When you read, you pick up the mood and tone of the author through his or her use of words, punctuation, and layout. Mood and tone influence the way your readers feel about your copy, and you can easily influence them to take action with the correct tone and mood.
Readers like to be entertained, and they’ll remember your website copy if it’s fun to read. Here are six ways to make your website copy more positive:
Don’t make your readers grab a dictionary.
You need to write to a level all your readers can easily understand. You don’t want to use million dollar words and jargon that readers may not know. Most word processing programs include a readability test that will tell you for what grade level your writing is appropriate. Think about the average education of your audience, and write four to six grade levels below that. For consumer copy, you need to write to a sixth to eighth grade level, assuming your average reader is a high school graduate. If your target market is teachers, write to about a twelfth grade level.
Remember, your audience wants to be entertained and informed, not feel like they’re in a college-level calculus class. Don’t make it hard for them to read your writing. Use jargon and complicated words only when necessary.
Make them laugh and keep it light.
With the right words, you can affect the way people view your writing and even make them smile or laugh. Use some humor and be enthusiastic as you’re writing—it will come out in your website copy. If you can make someone laugh while illustrating a point, he or she will remember it.
No matter which topic you’re writing about, there are times you can use slang, colloquialisms, and upbeat language. If Jessica Mitford could make us laugh about death and embalming, you can make your audience smile about your topic. However, before you start slangifying your website copy, keep your audience in mind and read the next tip.
Don’t offend your readers.
When you’re trying to make your writing optimistic and fun, it’s easy to make the mistake of using words that are entertaining to a few, but offensive to most. Words that are generally understood as bigoted, prejudiced, or sexist might seem funny at the time, but they’re not. Avoid them.
You can’t please everyone.
Not every reader will like or enjoy your writing, and that applies whether you are Joe Blow or Stephen King. Focus your writing to your target audience and make sure they like it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Be upfront with your audience.
Don’t make your readers guess what you’re trying to say or wrap your point in a blanket of secrecy and riddles. Tell them what you want them to know. Overbearing or condescending writing is never appreciated. You may be an expert, but you don’t want or need to come across as pompous or patronizing.
To keep your website copy positive and fun, pick the style of writing that is best for each piece and stick to it. Know what you want your readers to do, and make them happy to do it.
Love what Melody Brooks–our head copywriter–has to say? Have a question or want to see something covered on Copy Doodle? Either leave a comment for her or email her at .
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