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Which of the Following Is an Important Rule of Copywriting to Follow?

You’ve read the news stories, watched the talk shows, and even been to the movies—you have a pretty good idea of what being a member of the modern society means. Life is busy, hectic, and—at times—less than convenient. Between work and family obligations, there just isn’t enough time for you to stop and focus on your studies.

If you’re already a well-educated professional, you might be thinking that your only job responsibility now is to remind people of what they know. However, successful copywriting can still be applied to guide you through the process of creating engaging content that will compel your readers to take action.

Which of the following rules of copywriting should you follow?

1. Write for a reader who is already predisposed to your point of view

Let’s say that you agree with the values and ideas of the ‘Make America Great Again’ movement. Your job is to craft an editorial for a national newspaper. You will be presenting an argument against the status quo. While all of America might not necessarily agree with your views, you will certainly have a few readers who feel strongly about what you are saying.

To engage with your readers and pull them into the action, you must write with the voice and style of a conservative. You will want to avoid the liberal speech patterns and word choices of a typical writer. Instead, you will want to use language that your conservative readers will understand and appreciate.

If you want to write persuasively for a national newspaper, you must first understand and identify with the audience that the paper seeks to attract. This entails taking the time to get to know those people. What do they value in life? What are their interests? What are their concerns?

2. Craft an argumentative headline that will compel the reader to continue reading

A great way to engage readers and draw them into the action is to incorporate suspense into the copy. To keep your audience interested and entertained, you will want to hook them with a tantalizing question or a provocative statement. In the case of a talk show discussion, for example, you may want to lead with “Is this man the next Tiger Woods?” This question can act as a hook to pique the interest of the average reader.

Once they’ve been hooked, you can continue to reel them in with a compelling headline that will compel them to continue reading. A great headline has the ability to take a simple sentence or statement and turn it into a compelling piece of copy. It has the power to compel the reader to take a certain action or to think about a certain idea in a new way.

In the case of an editorial, you are arguing for a certain cause or position. As a writer, you must acknowledge the opposing viewpoint as well as the merits of your own argument. In doing so, you will want to include the other side in your article as well. An effective editorial must be objective and balanced. When writing for a broad audience, you have to use general language that will appeal to the greater good. Avoid stating your personal opinion as this will cloud your judgement when writing for an authoritative audience. An authoritative audience will have more weight in the argument because they are more likely to agree with you. In this case, you will want to use specific, detailed language.

3. Use the right tense in your headline, body, and tags

Whether you’re writing for a broad audience or an exclusive one, you must use the correct tense in your headline, body, and tags. If you’re not sure which tense to use, ask a proofreader, editor, or coach to help you out.

When writing for a broad audience, you have to choose the right tense strategically. If you want to engage with a larger group of people, you might want to use the present tense. In the case of an editorial, for example, you will want to use headlines in the present tense to grab the attention of your readers. Present tense writing allows you to discuss the issues of the day in the here and now. While this might be effective in a tweet, it can be a little more formal in a longer piece.

4. Craft an attention-grabbing opening to draw the reader in

Your opening sentence or two will have the ability to hook your reader and compel them to keep reading. With your opening, you want to establish credibility and provoke thought or action. You can use language that is both casual and formal, but you will want to keep the language simple and engaging. The simpler, the better. Short, pithy sentences and phrases work great in headlines. Using a story as your hook will also grab the attention of your readers as they are more likely to remember stories than any other form of content.

You want to write concisely and simply so that your reader doesn’t have to struggle to understand you. Conciseness in writing means using fewer words to say more. In the case of an editorial, you want to keep your language simple and straight-forward. Use big words only when you must and then be careful not to overuse them. The more you write, the more you prove that you’re not a native speaker, and the more likely you will trip over your own words.

5. Use active, sensory words to engage your reader

Use active, sensory words to engage your reader. Active words have the ability to keep your reader’s attention through the process of reading. If you want to write persuasively, you have to keep your reader engaged from the very first word. Otherwise, they will lose interest and begin to scan the article or feed.

If you want to draw a reader in, you have to make them feel that they are participating in the experience of reading your article. The use of evocative words will evoke specific feelings and images in your readers. Use words that are both unusual and familiar to your audience. Familiar words are easier to understand and will break down language barriers. Unusual words will catch the attention of your readers and provoke thoughts or ideas in a new way.

6. Introduce a new idea or concept gradually

While all of the above tips will help you write better articles, you will still want to avoid the common mistake of jumping directly to the point. Instead, you will want to introduce a new idea or concept gradually. If you’re explaining something new, you have to give your reader the chance to get used to hearing the information. This is particularly important if your reader is someone who is not familiar with your subject matter.

If you want to introduce and build on a new idea or concept, you have to take the time to explain it. This will require using language that is both accurate and clear. You also have to tie the new idea or concept to something your audience already knows. Familiarity breeds understanding and acceptance. If you want to convince your readers of something new, you have to prove that it is relevant and understandable to them. If you want to write with authority, you have to first convince your readers that you know what you’re talking about. Use language that is both specific and general.

7. Avoid using too many big words

While it’s perfectly valid to use big words, you have to be careful not to overuse them. If you want to impress your readers, you have to be selective with your vocabulary and save the big words for when you need them. Familiarize yourself with common and useful words before you resort to ‘bigging up’ your vocabulary. Overuse of big words will make you sound like a know-it-all. This is a turnoff to most, if not all, readers. Instead of bragging about your extensive vocabulary, you can always demonstrate your knowledge by simply explaining how a certain word is used or defined. You can also use your knowledge of grammar and spelling to confuse and delight your readers.

The above tips will help you become a better writer. As a copywriter, you will want to keep all of the above in mind as you craft your next piece. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Does what I’m writing make sense to someone outside my head?” If not, then you’re probably writing something that needs to be revised or reworked. While it might be tempting to rush into print with your latest masterpiece, nothing good comes from haste. Instead, take the time to edit, polish, and improve your work before you show it to the world. With careful attention to detail and a little bit of luck, you just might turn out to be an excellent writer—even if you haven’t yet discovered your talent for words.