We’ve talked before about what copy is (find out more here) and how it helps to communicate your message, but to recap: “copy” is the term given to the words on the page, or more frequently now, on a screen, and originated in the world of advertising.
Writing good copy means you’re clearly and simply explaining what or who something (or someone) is and what they do. It’s about getting straight to the point and ideally encourages people to choose to do business with you.
It’s not just making sure there are no typos and grammar mistakes, although that aspect is important. Your copy helps people form an opinion of you, and if they visit your website, it’s often the first encounter they have with you. It’s important, then, to make sure your writing is professional.
Being Professional in Your Copy
Being professional with your written words isn’t about being formal or using language you wouldn’t use every day, and it’s definitely not about using industry jargon, which will make your readers feel confused or stupid. It’s about giving people information, not overtly selling and not using bad language – swearing is never appropriate in a business setting. Likewise, don’t use language that people might find offensive.
Being professional in your copy isn’t about using jargon or long words, it’s about clearly communicating your message.
Stick to your subject and give people the facts. If you want to express your opinion, make it clear that’s what you’re doing and be careful that it’s appropriate to do so and in line with your company policy. And bear in mind that on a business website, your readers are mainly looking for facts.
Once you’ve hit publish on a blog, your words can be shared instantly and are permanently on record. Blogs are a fairly informal way of communicating, but you need to be mindful that people may not always interpret your words in the way you intended.
Does Correct use of Language Matter in Copy?
So, why should you want to communicate clearly, make your point concisely and use the correct language? Surely it doesn’t matter now, in the age of text-speak and emoji?
I’d argue that it does. Firstly, it’s showing your readers you respect them and value them giving up their time. They’ve chosen to visit your site, so they deserve to read something well-written that you’ve put some thought into. Plenty of people still think using English properly is important, and will be put off by sloppiness. It would be terrible to lose a potential customer to a competitor because you didn’t correct your mistakes.
Writing doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, and those who write blogs for their business rather than as their business freely admit to finding it terrifying. There’s a lot of information out there on how to get over that fear and how to come up with ideas.
It might be helpful to think of blogging as just another task you have to do to grow your business. Done well and consistently, a blog is a valuable part of your marketing strategy. It’s not a test, and while using English correctly is helpful, you don’t have to be perfect. The aim is to explain what you do and to educate people to make better decisions. Clarity is the what matters most.
In the second post, we’ll look at ways to make your writing more professional.