Copywriters: they make the web go round.
Bad news? They’re only human, though.
So, of course, they make mistakes.
It’s natural that even the best copywriters make mistakes.
What you should know, though, is that some mistakes are more dangerous than others.
If you’re a professional copywriter, avoiding the ten deadly
Copywriters Beware: The 10 Worst Mistakes of Online Copywriting
Read on to learn more.
Believe it or not, plagiarism can happen… even if you don’t mean for it to.
According to Google, plagiarism is simply, “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.”
While most copywriters believe that plagiarism only happens when you copy, word-for-word, an entire article from someone else’s page, it can be much more insidious than that.
In many cases, plagiarism can happen when copywriters are tired, busy, or stressed, and as a result, aren’t paying enough attention to properly citing their sources or re-phrasing ideas they’ve gleaned from other online content.
Unfortunately, plagiarism is deadly no matter how it happens. Google isn’t particularly concerned about why you plagiarized a piece, and they’re happy to de-rank yours or your client’s content if they stumble upon copied text.
Because of this, it’s essential to keep a close eye out for plagiarism.
One of the best ways to do this is to use an online plagiarism checker, like Grammarly or Copyscape. While it may seem like one more step in your copywriting pursuits,
2. Taking pictures directly from the search results
Including a colored visual in a piece of content increases a person’s willingness to read it by a whopping 80%, so it’s understandable that you want to include images and videos in your content.
Be careful how you do it, though, since simply pulling visuals directly from the search engine results page could easily wind up in a lawsuit.
Online content is protected by copyright laws, and violating these laws by using someone else’s work without their express permission can result in a significant problem.
Because of this, it’s critical to be careful about the visuals you use.
To be on the safe side, pull visuals from high-quality stock image sites like Pexels or take your own screenshots or pictures.
Whatever you do, be sure that the images you include are clear, quality, and relevant to your text. This keeps them interesting
3. Publishing sloppy content
No matter how precise you are, typos are inevitable, and failing to read through your content before you publish it results in mediocre results that damage your personal brand.
While most copywriters believe that a simple once-over with the Microsoft Word spelling & grammar checker is sufficient, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While this software will help you catch misspelled words, it won’t often catch misused words (“there” instead of “their,” for example) or chunky, confusing writing.
Because of this, it’s critical to read back through everything yourself. Proofreading is a skill that’s essential to the success of copywriters everywhere, and it can indeed spell the difference between quality content and a disappointing turnout.
For added confidence, you may even want to run your content through a grammar-checking software like Grammarly, which will pick up on things like passive voice and misused commas. While this is a simple tip, it can help your content stand out from all the rest.
4. Getting the voice wrong
In many ways, copywriters are masters of transformation.
In addition to being able to write well and produce content quickly, they must also be able to transform their voice to cater to a client’s specifications: formal one day, conversational the next.
Unfortunately, many copywriters miss the mark on this.
Developing a myriad of voices is a little bit like bodybuilding – it requires time, effort, and some degree of skill.
If you haven’t taken the time to develop your various voices and tones, you’re going to lose clients to the copywriters who have.
Because of this, it’s essential to master a variety of voices and to ensure that the one you’re currently writing in is indeed the one that your client wants.
5. Being too wordy
Modern copywriters know that less is more, and it shows in their online content.
Today, brands want simple, succinct content that helps them convey a brand message and connect with their consumers.
They’re less interested than ever in verbose, drawn-out content that loses the marketing message and makes it difficult for readers to discern meaning.
Because of this, today’s copywriters need to focus on keeping it short and to-the-point.
Content that is too wordy makes it difficult for the reader to focus and, over time, can result in decreased conversions and leads for the client.
Because of this, simplicity is key and the copywriters who know how to cut the fat are the ones who will ultimately succeed in the world of online content creation.
6. Forgetting the CTA
Aside from the headline and opening sentence, a call-to-action is one of the most important lines in a piece of content.
When copywriters forget to include it, then, the entire piece of content loses its authoritativeness and fails to adhere to the goals of the sales funnel.
Meant to drive users to action, a call-to-action is a simple line that essentially tells viewers what to do next – be it click, download, share, or buy.
Without it, readers are less likely to take a given action and the success of the content declines rapidly.
In light of this, copywriters must know how to craft compelling, clickable CTAs that drive readers to want to act. This improves the efficiency of the content and helps to ensure that it performs the way a client wants it to.
7. Writing so-so headlines
So-so headlines do nothing to pull the audience in, and they can easily result in the content being completely overlooked by a significant portion of readers. The horror!
Because of this, modern copywriters must strive for compelling, attention-grabbing headlines that draw people in and inspire interest.
Here are some of the traits that make up an award-winning headline:
- It’s informative and concise
- It contains power words that evoke emotion in the reader
- It is optimized for keywords and current meta content standards
- It showcases the brand voice and helps readers connect with the company
When copywriters take the time to foster these skills, they’re better able to serve their clients and ensure that the content they’re populating the web with is worth its weight in gold.
8. Ugly, poorly-formatted content
For copywriters, it’s all about brains and good looks.
In addition to being relevant, informative, and valuable, good online copy also needs to be laid out in a way that invites readers in rather than sending them running for the hills.
This means utilizing H1, H2, and H3 headers, breaking long blocks of text up into shorter pieces and using bulleted or numbered lists to showcase important points.
When copywriters understand how readers make their way through content, these things fall into place much easier and the online copy performs better and meets user needs more efficiently.
Rushing can kill the best content, from the best copywriters.
When you rush, you’re more likely to make mistakes that impact the relevance and authority of your content.
This, in turn, decreases the trust readers will have in you and makes it more difficult for people to connect with your material.
Because of this, it’s essential to take your time and understand that deliberate content is good content. All good copywriters know that.
10. Not optimizing for SEO
Long-tail keywords and good meta content can make a huge difference in the way a blog post performs in Google’s SERPs, and it’s wise for copywriters to understand this.
By optimizing online copy for SEO, copywriters can help their content earn the attention it deserves.
This helps produce leads and secure a good spot in Google’s ranking mechanism.
Culled from Express Writers