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How to write copy when you have little, or nothing, to work with

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An average Joe on the street would shudder at the thought of facing such a task, and if you aren’t blessed with a silver tongue, it’s not half obvious why completing such a job might seem considerably difficult. However, this is something copywriters have to do on a regular basis.

Writing about a topic and making it sound like you are an expert in the field is a valuable skill, and there are a number of rules you can follow to make sure your copy reaches the desired word limit and sounds professional. Here are some things to think about next time you have to write a generic website with little information:

Have a list of generic headings handy

When writing generic copy, it’s very important to structure each page through the use of headings. Not only does this mean you avoid saying the same thing twice, but it also helps the flow of your piece and gives you a point of reference when you’re thinking of what to write.

Headings, and topics, you can keep up your sleeve include ‘Customer orientated’, ‘Our experience’ or ‘Brand-names you can trust’. When you have a long list of headings that you can fall back on, you’ll always have something to say.

Pad your words with descriptions

A great way to make sure your word count reaches its target is to describe situations and the feelings that a potential customer might be experiencing. If you’re writing for a lawyer, you might go into detail about how stressful legal processes can be, or for a plumber, how inconvenient it can be to have a blocked drain. Pointing out how a business can help with problems like these can really paint your client in positive light. Telling stories and describing situations can also work to keep people interested.

Convey the appropriate tone

While you might know very little about the company you’re writing for, you can usually work out their target audience. If it’s a professional company, you’re not going to be taken seriously if you’re using a lot of slang and conveying a ‘good bloke’ vibe. Yet this might work wonders if you’re writing for a trade service. Often, good copywriting is less about what you say (or what information you have at your disposal) than it is about how you say it.

Mix up sentence length and structure

The sad truth is that when you have little information, it’s more than likely you’re not actually going to be saying anything of substance. This means you have to utilise other ways of keeping the readers’ attention. It’s very important that when you’re writing copy (and specifically when you’re writing it with little information), you maintain an easy flow that isn’t repetitive or boring.

If you use a short, punchy sentence, make sure it’s followed by a longer, descriptive one. Avoid beginning too many sentences in the same way or with the same word, and make sure your piece reads fluently. It might seem obvious, but often copywriters can overlook this in an effort to pump out the copy as quickly as possible.

So there you have it; four important things to remember when you’re writing generic copy. Remember that at the end of the day, it’s all about making your writing compelling and engaging regardless of whether you have information or not, so it’s important to always make this the priority.

Dominic Vivarini is a recent graduate who has completed an Art/Commerce degree and an honours in Philosophy degree. He now works at WordCentric.

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