10 copywriting mistakes to avoid as a startup

Hannah Brice Written by
Hannah Brice

If you’re a startup, you’ve probably heard that good copy is pretty important. As Bill Gates famously said, content is king. Although…perhaps a more accurate statement would have been ‘High quality content is king, and it’s easy to slip into the traps that can turn a good idea into an uninspiring piece of drivel that no one’s going to enjoy reading, let alone engage with’.

Not quite as catchy, but it’s true.

If you’re a new startup on the verge of funding, it’s likely you’ll be doing the bulk of copywriting yourself.  But, because even the most experienced copywriters can fall foul of the mistakes above – and many successful companies still struggle to deliver copy that’s consistently on point, it’s wise to be aware of these pitfalls from the offset. Here are 10 copywriting mistakes that are easily made that you would do best to avoid.

1. No Clear Goal

Writing copy for the sake of copy is a big no-no. Make sure you have a reason and an aim for each and every piece you create. This will give you direction and a clear vision as you write.

2. Writing Too Much

Less really is more when it comes to writing copy. If you write too much, your message will be lost. Keep it concise and you’ll come across as competent and assured.

3. Wishy Washy Language

Use language that’s confident and direct, and avoid words like ‘maybe’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘possibly’. You’re an expert in your field and your copy needs to reflect that.

4. Keyword Jamming

Your SEO adviser might have pressed the importance of keywords, and yes, they are important… to an extent. But Google is wise to any attempt to pack loads of keywords in, so don’t overdo it.

5. Inadequate Headings

Both for SEO and for readers who are quickly scanning your page, your headings need to be clear and well-crafted to get the key points of each section across at a glance.

6. Unappealing Formatting

No one wants to be faced with a giant wall of text when they’re browsing the web. Make sure your copy is laid out clearly and attractively. It needs to be as appealing to look at as it is enjoyable to read.

7. Plagiarising

This might seem like an obvious one. It’s fine to find inspiration from other writers, but you’d be surprised how many copywriters steal other people’s words (accidentally or otherwise). Google will penalise you for this, and it’s highly unprofessional, so make sure your work is your own.

8. Not Proofreading

We’re all guilty of it from time to time, but forgetting or running out of time to perform a thorough proofread can undermine all your hard work. If you don’t have time, you could ask a friend or colleague to give your copy a once-over.

9. Missing Your Call to Action

Strong sales copy needs to end by telling your readers what to do next. Whether it’s to find out more, get in touch or leave a comment, your call to action is the cherry on top of the copy cake.

10. Forgetting Your Readers Are Human

Remember that you are writing for real people and not robots. It can be helpful for your first  draft to imagine you’re writing to someone you know: be friendly, engaging and reassuring. Yes, Google’s rankings are important, but at the end of the day it’s your human readership who matters.

Whether you’re writing sales copy, blog posts, marketing emails or web content, do your best to avoid these copywriting mistakes and you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition. Good luck with your business – we’re sure you’ll make it a success!