10 Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid

March 12, 2023
March 12, 2023 Mark Acornley

Are you tired of writing copy that sounds like it was written by a robot?

Do you want to captivate your audience with witty, engaging, and humorous content?

Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to talk about copywriting – the art of using words to persuade, inform, and entertain.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is copywriting?

Simply put, copywriting is the act of writing text that is used to sell or promote a product, service, or idea.

It’s the words you see on websites, in ads, on billboards, and in emails that make you want to buy something or take action. But copywriting is more than just selling.

It’s about connecting with your audience, telling a story, and creating a relationship. Great copywriting is like a conversation between two friends. It’s relatable, engaging, and entertaining.

That’s why good copywriting is so important.

It can make or break a business. If you want to stand out in a crowded market, you need to have a copy that speaks to your audience and makes them want to take action.

Whether you’re selling a product, promoting a service, or just trying to get people to sign up for your newsletter, great copywriting can help you achieve your goals.

Think about it – when was the last time you made a purchase solely based on a product’s features?

More often than not, it’s the benefits that drive us to buy. And it’s copywriting that conveys those benefits in a way that speaks to our emotions and makes us feel good about our decision to buy.

But here’s the thing – writing good copy is hard.

It takes time, practice, and a lot of trial and error. That’s why so many businesses struggle with copywriting. They either don’t have the time, resources, or skills to create great copy and think it’s too expensive to outsource.

So, how do you get started?

Well, the first step is to understand your audience.

  • Who are you writing for?
  • What do they care about?
  • What motivates them to take action?

Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, you can start crafting copy that speaks directly to their needs and desires.

But let’s be real – writing copy can be boring. We’re going to talk about the most common copywriting mistakes that businesses make and how to avoid them.

Not Having a Clear Value Proposition

Having a clear value proposition is important in copywriting.

A value proposition is a statement that describes the unique benefit that your product or service provides to your customers.

It helps differentiate you from the competition and build trust with your audience.

Without a clear value proposition, your audience won’t know why they should choose you over others.

It’s like a menu with pages and pages of options but no clear description of what they are or why they’re worth ordering.

A value proposition is the answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” that your audience is asking.

So, how do you craft a clear value proposition? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Focus on the benefits, not the features: Your audience doesn’t care about the nitty-gritty details of your product or service they care about how it can make their life better. Instead of listing out features, focus on the benefits that your product or service provides.
  • Be specific: Don’t be vague in your value proposition – be specific about what you offer and how it’s different from the competition. Use specific numbers, statistics, or examples to back up your claims.
  • Keep it concise: Your value proposition should be short and to the point. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information – just give them the most important details.
  • Make it customer-centric: Your value proposition should be focused on your customer, not your business. Use language that speaks directly to their needs and concerns.

For example, let’s say you’re a pet store selling high-quality dog food. A bad value proposition might be “We sell dog food.” It’s not specific, it doesn’t focus on benefits, and it’s not customer-centric.

A better value proposition might be “Our high-quality dog food keeps your furry friend healthy and happy, so you can spend more time playing and less time at the vet.” It’s specific, focused on benefits, and customer-centric.

Not having a clear value proposition is a common copywriting mistake that can lead to confusion and low conversions.

Failing to Identify the Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is crucial in copywriting as it allows you to create copy that speaks directly to the needs and desires of your potential customers.

Your target audience comprises the group of people who are most likely to benefit from what you have to offer and is most likely to buy your product or service.

Knowing who they are and what they want is necessary to create copy that resonates with them. Not identifying your target audience can lead to ineffective marketing campaigns and low conversions.

It is therefore essential to understand who your target audience is by looking at your existing customer base, using tools like Google Analytics to gain insight into your website visitors and analysing your social media followers and engagement.

By understanding your target audience’s pain points, desires, and motivations, you can create copy that speaks directly to them and addresses their specific needs, ultimately driving more sales and growing your business.

Overcomplicating Your Writing

Listen, we get it – you’re smart.

You’ve got a vast vocabulary and a thesaurus at the ready, and you’re not afraid to use them. But here’s the thing – your audience doesn’t care how smart you are. They just want to understand what you’re saying.

Using overly complex language is a common copywriting mistake that can turn off your audience and lead to low engagement.

When your writing is too complicated, it can be difficult to understand and may even come across as pretentious. Plus, it can make your audience feel dumb, and nobody wants that.

That’s why it’s always better to keep things simple. When you use clear and concise language, you make it easier for your audience to understand what you’re saying. This can help build trust and rapport with your audience, and may even lead to higher conversions.

So, how do you write clear and concise copy? Here are a few tips:

  • Use short sentences: Long, convoluted sentences can be difficult to follow. Stick to short, simple
  • sentences that get your point across.
  • Avoid jargon: Unless you’re writing for a very specific audience that’s familiar with the jargon, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Jargon can be confusing and may turn off your audience.
  • Write in the active voice: Writing in the passive voice can make your writing sound vague and confusing. Stick to the active voice to make your writing more clear and more concise.
  • Cut the fluff: Take a hard look at your writing and cut out any unnecessary words or phrases. Get to the point and keep it simple.

