Tag Archives: copywriting tips

How to beat writer’s block and be a brilliant copywriter

how to beat writer's block

The dreaded writer’s block plagues every copywriter at some point in their life, so it’s natural to experience that sudden panic you forgot ALL the words. Luckily, I’ve successfully banished Blank Screen Betty countless times in my 15-year copywriting career, so I’ve picked up some handy hacks along the way. Here are my tips on how to beat writer’s block and become a brilliant copywriter.

Write anything

This first tip on how to beat writer’s block may sound obvious, but to me, it’s actually the most valuable advice I’ve ever had. 

All too often, freelance copywriters agonise over finding the perfect word or ideal opening paragraph, causing an avalanche of anxiety and self-doubt. The best way to banish this is by writing something, anything! As soon as you’ve overcome that blank Google Doc and got some words down, you have a foundation to work from and the words will flow. 

Maybe you’ll end up replacing everything you wrote in that first draft (a writer I follow on Instagram, Laura Jane Williams, calls the first draft of each book the “trash draft” as it inevitably ends up relegated to the trash can). Perhaps you’ll improve on some of it and it will evolve into your finished edit. Or possibly, you’ll nail it first time when you forget your perfectionism and bang out something in a hurry.

The important thing is to start writing in the first place, as you can edit imperfect text, but you can’t edit a blank screen 😉

Set a timer

When researching copywriting tips, one I often see is to set a timer to beat writer’s block. If you want to get all fancy about it, there are apps, plugins and various other tools you can use to achieve this. Terrifyingly, Squibler’s The Most Dangerous Writing App is a free writing tool that deletes everything you’ve written if you stop typing. You can write in five-minute to one-hour slots, and it’s designed to boost productivity and help copywriters and authors overcome writer’s block.

However, if that’s a little extreme, you can always set a 10-minute timer on your phone and see how much you can get down in that time. Against the clock, you may well produce some of your best copywriting work. Or if nothing else, have a basis to start improving and editing.

Create a framework

For me, large copywriting projects can seem daunting until I break them down into smaller pieces. 

If I’m tasked with producing the content for a website, for example, I will start by typing out titles for each page, then breaking down each page into sections with a header, body copy and call to action. As soon as I see each smaller task, I find it infinitely easier to get started because it suddenly seems far more achievable than a blank page with 25 web pages to create. 

For blog copywriting, you could start by sectioning your blog into headers to build an idea of how you will format the article, and what you will include in each section.

Headers, titles and prompts instantly exterminate the blank page and distract you from any worries about the task in hand, leaving you with a manageable framework to work from.

Cut out distractions

Distractions are a surefire way to turn writer’s block into a wasted afternoon of procrastination, so if they’re threatening your ability to produce brilliant copywriting, it’s time to cut them out.

Lock your mobile phone in a desk drawer, or leave it in another room. Turn off email notifications on your laptop. Switch off the radio or music if it’s making your mind wander. If you’re working from home, find a space where you can ignore the laundry pile or washing up.

Know yourself and what’s likely to distract you. For me, the slightest hint of writer’s block and I’ll look for ways to distract my brain and before I know it, I’m five years deep into a stranger’s Instagram page and no closer to getting my word count off ground zero. 

With minimal distractions, you can clear the clutter in your mind and create a calm mindset to let the words flow.

Walk away

If you’ve tried various ways to beat writer’s block and you’re still staring at a blank page, it’s time to step away from screen!

Taking a break is a brilliant way to recharge and reignite your inspiration, so you can return to your desk brimming with ideas.

Do something productive to boost your self-esteem, rather than wallowing and beating yourself up about it. Go for a walk, call a friend, write a shopping list to plan a delicious meal to look forward to at the end of your copywriting session, or take a bath and pamper yourself a little.

Sometimes, the worst thing you can do for writer’s block is force yourself to sit at your desk feeling guilty and stressed, so stepping back and allowing yourself a break gives you a physical and mental boost.

Try a change of scenery

Staring at the same four walls can drive you crazy if you’re suffering from writer’s block, so don’t feel you have to chain yourself to your desk to produce successful copywriting.

Take your laptop outside, head to a local cafe, snuggle up on the sofa, visit a coworking space or work from your bed if it works for you. A change of scenery can be the perfect antidote to a spell of writer’s block.

Shut down your screens

For some, screens can cause stress and anxiety when trying to beat writer’s block and create interesting content.

