Crappy Copy: 8 Digital Copywriting Mistakes You Should Avoid | Camille Beaumont | Skillshare

Crappy Copy: 8 Digital Copywriting Mistakes You Should Avoid

Camille Beaumont, Digital Copywriting & Marketing

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11 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Mistake #1: No Goal

    • 4. Mistake #2: Writing for the Wrong Audience

    • 5. Mistake #3: TL;DR

    • 6. Mistake #4: Answering the Wrong Questions

    • 7. Mistake #5: Bad Fonts & Colors

    • 8. Mistake #6: Too Pushy

    • 9. Mistake #7: Errors, Errors, Errors

    • 10. Mistake #8: Inconsistent Brand Voice

    • 11. Bonus Tip!

25 students are watching this class

About This Class

In this class you’ll learn the most common digital copywriting mistakes and how to avoid them. This class is for anyone who wants to improve their writing online, though it is primarily targeted at business writers. Any level writer can gain something from this class!

From bad spelling to writing for the wrong audience, this class will teach you to write copy that makes your business stand out for all the right reasons (instead of the wrong ones!). Learn how to avoid pushiness in your marketing and turn leads into paying customers for your business.

The project for this class is a fun one. All you have to do is write the absolute WORST digital copy you can think of, then share it in the class project gallery so that you and all the other students can laugh and learn from each other. 

*Be sure to watch the whole class to catch a bonus tip at the end!


