Can you relate to the following scenario …?
You ’ ve worked hard writing awesome marketing copy for , say , a landing page . Your prose is fantastic . You can ’ t imagine changing a single word . In fact , you ’ re already imagining your boss , team , or client giving you high-fives . Then you see your copy formatted in the template and realise it looks like crap . It ’ s too long , too difficult to scan , and not the least bit eye-friendly . Ouch . You ’ re going to have to make some cuts and edits .
The good news is , tightening your copy almost always makes it better
I know that from experience . I ’ ve written sales copy I thought was perfect ( no ego here !). But when I had to tighten it , the copy ends up being stronger and more persuasive . I guess my original draft wasn ’ t so perfect after all !
The trick to tightening is to make the copy shorter without losing the “ magic ”
The goal is to maintain the energy , creativity , conversional flow , key points , and other elements that make it effective , so here are some tips for doing that .
What does your prospect need to know ?
This is a great question to ask when tightening your marketing copy . By asking , “ What does my prospect need to know in order to take the next step ?” you can present only that information and jettison everything else ! If you ’ re writing a Facebook ad , you don ’ t need to explain everything about the product . You just need to highlight one or two motivating features and benefits — enough to get the prospect to click LEARN MORE . This technique alone will cut the fat in your copy and leave the good stuff .
Tell the quick version of stories
Stories are a powerful tool in every copywriter ’ s toolbox . The problem is , stories take longer to tell than merely stating facts and benefits . If you don ’ t want to remove a story or example from your copy , then tell the “ quick version ” by cutting out unnecessary details . Focus only on the highlights . Most two-paragraph stories can be told in a sentence or two so write that version .
Take the five per cent challenge
Challenge yourself to cut five per cent of your word count , without sacrificing any key points nor the style and impact of your copy . Here ’ s a few tips on how to do this :
• Turn passive sentences into active ones . That often makes them shorter and punchier .
• Do you really need that adverb ? Often , a verb can stand on its own . If it doesn ’ t , find a better verb !
• Use a comparison to help explain a complex feature or idea . That will require fewer words .
• Don ’ t expand on ( aka sell ) every feature ; just the most motivating ones . If necessary , put the rest in a simple bullet list .
Steve is a copywriting trainer , consultant , and creator of the bestselling course : Modern B2B Copywriting
• Cut redundant words . Look for phrases like “... lowers insurance costs and fees ”.
• Explore ways to rephrase sentences to make them sharper and clearer . That usually makes them shorter .
4 Highlight rather than repeat
Repetition builds persuasion . But if you ’ re hammering the same benefit over and over again , that can eat up the word count . Instead , take that benefit and highlight it in a way so it ’ s not missed . You can dedicate a separate paragraph or section to it . Or , to really tighten things up , write the benefit as a short header , callout , or caption . If you ’ re certain the benefit will be noticed , you won ’ t need to repeat it .
5 Put your subheadings to work
Subheads can tell a story . In fact , you can use subheads to communicate a lot of information . So take advantage of that when tightening your copy . Don ’ t just think of subheads as section titles . Put them to work communicating your sales message . Try this : When editing your copy , see how much of your message you can get across with just the subheads . You might be surprised .
Few copywriters like having to cut back on their strategicallycrafted word , but the process often results in better copy .
Few copywriters like having to cut back on their strategically-crafted word , but as I said earlier , the process often results in better copy . Hopefully , these copytightening techniques will help . ®
ISSUE 8 / RAISING THE BAR 27