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How to write the perfect post that doesn't feel like a pushy salesperson

It's Friday as I write this edition, and I'm still replying to comments on a post that got over 21K impressions on X. It was an example of bad copywriting - you know the kind of copy that leaves you scratching your head and tearing out your hair.

Negativity bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events which is why bad first impressions can be so difficult to overcome.

Good copywriting on the other hand is invisible writing

It's effortless to read

It speaks directly to the reader, addressing their needs and aspirations without feeling pushy or insincere.

It takes them to where they need to go and makes it easy for them to make a decision.

Contrastingly, bad copy feels impersonal, generic, or disjointed. Poorly crafted content neither motivates action nor builds trust, resulting in lost chances for interaction or sales.

So here's 5 things you can do - With a few bad examples to show you what not to do

Let's start with an easy one

1. Understand Your Audience

Bad copy doesn’t focus on your reader

This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when writing their copy.

The first rule to writing great copy is to know your audience

But most startups think they need to talk about how great they are, how experienced their team is, and how their product is the best in the market to get a sale.

But depending on where your audience is on their buying journey - they may not be ready to purchase and the only way you'll know where they are is to get to know them.

Invisible copywriting begins with an understanding of your target audience. To resonate with readers, you must first grasp their needs, desires, and pain points.

Conduct customer research: Talk to your customers – Talk to your current customers and find out why they use your product. What’s going on in their lives? How does your product help them? What are they scared of or happy about right now?

Talk to those who decided not to become your customers - This one's a little trickier but vital to know what objections you need to help them overcome.

Spend time where your prospects hang out – Where do they get their information? What's important to them.

Listen to how they describe their problems and the challenges they face.

You'll want to tailor your message to connect on a personal level because when your copy aligns with your audience's mindset, it effortlessly blends into their world, making it effective and less intrusive. If you don't know who your audience is, try using a brand archetype as a jumping-off point. Brand Archetypes to help you read your customers mind

2. Prioritize Clarity Over Cleverness

While clever wordplay and puns have their place in copywriting, Copywriting has only one purpose. To get your reader to take action.

Whether you want them to purchase, sign up or just comment.

Every line of your copy should compel your reader closer to take that next step.

If your writing is vague, or ambiguous, and leaves the reader without clear instructions on where to go next they'll bounce. The goal is not to showcase your linguistic prowess but to convey your message clearly.

Choose words and phrases that are simple, direct, and easily understood. If you have to explain what you mean - then it's not clear.

(The creators had to explain the donut is supposed to be read as 'do not' as in 'do not go further without consent')

3. Develop a Conversational Tone

People are naturally drawn to conversations. Applying a conversational tone to your copy creates a sense of intimacy and connection.

Write as if you're speaking directly to the reader. This will make your copy feel less like a sales pitch and more like a friendly recommendation.

Think of someone you've met at a dinner party. That person who constantly talks about themselves, who clearly isn’t interested in you at all, you know you're just waiting for a break to make that excuse to leave.

Now think of that person who kept your interest. They weren't just talking about themselves, they were really engaged in what you had to say, and told relatable stories.

Which leads me to use your audience's words.

Journalist Shane Snow used the Flesch-Kincaid index (a test that measures the reading level of text by analyzing the number of sentences, words, and syllables) to track the reading level associated with several best sellers.

What he found was that some of the world’s best authors wrote at a middle school (or lower) grade level,

Jane Austen (below 6th grade)

F. Scott Fitzgerald (below 8th grade)

and Ernest Hemingway (above 4th grade).

Even if you consider your audience to have above-average intelligence, people still prefer copy that is easier to read.

A simple hack is to read your copy out loud. If it doesn't feel natural to say then try again. Let's be honest how many of us would say "We transcend beyond a rebel."

4. Emphasize Benefits, Not Features

Invisible copywriting focuses on the value your product or service brings to the customer's life. Instead of bombarding readers with a list of features, emphasize the benefits that address their specific needs. When your copy speaks directly to the positive impact on their lives, it becomes a subtle force driving their decision-making process without overtly pushing a sale. 5. Seamless Integration with Design A harmonious blend of copy and design is crucial for invisibility. Your words should seamlessly integrate with the visual elements, creating a cohesive and immersive experience.

Pay attention to typography, layout, and color schemes to ensure that the copy complements the overall design rather than standing out. When done right, the reader absorbs the message without consciously separating it from the visual context.

Make it scannable

To make your copy more appealing to your audience, it needs to be formatted for readability.

People don’t read websites, they scan them.

Eye-tracking software has shown that users read websites in an F-shaped pattern.

In a study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, researchers analyzed 1.5 million eye-tracking fixations from hundreds of websites and found that people who actually read a website, do so when two usability goals have been met:

Well-structured pages – A clear navigation that lets users quickly jump to the page they need, as well as a clear heading and design elements that affirm that the users are in the right place.

Good page layout – A layout that lets users quickly get to the relevant part of the page, using subheads to summarize the info in each part of the body.

Craft your copy to avoid long blocks of text.

Use clear, compelling headings and subheadings.

Break up your content into 3- or 4-line paragraphs.

Use numbers and bullets to break up lists of information.

Crafting your content with your reader in mind makes your copy easier to read. The most powerful messages are often the least conspicuous and have the power to leave a mark on the reader's mind without them realizing it.

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