A Recipe for Great Web Copy (and the Best Damn Mai Tai)

By Casper Nielsen
Junior casual text juggler at Frankly (and also hobby mixologist)

Here’s what I’ve learned after three years of being a copywriter.

Regardless of what is being said, copy is alive and well. Especially copy that establishes trust and builds relationships. Copy that gets people to talk and share. And buy.

Good copy is still making a difference across the web and one of best investments marketers can make.

What’s even better yet, you don’t have to be an elite literate to become a skilled web copywriter. There’s no need to go all Hemingway or Faulkner on your pen and paper to create great copy. Copywriting and fiction writing are two very different crafts. There’s no room for fancy long-form poetry and crazy metaphors in copywriting. Au contraire.

Great copy is plain and easy-to-understand. Because writing copy is first and foremost about driving the readers to take some form of action. Normally to buy a product or subscribe to a service. If a text is not easily digestible, readers won’t bite.

And oh my, creating clever and engaging copy is a tough nut to crack. And I suspect that the art and science of copywriting still poses great challenges to even the most seasoned pros.

I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

“…the right ingredients – and lots of time and effort – are of the essence in effective copywriting.”

The 9 ingredients for reader-friendly copy

Note this: Any aspiring copywriter are able to make toasty word treats readers will love to sink their attention into.

Like prepping a great meal or mixing a yummy cocktail, the right ingredients – and lots of time and effort – are of the essence in effective copywriting.

Admitted, I’m by no means an expert in the field, but I have picked up a few useful components I tend to lean on in my writing. And I’ll gladly share them with you. Because sharing is caring.

1: Do your research.
A great deal of a writing process is the preliminary research. Especially if it’s a topic you know nothing about. It’s just easier to write, when you know what you’re talking about.

2: Be clear.
Copy isn’t about fine prose, it’s about getting the message across. So, if you’re using words ordinary people have to look up in the dictionary, you’ll lose a lot of the readers before they ever get to the point.

3: Make Conversation.
Copy should be written in a friendly, conversational voice. It should make the reader feel valued, welcomed and clever. Not like an alien.

4: Remember the headline.
Creating an attention-grabbing headline is the most important part of writing. This can’t be stressed enough.

5: Remember the subheading.
The headline might be the attention grabber, but the subheading has the power to reel the reader in. So, don’t neglect it.

6: Be respectful.
Copy is writing that sells, so obviously, it has to be compelling. Put the readers in the spotlight and focus on the problem you are going to solve for them. But cut the BS. It’s about writing persuasive copy, not about getting the reader to “fall for” your copy with loud and overtly sales-y words.

7: Make it scannable.
Choose your words carefully. You’ve only got about 7 seconds to make a good impression, so cut out the waffle and unnecessary chitchat. Less is more. Use short sentences and bullets to make copy that is easy to scan.

8: Dare to be cheeky.
Be different. Be bold. There are about a billion other marketers out there chasing your prospects. By going down a different road, you’ll have a better opportunity to get their attention.

9: Befriend Google.
If you want to be noticed online, Google is your ally. Beware the mythical creature that is SEO and watch your word count. Google likes original copy – not too long, not too short.

Sure, ingredients themselves don’t make perfect. They are NOT cheat codes. It’s crucial to carefully dose, mix and match – and off course practice – to create a satisfying dish. Feel free to add other ingredients for that personal touch. Once you’ve put in the time and effort and identified your unique style and voice, readers will snack on your copy like hyenas over a fresh kill.

Oh, and what about that Mai Tai?

Here’s what I believe to be the best classic Mai Tai.

Ingredients:

1 oz. Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum
1 oz. Veritas White Blended Rum
1 oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice
2/3 oz. Dry Curacao
1/2 oz. Orgeat almond syrup
1/2 oz. Simple syrup

Mix all ingredients in a shaker (or and old marmalade jar) with lots of ice, shake for 10-15 seconds, pour content into a glass with crushed ice and add garnish to make the cocktail look smashing.

And there you have it, the greatest Mai Tai you’ll ever come by.