If that sounds familiar, shut down your screens and get back to basics. Open up a notebook and try to jot down some initial ideas. Or, close your eyes, get thinking and record some voice notes to inspire your next copywriting project.

Write a plan by hand

Following on from the previous tip, writing a plan of action relating to your copywriting project can be an excellent way to get your writing session off the ground.

Scribbling thoughts, headers, ideas and tasks down by hand can feel more satisfying than typing, so mentally it can put you in a productive mindset to get you started.

A good old-fashioned spider diagram can help you organise your thoughts and form the foundation of your copywriting project, giving you something to refer back to for inspiration as you go along. 

Brainstorm, mindmap, thoughtshower… whatever you call it, get something down on paper and watch the content start flowing onto your screen. 

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you banish writer’s block the next time it comes lurking, and produce some brilliant freelance copywriting for your next project. 

If you can’t find the time or inclination to overcome your writer’s block, you can pass your project over to a freelance copywriter. I’d be happy to help with your content writing needs – drop me a line on hello@jameso73.sg-host.com and let’s chat.

10 awesome website copywriting tips 

website copywriting tips

Whether you’re a seasoned copywriter or a copywriting novice charged with creating web content for your company site, certain website copywriting tips benefit everyone.

Trying your hand at writing web content is something I’d encourage everyone to do. But, I would urge you to take expert advice to avoid some common mistakes before you give it a whirl.

Why do I need website copywriting tips?

Getting the right content on your website could be the difference between your customers converting and deserting. If they’re on your website, they’re interested in what you’re selling. So don’t lose them to bad web copy.

Even if your web design and graphics look spot on, expert website copywriting tips will avoid users switching off and your bounce rate shooting up. 

You’ve invested time, money, and effort to get someone onto your website. Maybe you ran Google Ads, posted on social media, set up paid social campaigns, worked on getting good backlinks or paid someone for lead generation.  

After all that hard work, it’s a waste to lose them once they’ve finally landed on your website. But words are powerful, and their power means they can instantly turn someone off your brand or business before they go any further along your funnel. 

Good website copywriting tips make your content simple, powerful and effective. 

1. Write simply

One of my major website copywriting tips is to keep it simple, no matter how much you know about your own industry.

Steer clear from jargon, don’t use business buzzwords and avoid anything too technical.

Even if you’re writing for a technical audience, most businesses want to keep web content straightforward.

Your website is an introduction to your business, and while certain pages can go into detail, many web pages are an overview of your product or service. 

2. Optimise your web content 

Optimising your website copywriting for search engines used to be a case of typing your keywords a few times and hoping for the best. Now, it’s much more complex than that, but SEO doesn’t have to be stressful.

If you’re putting your content directly onto the back end of your website, install or use an SEO plugin, like Yoast or SEOmatic. Use this to adapt your web copy to meet its requirements. This will make your website copywriting more readable and enable more web users to find your site.

However, if you’re not techy enough to add content to the website yourself, you can still optimise it before it gets to this stage. There are plenty of free SEO tools, like Content SEO Checker. These can prime your website copywriting for success, so make the most of them!

3. Write in the active, not passive

Anyone who uses SEO software when writing web copy will know how much the passive voice is despised (and yes, I wrote that in the passive voice, because I’m a rebel).

Here’s the difference between a sentence in the active voice and passive voice:

  • Example of writing in the active voice: Ali writes awesome website copy
  • Example of writing in the passive voice: Awesome website copy is written by Ali

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with writing in the passive voice, it’s generally considered better writing practice to use the active voice wherever possible. 

Plus, as your goal is always to keep your writing simple and accessible, the active voice makes your sentences shorter. 

However, don’t get too tied up with this, as it’s natural for the passive voice to occur in writing, so don’t feel like it’s totally banned. The best idea is to keep it in mind, swap it for the active voice where possible and minimise the passive if you can. 

4. Avoid being a Blank Screen Betty

If you’re new to writing web copy, nothing can be more daunting than a blank page and an entire website to write. So, if you need website copywriting tips to banish Blank Screen Betty for good, read on. 

First, forget spelling, grammar, word counts, H1s, site maps, and anything else stressing you out. 

Set yourself a timer for 10 minutes, then write whatever comes to mind on your required topic. This may be an intro, an about us page, a random product or service page or even a blog post.

At this stage, all that matters is kick-starting your creativity and developing your confidence and momentum as a writer.

As soon as you’ve got something down, it’s much easier to keep going, as you have a tone, structure and style to maintain and build upon.