Overcomplicating your writing is a common copywriting mistake that can turn off your audience and lead to low engagement.

By using clear and concise language, avoiding jargon, writing in an active voice, and cutting the fluff, you can make your writing more accessible and engaging for your audience.

Being Too Salesy

Nobody likes a pushy salesperson.

You know the type – the ones who won’t take no for an answer and just keep pushing their product or service on you until you finally give in out of sheer exhaustion.

Being too “sales” is a common copywriting mistake that can turn off your audience and lead to low engagement. But what does it mean to be “sales,” exactly?

Essentially, it means that your writing is too focused on making a sale, and not focused enough on providing value to your audience.

So, how do you avoid sounding too pushy in your writing? Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on the benefits: Instead of just listing the features of your product or service, focus on the benefits that your audience will receive. How will your product or service make their life easier, better, or more enjoyable?
  • Use storytelling: People love stories, and they can be a great way to showcase the value of your product or service more naturally. Use real-life examples or customer stories to illustrate how your product or service has helped others.
  • Be helpful: Ultimately, your audience wants to know that you’re there to help them, not just sell to them. Provide helpful information and resources that are relevant to your audience, even if they don’t directly relate to your product or service.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to strike a balance between promotion and helpfulness in your writing.

While it’s important to promote your product or service, you don’t want to come across as too self-promotional. Instead, aim to provide value to your audience in every piece of writing you create.

This can help build trust and credibility with your audience, which can ultimately lead to higher conversions.

Failing to Create a Sense of Urgency

We’ve all procrastinated at some point in our lives.

Whether it’s putting off a project until the last minute or waiting until the deadline to make a purchase, we’ve all been guilty of not taking action when we should have.

Creating a sense of urgency in your copy can be a powerful way to motivate your audience to take action.

But what exactly is a sense of urgency?

Essentially, it’s the feeling that time is running out, and that action must be taken quickly to avoid missing out on something important.

So why is creating a sense of urgency so important in copywriting? For one, it can help increase conversions and sales.

When your audience feels a sense of urgency, they’re more likely to take action and make a purchase.

Additionally, it can help build credibility and trust with your audience.

So, how do you create a sense of urgency in your copy? Here are a few tips:

  • Use time-based language: Use phrases like “limited time offer” or “only a few left” to create a sense of scarcity and urgency.
  • Highlight the consequences of inaction: Let your audience know what they stand to lose if they don’t act quickly. For example, if you’re promoting a sale, let them know that prices will go up after a certain date.
  • Provide a clear call to action: Make it easy for your audience to take action by providing a clear and compelling call to action. Use action-oriented language and make it clear what steps they need to take advantage of the offer.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to be genuine and honest in your approach to creating urgency.

Don’t use false scarcity or urgency tactics to try and manipulate your audience – this will only erode trust and credibility in the long run.

Not Focusing on Benefits

As a copywriter, it’s easy to get caught up in the features of a product or service.

After all, you want to showcase all the amazing things it can do, right? But here’s the thing – your audience doesn’t care about features.

What they care about are the benefits – the things that will make their lives better, easier, or more enjoyable.

So what’s the difference between features and benefits?

Features are the specific attributes of a product or service – for example, the size, colour, or several functions.

Benefits, on the other hand, are the positive outcomes that those features provide – for example, convenience, comfort, or time savings.

Focusing on benefits in your copy is crucial because it’s what will ultimately convince your audience to take action.

People buy things because they believe they will improve their lives in some way, not because they’re impressed by a laundry list of features.

So, how do you highlight benefits in your copy? Here are a few tips:

  • Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: Think about what’s important to them and how your product or service can help them achieve their goals or solve their problems.
  • Use emotional language: People make purchasing decisions based on emotion, so use language that will appeal to their feelings and desires.
  • Use real-world examples: Show your audience how your product or service has helped other people in similar situations. This can be done through case studies, testimonials, or social proof.
  • Focus on outcomes, not features: Instead of listing off features, focus on the outcomes that those features provide. For example, instead of saying “Our product has 10 different functions,” say “Our product can help you save time and be more productive.”

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, use emotional language, use real-world examples, and focus on outcomes rather than features.

By doing so, you’ll be able to create copy that resonates with your audience and ultimately drives more conversions and sales.

Ignoring the Power of Storytelling

Once upon a time, there was a copywriter who didn’t believe in the power of storytelling.

They thought that simply listing the features and benefits of a product was enough to convince their audience to buy.

But little did they know, they were missing out on a powerful tool for capturing their audience’s attention and making an emotional connection.

The impact of storytelling on your audience is undeniable.

Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years – it’s how we make sense of the world around us and connect with others.

When you incorporate storytelling into your copy, you create a narrative that your audience can relate to and become emotionally invested in.

Why should you incorporate storytelling into your copy? For one, it helps you stand out in a sea of generic, boring copy. A good story can capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged from start to finish.

