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17 tips for great copywriting

1) Write with your eraser

You get 100 bucks for every word you rub out from your title:

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2) Don't exaggerate

An honest line always feels warmer:

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3) No one cares what you can do

Everyone cares what you can do for them.

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4) Avoid the passive voice

It's indirect and awkward:

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5) Don't kill your personality

The best brands feel “real”:

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6) Avoid “landing page words”

Unlock, unleash, enhance, empower, supercharge, etc.

Real people don't use them.

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7) Find the tension

“Pleasant” gets forgotten. Conflict creates interest:

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8) Write how you talk

Casual. Colloquial. Full of pronouns:

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9) Avoid “contained” titles

Write something that pulls your reader down your page:

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10) Write scannable copy

Formatting matters:

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11) Kill adverbs. Kill adjectives.

They're flowery. They're vague. They try too hard:

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12) Stories make you memorable

I couldn't list The Ten Commandments. I could tell you what happened to Adam and Eve:

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13) More periods, fewer commas.

Periods mean short sentences. We like short sentences.

Commas mean long, painful sentences, like this one, which New Yorker writers think are clever, but real people find torturous, because they wind on and on without actually saying anything.

14) Think slippery slide

Every line of copy should lead to the next. Watch this ad. You won't be able to stop (click the image)

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15) Fence sitters don't buy

Go to the edge:

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16) Your first line is crucial

If people don’t read it, they’re not going to read your second line either.

Keep it short:

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17) Copywriting is selling

Don’t romanticize it. The goal isn't to be clever or cute. The goal is to inspire action:

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You made it! Damn. This was a long one.

If you enjoyed this, you might like my marketing newsletter. I write a weekly email full of real world examples like this!

  1. 12

    This is so good I made sure that it was bookmarked properly.

    1. 1

      Haha! Glad you found it useful Filipp :)

  2. 3

    Awesome job! Just found this in my email as well! :) Worth subscribing 100%

    1. 1

      Cheers Lukas. Glad you enjoyed it

  3. 2

    Harry this is the second time I'm reading this, I can relate to 8 and 12.
    I'm not a copywriter so by default I can only write the way I speak and I can only write about my story because it's always what I like to know when listening to How I built this or reading startup stories.
    Is 17 a copywriting hack or did you just have 17 tips?
    I think I read somewhere that courses sell better when there's a seven in the price :D

    1. 2

      Haha! Sounds good Nadia. Writing how you speak is the way forward.

      Regards to 17. I think odd numbers work better than even number. If someone does 10 of something it's obvious they were just trying to bump it up to 10. So they fill it out.

  4. 2

    Just tried. I think it works (at least helped me reduce the strain to get out something "good enough"). ✌️

  5. 2

    Wow, particularly love tips 1 and 3!

  6. 2

    Awesome! Saw it on Twitter early too and I bookmarked it

  7. 2

    This is BRILLIANT. Thank you for sharing!

    1. 2

      Pleasure. Thanks Emelie.

  8. 2

    Very good explanation of copywriting! Nice job

  9. 2

    Thanks Harry. Great post, as always!

    1. 1

      Cheers Leo. Appreciated

  10. 2

    I think I have made all of these mistakes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. 3

      Cheers Todd. I still make them!

      And I also think, learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

      • A brand with character can pull off adjectives on their landing page.
      • “Contained” titles can definitely work as well

      just heuristics :)

  11. 1

    Great one, thanks for sharing!

  12. 1

    Great tips! Need this on a poster in front of my desk so I don't forget any of these tips while I'm editing.

  13. 1

    I love this! Want to see more.

  14. 1

    Holy crap this is good! Thank's for sharing!

  15. 1

    Awesome stuff Harry. Subscribed to your newsletter :-).

    1. 1

      Awesome - cheers Ashok :)

  16. 1

    What a great content! I always love it.

  17. 1

    Great. I retweeted this :)

  18. 1

    Thank you, Harry Dry

  19. 1

    These are some amazing tips @harrydry. Especially for those of us in the process of creating MVPs and landing pages. Much appreciated my man.

    1. 1

      pleasure Gordon! Good luck

  20. 1

    Incredibly helpful post as always, Harry! Definitely guilty of a lot of these...

  21. 1

    Good job Harry. These are great. I erased Trello's down to "Collaborate" so someone owes me $400.

    1. 2

      hahaha! money in the post

  22. 1

    Wow so much value in one piece. Thanks a lot

  23. 1

    @harrydry I swear anyone about to launch a new venture must read your marketing examples FIRST.

    1. 1

      Haha. Cheers Troy!

      Maybe one day they'll make it on the IH'ers Start Page 😂

  24. 1

    Bookmarked. Thanks for sharing

  25. 1

    Harry is really putting out quality on the reg. Straight to the point with no waffle.

    But short sentences? Like this? Not a fan. Maybe that's just me.

    I think they get annoying if they're overused, maybe it's the LinkedIn show offs that have ruined it.

    5am. Wake up and yoga.
    6am. Coffee and pilates. Today's the day.
    etc.

    Urgh

    1. 1

      Cheers Jon! Marketing would be boring if everyone agreed. I think you've got a point.

      And agree it goes in cycles. Have you read Gary Provost on sentence length. Tis really good

  26. 1

    Marketing Examples is a must-have .. top-notch content every time. Thanks for creating it @harrydry

    1. 1

      Thanks Saijo! Thoroughly appreciated Sir.

  27. 1

    Wow! This is really good content

  28. 1

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

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