Being clear is more important than being clever

Good copywriting is hard work – but it’s worth the effort. It’s one of your most critical marketing tools.

What do I mean by ‘good’? Words that convey meaning succinctly, persuasively and, in many cases, entertainingly. Words that make your business stand out from the crowd.

And it’s not about using big words – often it’s about avoiding them, for maximum clarity.

When we’re learning to writing in primary school we’re given sentence examples where we have to replace a ‘plain’ or boring word with a more interesting alternative. But sometimes the plain words still work the best in copywriting.

Take the example below – from the homepage of Dropbox.com, a subscription based service that allows you to store your files online and access them from anywhere if you’re online.

copywriting example

This the key message on their home page, the main selling message ‘above the fold’. It’s a big risk, in a way, using just two copy lines to try and convince you to invest in what is a simple to use but pretty technically oriented service.

Yet it works. It does its job really well. It conveys, in non-technical language, both what the service is, how it works and why you’d want to use it. And it does this job using plain words, like “good” and “stuff”.

Based on experience, I suspect it would have taken a long time, and lots of ‘discussion’ with various ‘stakeholders’, to reach agreement on these simple copy lines. Just because they are so simple.

I’m glad the writer behind them stuck it out, because these copy lines do their marketing job extremely well. It’s a great reminder to keep working at your copy until it’s a clear and persuasive as this example.

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