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5 Myths About Copywriting

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For some reason, myths (on practically any topic) gain huge popularity and widespread acknowledgement. Just take Olympus and the Greek gods, for instance.

But not all myths are so clearly fictional as Greek mythology. Some of them — like these 5 copywriting misconceptions — are believed to be true by many people, simply because they’re retold on popular blogs or spread by so-called “gurus” of the industry.

In this post, we’ll examine 5 of the most popular myths about copywriting and why they’re really nothing more than fantasy.

1. Writer = Copywriter

Some people believe that since they can write something (a blog post or magazine article, for instance), they’re immediately qualified to write copy.

Nope.

Copywriting is a far cry from any other type of writing. There are unique techniques involved and different resources to learn from, not to mention a completely different environment.

For instance, when you write a blog post, frequently linking out both internally and externally to relevant resources is highly recommend from both SEO and content quality standpoints. In copywriting, linking out is a sure way to distract your readers from the task at hand: buying your product.

So if you’re looking to hire a copywriter for your product, make sure that you’re only considering those with prior copywriting experience who really have learned the trade and specialized in it.

Writer ≠ copywriter.

2. One Size Fits All

Just so we’re clear, the one size fits all approach applies to practically nothing in life. It’s a proverb that has never been proven true.

And it’s no exception in copywriting.

If you take a one size fits all style towards your copywriting — e.g. since “add to cart” worked as a better CTA than “buy now” or “purchase now “for Analytics Inspector I’ll only use “add to cart” in my e-commerce website’s copy — you are doomed to failure as a copywriter.

Any case study like that has more factors involved than just the ones you see at the surface, such as the quality of traffic, website niche, website design, etc. Instead, each piece of copy written must be tailored specifically to the website for which it is being written.

As they say, one ecommerce website’s treasure is another one’s poison (or something like that).

3. Keyword Density is Key for SEO

SEO copywriting is important, no doubt, but artificially increasing your keyword density is not the way to go about it.

Not too long ago, SEO experts would recommend a 3%-5% keyword density if one wanted to rank organically for a competitive search query. Today, I’d say that anything above 1% looks pretty suspicious, and anything close to 2% reads horribly.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it isn’t even important to keep watch over your density or try to hit a specific percentage. Google’s smart (most of the time), and it will sense foul play if you deliberately tweak the copy’s keyword density.

Then, not only will your readers dislike the website for having copy that reads like a robot, but you’ll also get penalized and suffer severe organic traffic losses.

4. Big Words Make Me Sound Smart & Professional

Dictionary Copywriting.jpg

Image source

Wrong. Very, very, very wrong.

Big words in your copy make you sound like an overzealous pompous fool writing from a dictionary. The right way to go? Write in layman’s terms.

The level of your writing is contingent on your target audience’s education, but generally you would want someone with a 7th to 8th grade reading level to be able to fully understand everything in your copy.

Too childish copy puts people off, but too pompous copy puts people off even more.

A neat tool that allows you to check what level our content is at is Read-Able. Here’s a more comprehensive guide to the desired results you should be attempting to get out of it.

5. Asking for the Sale Sounds Pushy

In my early copywriting days, I would never actually ask for the sale in my copy, for fear of sounding pushy and putting my readers off. I was too scared that my readers would interpret it in the “this-website-is-a-scam-trying-to-cheat-me-out-of-my-money” way.

It’s a myth.

Asking for the sale doesn’t make you sound pushy. Provided that you do it in the right way, it makes you sound confident and as if you have authority vested in you as an industry expert.

If you don’t make it clear that the reader should buy your product if he or she wants its benefits, then you really can’t expect any sales.

Wrapping Up

Which of these myths did you (if ever) believe in? Which ones did you spot coming? What are your recommended fixes for other misguided copywriters to help remove implementation of these myths in their copywriting?

Share your advice in the comments below!

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Maryellen Smith

Aug 7th, 2014 - 8:50 pm
Thanks for the thoughtful article! Reply

Jonathan John

Aug 11th, 2014 - 1:35 pm
You're quite welcome! Glad to have the positive feedback! Reply
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