Copywriting Basics — Use Simple Words

Copywriting Basics ─ Use Simple Words


One of the first rules of copywriting is to keep it simple. When copywriting for any format you need to keep in mind that people don’t like reading long or complicated copy.


Have you ever looked at a brochure, website or letter with too much text? Most likely, you put it down without reading it. Poor copywriting is to blame. You’ve probably received eight-page sales letters in the mail or been on a website where you have to continue scrolling to get through it. With so much information out there, it’s easy to stop reading when the copy is so lengthy.


Simple and Effective Copywriting Requires Time and Effort


When copywriting, it takes time and effort to put more effort to produce simple and effective copy. Mark Twain summarised this well when he wrote, “I am sorry this is such a long letter, but I did not have the time to write a short one.” He wasn’t referring to copywriting per se, but his statement still applies.


A basic copywriting tip – use simple words


One of the most basic tips to reduce the length of your copywriting is to use simple words. Copywriting that includes simple words takes up less space and is easier to read.


Here are some ideas of how you can use simple words to improve your copywriting.


                        Instead of:                            Use:

                        accomplish                            do

                        ascertain                                find out

                        disseminate                           send out, distribute

                        endeavour                              try

                        expedite                                 hasten, speed up

                        facilitate                                  make easier, help

                        locality                                    place

                        optimum                                 best, greatest, most

                        utilise                                      use


You can see that simple words convey the same idea with fewer letters. If you apply this idea to your copywriting project, your copy will be much easier to read and take up less space on the page. It’s more inviting to readers, so there’s a better chance your copy will be read.


You can apply this concept to wordy phrases by replacing them with single words.


Instead of:                            Use:

                        with regard to                        about

                        by means of                           by

                        in the event that                      if

                        until such time                        until

                        during such time                    during

                        subsequent to                        after

                        it would appear that               apparently

                        adequate number of              enough


You can improve your copywriting if you follow the suggestions to use simple words and replace phrases with single words.


After you have completed a first draft of your copywriting project, go back and edit what you have written. Replace complicated words with simple ones (a thesaurus is a helpful tool for this) and replace phrases with single words when possible.

Although we’re specifically looking at copywriting here, applying the concept of simplicity will improve any type of writing.