1. Introduction: Hello everyone. My name is Camille Beaumont and welcome to my skill share class. Crappy copy. Eight digital copywriting mistakes you should avoid. This class is for anyone who wants to improve their writing online. My specialty is digital marketing and copywriting for businesses. If you are writing for a business, then you have come to the right place. Now before we dive in, I want to tell you just a little bit about myself. Years ago I was living in Seattle, working a corporate job, doing public relations for Microsoft, and I realized that my job could be done entirely online. Since then, it has been my mission to build a 100 percent digital career, where I get to work from anywhere and take advantage of one of my greatest strengths, which is writing. Since that I have written digital copy for websites, social media ads, social media posts, e-mail newsletters, story scripts, digital marketing funnels, lots of different blogs and much more. In this skill share class, I will teach you how to identify and avoid the eight most common digital copywriting mistakes that I see online all the time. So that you can drive more leads, convert more customers, and make more sales online. A lot of what I know about writing online, came from making, lots and lots of mistakes. But I don't think making mistakes is necessarily a bad thing as long as you learn from them. My main goal with this class is to help your learning curve be a lot faster than mine. The fact is, the internet needs more good writers. In realm like this one where over half the world's population can write pretty much whatever they want on the internet, one of the best ways to make you and your business stand out online, is to have the best communication and cleanest copywriting on the block. Trust me. Your customers will thank you for it with their wallets, and beers for those awesome students who make it all the way to the end of the class. I have a special bonus copywriting tip for you that you definitely don't want to miss. Let's get to it. I will see you in the next video. 2. Class Project: I am a firm believer that learning should be fun. With that in mind, for our class project, I would like you to write the absolute worst copy you can possibly think of. For your project, you can pick any type of writing that you would actually use for your business. It could be an email newsletter, website copy, a social media add, really something that you can see yourself actually using, as long as you write it terribly. You could do one big class project where you make lots of different types of mistakes, or you could make a bunch of different little class projects, where you try out a different type of mistake in each one. It's really up to you. Just make sure you have fun, be creative, and make lots of mistakes. When you're done, upload your crappy copy to the class project gallery, so that we can all see it and learn from each other. Then go take a look at what the other students have written and leave them a comment, so we can all have fun together. I cannot wait to see what types of creative terrible writing you come up with. We are ready to dive in. I will see you in the next video. 3. Mistake #1: No Goal: Copyrighting mistake number 1, no goal. The biggest mistake that I have made and that I see other people in businesses making online all the time is writing without a goal in mind. People get bored really easily. You don't have a lot of time to make a good first impression with your customer, so you need to make sure that every word you put out on the Internet counts. Think about something that you're trying to market for your business right now. What is the number 1 step you would like your potential future customer to take? What is the one thing that they could do that would help move them towards success for your business? Think about what that thing is for you, and then make sure that every word you're writing works towards that. Now, there are many different types of goals you could aim for with your writing online. Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning. Number 1, provide value. To get customers to buy from you, you should first aim to prove that your business, product, or service is valuable. Do this by giving to your customer over and over again without asking for anything in return and they will thank you for it with their loyalty. Number 2, get information. Once you've provided your potential customer with a lot of value, it's not okay to ask them for something in return. One of the best things you can ask somebody for is their contact information. This allows you to follow up with them and continue staying in touch with them so that you can turn them into a customer down the road, even if they're not ready to buy from you or work with you quite yet. Number 3, show gratitude. Pleases and thank yous go a long way with customers, especially on the internet. Show your customers that you appreciate them, that you know that they had a million other businesses to choose from and they picked you. Show them that you care about their experience and they'll want to keep buying from you again and again. Remember, keep your writing straightforward and simple online. Make sure every word that you choose works towards an ultimate goal and you will be on the right track. I will see you in the next video. 4. Mistake #2: Writing for the Wrong Audience: Copyrighting mistake Number 2, writing for the wrong audience. Who are you writing for? A guarantee it's not for yourself. I often see companies online talking way too much about their experience, talking from their perspective. It might be painful, but your customer doesn't really care about your company's history or what you had to do to get to where you are now. They just want to know if you can provide the service or product that they need. Think about this person who needs your service or product. What is their experience? Why do they need your help? What is it exactly that they're looking for? Your customer needs something and they have come to you because they think that you might be able to give it to them. Don't waste their time talking about things that don't matter to them. Get to the point and give them what they need. One of the worst ways I have seen people mess this up online is by having a poorly translated website. The way you communicate with your customer matters even if it's not in English. Lots of businesses are trying to reach customers who speak multiple languages. But if you're going to do that, you need to make sure that you're actually translating it accurately. It seems like a no-brainer, but it's apparently really not. If you need to communicate with your customers in a language that you don't personally speak, please don't just put your words in Google Translate and call it a day. It's really not enough. Use the power of the Internet to find somebody who natively speaks the language you're trying to communicate in and have them take a look at what you've written so that you can make sure that you're actually saying what you're trying to say. 5. Mistake #3: TL;DR: Copyrighting mistake number 3, TL;DR. TR;DR stands for too long, didn't read the internet moves fast. Your customer doesn't have a lot of time to consider what you have to say before they move on to the next thing, vying for their attention. If you really want people to engage with your content online, you need to write it in a way that respects their attention span. Spoiler alert? Its not very long. Here are a few key things to remember. Number 1, get to the point. Filler language is a waste of everyone's time and your customer will not appreciate it. Show them that you respect their time by not wasting any of it. Number 2, don't bury the lead. Say you're doing an online giveaway to gather email addresses for potential future customers. Lead with the value that they are going to get from engaging with your business. Start with the thing that matters to them. Number 3, wrap it up. Give your customer exactly the information they need to make an informed decision and then get out of there. Keep your writing succinct and to the point, and you will have a lot more success reaching the people you want to notice you. On to the next lesson, I will see you there. 6. Mistake #4: Answering the Wrong Questions: Copyrighting mistake number 4, answering the wrong questions. To find out what your customer really needs, you have to try to look at the world from their perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand why it is that they're coming to you in your business for help. To make an informed decision, your potential customer needs to find out something specific about your business. For a coffee shop, that could be the hours that the shop is open. For aesthetician that could be the different services that you provide, for a birthday clown it could be what type of clown you are. Whatever type of business it is that you have, there's something specific your customer needs. Too often I see businesses bearing that information somewhere in their website, it's so hard for the customer to find out that one thing they need to know to make a decision about your business. Find out what that crucial piece of information is for your business, and then make sure you make it easily available to your customer. Things to keep in mind. Number 1, you need to be clear about what your business offers. That may turn out to be exactly what your lead is looking for or it might not be. Either way, help your customer make the right decision by being crystal clear about what it is that you offer. Number 2, avoid giving your leads onslaught of information. Your goal should be to help them not to beat them over the head with your words. Remember, TMI equals TLDR. Number 3, in this technic, there's no need to guess at what your potential future customers need. Use the Internet and social media to get to know your current customers, and that will help you attract more people like them. All right, onto the next lesson. 