Clarity is an essential ingredient to successful copy. Whether either writing a website, an ad, brochure, blog, email, direct mail or a press release don’t use unnecessary words or ones ‘a foot and a half long’.* Avoid jargon, metaphors, business-speak and other figures of speech. Write as if you are having a one-to-one conversation. If your audience is familiar with acronyms and industry specific language use them sparingly.
*Sesquipedalian verba- Horace Arts Poetica
Respect your audiences
Never insult, harangue, preach or talk down to your readers. There are times when long copy is needed to communicate a complex message. The late David Abbott wrote superbly crafted ads for Volvo cars back in the noughties that were an object lesson in treating the target audience as equals; these ads oozed a wry charm which engaged the reader in a conversational style. Avoid getting carried away by the fluency of your prose. Remember, time-short -readers skip paragraphs and often only absorb the sub-heads. This is particularly true of website copy. Never try to be too clever or patronising – nobody likes smugness.