to be yourself rather than using corporate speech etc.
Zuly Gonzalez says
@Jason, great tips and entertaining.
@Shane, Wow, you’re amazing! I’m now following you on Twitter.
Thanks Jason great advice and very enjoyable to read. You say that people tend to start scanning after a couple of sentences and that the best policy is to just write less, yet I read the whole of this post and still went back for more!
Thanks Jason, these are the 10 best writting tips that I ever got. Though i did a little bit scaning but you wrote it so well that I got it all.
Awesome tips, thank you.
I’m going to have my website copy redone so this stuff is gold.
These are great tips. Writing a cover letter can be very difficult. Definitely keeping it short and simple is the way to go.
Brian | i-Blogger says
I think these are some of the best tips for having more magnetic copy. I especially agree with “writing like you talk”. But more importantly – the way you would talk to just one of your friends. I also find that if you are writing like you’re speaking to just 1 person – the reader might feel like it’s directed to them specifically.
Thanks for the tips,
Brian M. Connole
Great tips. I will certainly use them. Also it is good to read your copy out loud to see how it flows. Thanks.
Andrew North says
Some great tips listed here i defiantly have to agree with you on some of these. All writing whether it is on your own site or blog should be compelling, interesting, and unique this is a great way of attracting more visitors and readers.
Some great tips stated thanks for sharing these with us i look forward to reading some more great posts.
I am afraid i’m guilty of hedging in my writing. This has reminded me I definitely need to sharpen up my writing skills. I don’t like mediocrity.
I love your “don’t solve” concept, that is so true. People are always trying to do too much, and trying to solve everything. Simplicity.
New subscriber here….been reading a few of your blogs every few days or so. This one has really hit me….I’m guilty of numbers 1 and 6 in my newsletters and articles….thanks for the wake-up and all the wonderful information!
I’m looking forward to reviewing some of the articles I’ve bookmarked before starting my next newsletter.
The thing I like to do before I even start writing is that I would just write whatever is on my mind.
I open up a text document and begin writing whatever
“Ok, now I am trying to post a comment to this wonderful blog post and I am explaining and writing about some of my tips…”
That was an example of how I would begin writing. It’s like I am having a 1-on-1 conversation with myself. This would get my creative juice flowing and destroys and writers’ block being afraid of the content not being good enough…
After that, I open a new document and begin writing the actual content, and write like a maniac and really fast.
Afterward, the editing begins, and I actually find this process to be ironically more time-consuming because there are many possibilities and I want the best one.
But that’s what I do when I write.
Lyss @ generalforum says
I have a habit of writing things the way I say it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I also go off topic from time to time, I need go work on my grammar and pronunciation. Thanks for the tips!
Money Funk says
Now flipping the pages of my Stephen King novels… Short sentences, really? Just a lot of them. LOL. Great post. Enjoyed the last example to post w/ your voice.
Jennifer Wing says
Brilliant! Very useful information as usual! Thank you!
Where have you been all my life.
Wakas Mir says
Amazing suggestions 🙂 especially the one that says “get to the damn point” . sometimes it’s required 🙂
Chris | MarketingHQ says
One I think many struggle with is the balance between being personable and professional. The truth is, sounding too professional and stiff just makes you sound like a lawyer (not that I don’t like lawyers, I have a friend whose a lawyer).
I’ve found being a bit personable and quirky works much better – and I love using dashes to break up a sentence. Dash, where have you been all my life…you are the best and make copy so much easier to read….
Nice and simple article 🙂
Straight to the point.
Trung Nguyen says
Great tips for writer here. Well, I’m still not a good writer but I think it will improve from time to time, just learn more experience and practice we can be a pro writer.
Naveen Jayawardena says
It’s hard to find genuine advice when there is so much blogging tips. But this one stands out! And most of the tips can be applied to my writing right away. Thanks for the lovely post!
Mark Adrian @ How to Persuade People says
Jason, that’s a great list of points to sharpen your writing. I often find myself writing sentences that are too long. So I will try to make a conscious effort to chop them into 2 or 3 shorter ones!
The first point about hedging is also excellent. Its very annoying when people sit on the fence and try to explain things from both sides of the fence. Pick and side and stick to it, great advice, it really sharpens the copy!
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