Copywriting is about so much more than grammar, spelling and punctuation. It’s also about writing copy that matches your business, whether that is (to use a fashion analogy) suited and booted, smart casual, or laid back and relaxed.
Which is why we were very surprised when purchasing online a piece of glassware from Waterford to be greeted with the phrase ‘Yay – your purchase is complete’.
Yay? Nothing wrong with that word, of course, but in the context of Waterford it seemed incongruous. Waterford is a heritage brand, producing glassware perfect to grace any dining room table. Indeed, the company overtly talks about ‘heritage’ and ‘craftsmanship’, and rather neatly calls its blog a ‘journal’.
So, to use the word ‘yay’ just doesn’t fit, especially when compared to the product descriptions. For example, Waterford’s vodka set, chill bowl, and shot glasses apparently come with ‘a radiance that showcases chilled vodka perfectly’. Doesn’t that make you want to sit with a chilled vodka and tonic, on a sunny terrace? As an aside, this wasn’t the purchase we were making (we were after a trifle bowl).
The language on the Waterford website – ‘yay’ aside – seeks to evoke an emotion by painting a picture. Wine glasses aren’t just wine glasses, they invite you to ‘share your favourite Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc with friends and family’. And, as you’ll know, emotion is a big driver when it comes to choosing our purchases.
What’s the right tone for your website copy?
The answer to this will lie within your brand.
If you went through a branding process, you’ll have drilled down into what you and your business are all about, and this will not only have created the looks and logo, but revealed your USP, your target market, your mission, vision and values.
This should all drive the tone of voice for your organisation.
So, if (as we said at the start) your style is formal then the copy should reflect this. If you are laid back, relaxed and friendly, then you can be more informal in your copywriting.
But don’t be so casual that you stray into mateyness, or you risk losing the confidence of your audience. They may be uncertain whether a business quite so chilled can also be on tops of its game.
Similarly, try not to be overly stuffy in your text, even if you run a suited and booted law firm or business of a similar ilk. It’s hard to engage an audience if you sound as if you are talking down to them.
Six tips for successful copywriting
Whatever your type of business, and whatever tone you are attempting to strike, try to stick to the following:
- Avoid jargon. You may understand what you mean, but will your audience? Using jargon and in-phrases may alienate your readers.
- Use acronyms and initialisms only once you have written them out in full, except where they really are known to everyone, such as NHS.
- Keep paragraphs short – much easier and more engaging to read on screen.
- Keep sentences short – ditto.
- Write in the first person – that can be ‘we’ or ‘I’, depending on the setup of your business. After all, this is a conversation, and if you were chatting face to face you wouldn’t refer to yourself or your business in the third person.
- Check the copy for good grammar and spelling, and read it aloud. Does it sound right? If not, then you may need to make some edits.
We hope this gives you a few pointers on good copywriting and setting the tone for your text. If you need any help at all, or would like to outsource any copywriting or content creation, we’d love to chat to you. Please get in touch.