Additionally, storytelling allows you to create a deeper emotional connection with your audience.

By weaving a narrative that speaks to their pain points or aspirations, you can make your product or service more relatable and desirable.

So how do you use storytelling in your copy? Here are a few tips:

  • Start with a hook: Just like a good book or movie, your copy should start with a hook that draws your audience in. This could be a personal anecdote, a surprising statistic, or a provocative question.
  • Show, don’t tell: Instead of just telling your audience how great your product or service is, show them through a story. Paint a picture of how your product has helped someone overcome a challenge or achieve a goal.
  • Use relatable characters: The characters in your story should be relatable to your audience. This could be a persona that represents your ideal customer, or a real-life customer that you’ve helped in the past.
  • Use emotion: Storytelling is all about evoking emotion. Use language that speaks to your audience’s desires, fears, or pain points.

Ignoring the power of storytelling in your copy is a mistake.

Incorporating storytelling can help you capture your audience’s attention, create a deeper emotional connection, and make your product or service more relatable and desirable.

And remember to start with an epic hook, use relatable characters, and evoke emotion. By doing so, you’ll be able to create copy that resonates with your audience and ultimately drives more conversions and sales.

Using Clichés and Jargon

We’ve all heard them before: “Think outside the box,” “game-changing,” and “synergy.”

These are just a few examples of clichés and jargon that have been beaten to death in the world of copywriting.  While they may seem like an easy way to convey a message, using these tired phrases can hurt your copy’s effectiveness.

Clichés and jargon can be tempting to use – after all, they’re familiar, and they can be an easy way to convey a message.

However, they can also be a major turnoff for readers. Overuse of clichés and jargon can make your copy seem stale, unoriginal, and insincere. It can also make it harder for readers to understand what you’re trying to say.

If you want to stand out from the competition and capture your readers’ attention, you need to break away from the mould.

One of the most important things you can do in your copy is to be original. Your readers want to hear something fresh, something they haven’t heard before.

They want to be engaged and excited by your copy, and clichés and jargon won’t do that. By using original language and ideas, you’ll be able to capture your readers’ attention and keep them interested.

Tips for Avoiding Clichés and Jargon:

So how can you break away from the mould and create an original copy? Here are some tips:

  • Know your audience: Understanding your target audience can help you create copy that resonates with them. If you know their pain points, interests, and goals, you can create copy that speaks directly to them.
  • Keep it simple: Instead of relying on clichés and jargon, use clear, simple language. Focus on communicating your message in a way that’s easy to understand.
  • Use metaphors and analogies: Metaphors and analogies are a great way to convey a message in a fresh, original way. By comparing your product or service to something unexpected, you can create a memorable impression on your reader.
  • Get creative with formatting: Sometimes, the way you present your copy can be just as important as the words themselves. Experiment with different formatting options to create a visually engaging experience for your reader.

Using clichés and jargon can be tempting, but it can also hurt your copy’s effectiveness.

By focusing on originality, simplicity, and creativity, you can create copy that engages your reader and stands out from the competition.

So next time you sit down to write copy, remember: to break the mould and be original!

Neglecting the Importance of Formatting

Before you even start reading a piece of content, you’re already making judgments about it based on how it looks.

Is it cluttered and hard to read? Is it visually appealing and easy to digest?

As a copywriter, you need to ensure that your content not only reads well but looks good too.

Formatting refers to how you structure and presents your content. This includes things like headings, subheadings, bullet points, and spacing.

Good formatting can make your content easier to read, understand, and remember. It can also help to break up long blocks of text and make your content look more visually appealing.

Why formatting can make or break your copy:

Formatting can be the difference between a reader staying on your page or clicking away. If your content is hard to read or visually unappealing, readers are likely to bounce off your page and look elsewhere.

On the other hand, if your content is well-formatted, readers are more likely to stay engaged and continue reading.

Tips for formatting your copy effectively:

  • Use headings and subheadings: Headings and subheadings break up your content into sections, making it easier to skim and understand. Use descriptive headings and subheadings that accurately reflect the content of each section.
  • Use bullet points: Bullet points are a great way to present information in a clear, concise manner. Use them to highlight key points or to break up long paragraphs.
  • Use short paragraphs: Long blocks of text can be intimidating to readers. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point.
  • Use white space: White space refers to the space around your content. Using white space can help to make your content look less cluttered and more visually appealing.
  • Use a legible font: Your font choice can have a big impact on how easy your content is to read. Choose a legible font that is easy on the eyes.
  • Use bold and italic text: Bold and italic text can be used to highlight key points or to draw attention to important information.

Formatting might not be the most exciting part of copywriting, but it’s an important one. Good formatting can help to make your content easier to read, understand, and remember.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your content looks just as good as it reads three to four sentences long. Shorter paragraphs are easier to read and understand.


As a copywriter, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the big picture.

But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to connect with your audience and make them care. So, go forth and write copy that’s not only effective but also entertaining!

And remember, if all else fails, just add a funny cat meme. Works every time.

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