When you’re creating copy, choosing the right words to describe the product or service you’re writing about is an instinctive process. Quite often, I pick a word because it feels right, because it describes what I’m portraying more exactly than a similar word.
It’s like being a painter wielding a paintbrush. Each word has its own subtle shade and my role is to choose the appropriate one. For example, I could describe someone as being angry, but the person’s annoyance may not be as great as that. Using words such as ‘vexed,’ ‘irritated’ or ‘irked’ to describe their anger may be more accurate.
As a copywriter, you become reliant on certain words which act as linchpins in your copy. Sometimes, this can be a good thing, as it means you’ve pinpointed the words that are most effective. But other times, the words can become a crutch and turn your copy into clichéd mush.
I’ve put together a list of do and don’t words for copywriters, compiled on the strength of my own experience. Hope it helps you create dazzling, dynamic copy.
Showcase – a more elegant alternative to ‘demonstrate,’ implies that you’re giving customers a flavour of the best your business has to offer.
You – addressing your customer directly strikes a friendly tone and makes them feel connected to you.
Sparkle – indicates dynamism, adds a hint of glamour.
Essential – shows that your product or service isn’t just important, it’s indispensible to your clients.
Enable – indicates that your product or service gives your clients the power to act for themselves.
And – adds too much bulk to a sentence, using a comma as replacement improves the flow of the sentence.
Get – an overused word. Reach for more elegant alternatives such as ‘obtain’ or ‘gain.’
Have – again a clichéd, lazy option. Go for more action-oriented words such as ‘attain’ or ‘achieve’.
Not – even when used in a positive context, as in ‘not wrong,’ it’ll create negative connotations in the minds of potential customers.
Thing – not specific enough. If you know your product or service inside out, so you should be able to find the exact word you need to describe it.