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min read | Content Marketing

The 7 Deadly Sins of Corporate Copywriting


If you are a brand creating copy (which is probably everyone), it’s important for you to know that just creating copy isn’t enough to attract your ideal clients to your business. In fact, creating content that sounds just like everyone else in your industry could actually be turning away the exact audience you want so desperately to reach!

Using the blah blah boring corporate robot voice in your copy that others in your industry are using is no way to make an impression with your ideal client. Here’s why:

  • It bores your audience.

  • It doesn’t differentiate your brand.

  • Your target audience doesn’t know you’re talking to them.

  • It lacks personality.

  • You wind up talking about yourself.

Instead of defaulting to what you’ve always done, ditch the corporate speak and channel the voice and personality that your ideal clients are attracted to. Online copy, after all, should attract your ideal clients to your business and make it easier for them to decide to buy your product or service.

Online copy is so important, in fact, that the way you write signals to your audience that you really understand who they are and what appeals to them.  If you sound like everyone else, you will lose your audience’s attention. Think about it this way, a sales person sells to people 1:1, but your brand copy sells to hundreds and thousands at one time. Don’t you want to make sure you get it right? If you don’t, you could potentially be losing hundreds and thousands of new clients with poorly crafted content.

Here are the seven deadly sins of corporate copywriting. Avoid them so that you don’t lose potential opportunities:

1. A Corporate Robot Tongue 

This is one of the most effective ways to lose a potential client. Instead of using corporate speak, what words, phrases and style do your clients use? Tap into their style so you can incorporate more of them into your brand’s voice. If you need help in this area, consider sending your clients a simple open-ended survey asking them some questions about who they are and their experience with your product or service. Review their responses closely and incorporate their language into your copy. People trust the opinions of their peers and current users over a corporate mouthpiece. So leverage client testimonials when you can in your copy and use client stories to illustrate a value, benefit or usefulness.

2. A Focus on Features

Hello. I think we all know in our heads that benefits are far more important to highlight in copy than features, but many of us still fail to put it to action. And the highly regulated industries of healthcare and financial services continue to be hog-tied by compliance that make it much more difficult to say anything that could even remotely resemble a promise. That being said, all industries need to find a way to talk benefits. Even compliance can’t say boo about the benefits of your client service or personalized care.

3. The Preoccupation with Self Promotion

Don’t talk about yourself. Let me repeat: Don’t talk about yourself! If your website sounds anything like, “We are the leaders in….” or “Our business is founded on the principles of…..” STOP! I am already bored and so are your ideal clients. It’s not that what you’re saying isn’t important; it’s that everyone is saying it that way and you MUST sound different. Instead, talk about your clients and make them the focus of your copy and what they’re looking for. If you’re too busy promoting, you’re not connecting with your audience.

4. Words That Lack Useful Purpose

Since your copy should be about your ideal clients and not about you, are you providing value? Are you helping to answer a question or solve a problem with your copy? The answer needs to be yes. The more useful your copy, the more time an ideal client will spend with it and the more likely they are to share it with someone else. Usefulness leads to action, so be useful.

5. Long-Windedness

It’s important that your content makes it point as quickly as possible. People just don’t have the attention span to read tons and tons of tedious copy. Craft a killer headline that is specific and telling of the content beneath and then write as quickly as possible to get your main point across. Website content should not be a George R.R. Martin novel. Make it short and sweet.

6. Pages of Monologues & Lectures

Your copy is the opportunity to actually engage your online audience in a conversation with your content. Therefore, wherever you see the pronouns “We” and “Our,” strike them! Replace them with “You” as much as possible. Have a conversation with your target audience through copy, not an uninspired monologue about yourself … to yourself.

7. The Veil of Vagueness

Good content is easy to read, easy to act, and easy to know to whom you are writing for. Great content also always answers, “Why.” For all the brands out there that are scared about getting specific about your target audience, don’t be. Better to clearly identify your ideal client and attract more just like them than risk losing business that’s not a good fit in the first place. Again, make it easy for people to get it and make sure you answer why you instead of someone else? Why now instead of later? Why this product or service over your others?

It’s time all brands ditch the corporate robot and embrace the human. It’s what makes each of us quintessentially unique and leads to some powerful and effective brand copy.