Hopefully, after ten minutes you’ll have a firm foundation for one of your web pages, or possibly even a completed page of website content (if your 10-minute blast was uber productive).

You can repeat this process as many times as you need to if you’re struggling with writers’ block. However, once may be enough for you to get off to a flying start. 

5. Don’t use words you don’t understand

The lure of the Thesaurus is tempting for every in-house, agency, or freelance copywriter, but it’s smart to use restraint. 

Nobody wants to wind up with the web copy equivalent of Joey Tribbiani’s adoption reference, signed Baby Kangaroo Tribbiani and written from the bottom of his full-sized aortic pumps.

Using a Thesaurus for website copywriting inspiration is fine, as long as you don’t plump for a synonym you don’t actually understand. When you do this, you’re risking your web content losing all meaning or becoming far too flowery (I’ve documented my thoughts on purple prose already).

By all means, find an alternative for the word you’ve overused throughout your web content. This will make it more enjoyable to read – as long as it makes sense.

But always exercise caution in using the Thesaurus, as it’s every website copywriter’s number one frenemy.

Simplicity is key, so if you can swap a long word for a shorter one, always do.

6. Don’t make it all about you

One major mistake many businesses make in doing their own website copywriting is to make it all about them.

I encourage anyone to try writing their own web copy. However, always focus on your target customer and check back in with yourself to make sure everything you write applies to them. 

Your company’s long and prestigious history is great, but unfortunately, all your customers really care about is what your product or service can do for them. And that’s what’s important in writing good web content.

Focus each of your web pages on benefits, rather than features. Shout about how you can solve your customers’ problems and offer solutions to make their lives easier.

This doesn’t mean you can’t say anything about your business, because your customer needs to know who you are, what you do and why you’re the best company to do it for them. However, make sure you find a make it interesting or important to them, rather than leaving them asking “so what?”

7. Write in the right tone

Finding or maintaining the right tone for your business’s web content is an important step in your journey towards exceptional website copywriting.

If your business has a well-established style and tone of voice, use it throughout your web copy. This will make your entire website flow, and appeal to your target audience.

If your business doesn’t have an established tone of voice, it’s time to establish one!

To find the right tone of voice for your business, consider your target customer. Who are they? How do they speak? Which words would this person use regularly? And which words are they unlikely to say or understand?

With your target customer in mind, craft your website copywriting to fit the person you want to read it. Maybe that’s corporate, friendly, casual, humorous, or strictly professional. However, once you’ve found a tone that suits your brand, writing web copy will be an easier and much more seamless process.

8. Be honest and direct

This sounds simple, but many businesses produce web copy that skirts around a subject, leaving the visitor more confused than conversion-ready.

Speaking honestly about what you can offer customers is the best way to reach your target customer successfully. 

Being direct doesn’t come naturally to everyone when taking on website copywriting, as it’s tempting to waffle to fill the space. However, your customers will thank you for getting straight to the point – nobody wants to read pages and pages of vague corporate speak.

Be upfront about what you do, how you do it, how much you charge, and what your customers can expect from your products or services. Because if they don’t glean all of that from your landing page, they’ll bounce off to your competitor’s site.

9. Write with authority

When we’re browsing the internet for a certain product or service, we’re looking for an expert to provide it to us. So, your website should reassure visitors you’re the specialist in your chosen subject.

Write with authority about the products or services you offer, and back up your claims with facts, stats, and evidence to earn web visitors’ trust and respect.

Use those valuable seconds when a visitor first lands on your website to show why yours is the right business to help them, using strong, simple language and fact-based proof. 

10. Get your web copy checked 

As a firm pedant, checking your work will always be one of my top website copywriting tips. However, I would always advise leaving this until last. Otherwise, this can disturb your flow and batter your confidence as a copywriter.

Once you’ve completed your website copywriting, run it through a spelling and grammar check and give it a good old read yourself for any errors. Then read it aloud to avoid skimming over errors without spotting them. 

Mistakes are notoriously hard to spot when you’ve written your own web content. Ask a friend, colleague or freelance copywriter to cast an eye over your work – it’s always an excellent move.

After all your hard work writing your own web content, the last thing you want is for an easily avoidable error to crop up and make your business look unprofessional. 

I hope these website copywriting tips prove useful for you when producing your own web content. If you’re considering it, just go for it. With a little research and consideration, you can produce powerful content to enlighten, educate and convert visitors to your website.

Good luck!