7. Mistake #5: Bad Fonts & Colors: Copyrighting mistake number 5, bad fonts and colors. You've worked really hard on your copy. You've chosen your words carefully, and everything is written to work towards a goal. But something just still isn't working for some reason. If that's the case, the problem could be your design. Bad design can seriously detract from your message. It can draw your viewers attention to the wrong thing, or it can even make your viewer feel certainly uncomfortable. I'm sure that's not the feeling that any of us want our customers to have. Keep watching for some tips on how you can avoid that. Design elements like color and font choices evoke emotion. The best way to make this work for you, is to think about how you want your customer to feel and then use your design to create that feeling for them. Here are some tips to keep you on the right track. Number 1, always keep it readable. Bad color choices can make some online text really hard to see. When in doubt, stick to light colors for your background, and dark colors for your text. The same concept applies to font choices. Readability should always be your number 1 priority. Number 2, use multiple styles, but do so carefully. Depending on what you're writing, I recommend using about 2-5 different fonts and colors. The purpose of using different styles is to draw and focus your readers attention. Just be careful not to go overboard with this or it can become really distracting. Number 3, if you have a website, you should check to see if it's in compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Depending on your business type, this may even be a requirement for your website. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next lesson. 8. Mistake #6: Too Pushy: Copyrighting mistake number 6, too pushy. You catch more flies with honey, but a lot of businesses online don't seem to realize this. You have to think of the push and pull between you and your potential customer as like dating. If you've come out too strong, you will scare them away. Instead, use your writing to draw your lead in. People are smart and they can tell when a business is trying too hard to get their money. Give your potential customer all the information they need to make an informed decision. Then back off, give them the space they need to decide at their own pace whether or not your business is right for them. That's not to say that you shouldn't engage repeatedly with your leaves you absolutely should, just don't push them too hard to do something for you. This is all particularly true with online advertising. Offer your leads a whole lot of value first and then put your call to action in front of them at just the right moment. If you want to avoid sounding pushy online, you need to stop doing these two things. Number 1, on the Internet, all caps is shouting, use it very carefully. Think about how much you shout in normal life. I'm guessing probably not that often. The same social norms apply online. Number 2, don't sound desperate. Why should people want to buy from or work with a business that doesn't sound confident about what they have to offer. Use your writing to shine a light on all the most positive things about your business and trust me, your customers will notice. 9. Mistake #7: Errors, Errors, Errors: Copyrighting mistake number 7, errors, errors, errors. There is no excuse for bad spelling in grammar in professional writing. That's not quite fair. We're all human and we all make mistakes sometimes. But some companies seem to go above and beyond with the number of punctuation and spelling mistakes they make online, and honestly, it makes those companies look so bad when they really don't have to. I think the issue here is that many people don't see spelling, grammar, punctuation mistakes as big deal. But I am here to tell you today that those people are wrong. Any writing you put online could be your business's first impression with someone. You need to make sure that first impression is a good one. Having lots of little errors in your writing, just makes your business look sloppy. Think of it this way, if your potential customer sees that your business doesn't try very hard on their website, why should they think that you'll try very hard for them? This is important for every type of business, but especially for businesses where building trust with your customer is crucial. You need them to feel confident, that you can deliver on what they need, and little things like spelling and grammar errors make it look like you're wrong. Your goal should be to fill your reader with confidence that your business or service is worth every penny you ask for. Don't give your reader any reason to doubt that. If you're not a very strong writer, that's okay. This is where outsourcing will become your best friend. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. You just need to find somebody whose strength is writing. Maybe you know a friend who is a really great writer who got straight A's on their essays in college. Ask them to take a look at what you've written, and point out any errors you've made. Or as an alternative, the Internet is filled with talented writers who are always looking for more work. You could easily hire one of them, to take a look at what you've written, and give you feedback before you publish it online. There are multiple online platforms you could use to hire a professional writer, like Craigslist, Upwork, and Fiverr. If you choose to use one of these platforms to hire a professional writer, please keep in mind that this is their job. Treat somebody you hire online with the same professional respect that you would want. It is okay to not be an amazing writer, but it is not okay to let your business look sloppy. Outsourcing and asking for a little bit of help can go a long way towards making your business look both professional and reliable online. 10. Mistake #8: Inconsistent Brand Voice: Copywriting mistake Number 8, inconsistent brand voice. Nailing down the perfect brand voice can be a tricky thing, but I promise you it is well worth the effort. The most powerful brand voices online are the ones that truly speak as one. Any customer facing communications that your business puts out into the world should aim to speak with a single unified voice. How can you figure out what your brand voice should be? To find out, I want you to try a little exercise. Try talking to your business in your head. What does your business's voice sound like? Is it excited and energized? Or is it soothing and comforting? Or something else entirely? Identify and get to know that voice in your head and then make sure all your communications speak the same way. A couple of helpful things to keep in mind. Number 1, does your social media communicate with the same overall tone as your customer service messaging? What about the other customer facing parts of your business? At best, discrepancies in your messaging style can leave your customer feeling confused. At worst, they can feel misled and not trust you anymore. Number 2, emojis are great, but they are not appropriate for every situation or business. If your brand voice is fun, then using emojis can be a really great way to engage your audience. However, if your brand voice is more serious, like say a doctor's office, then using emojis would not be appropriate. Thanks so much for watching. Keep going to the final video so that you can get your special bonus copywriting tip. 11. Bonus Tip!: Last one. Yeah, you did it. You made it all the way to the last video. As a reward for being so awesome, I have a special bonus tip for you to help your writing shine online. You're ready? Here it is. Don't forget the fold. Now, this is a pretty nitty-gritty social media tip, but it will be something good for you to keep in mind as you learn more and grow your skills as a digital copywriter. Here's how it works. When writing copy for social media, particularly for marketing copy, you want to keep in mind the fold that's going to happen to the text of your post. Most posts in ads on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and so many others, use a fold in the content to create a preview of what you've written. With the fold, your posts will show the first few lines of what you've written and then anything beyond that will be tucked away and hidden. The reason this is important is because this preview is your chance to shine. I'm not going to go into every single detail in this video because we would be here all day, but the basic thing you want to know is that each platform has different limitations on the number of characters that you have before the fold. Write your copy in a way that maximizes your preview, so that you can grab your reader's attention and turn potential customers into real ones. Thank you so much for watching my Skillshare class. I hope you learned something today about how to write digital copy that truly engages your customers and helps put your business's best foot forward online. If you have not submitted your class project yet, please do so soon. I cannot wait to see what creative, wacky, and downright terrible writing you came up with. After you have uploaded your project, go ahead and take a look at what other students have written and leave them some feedback in the comments. If you would like to learn more about me, Camille Beaumont, you can check out my personal website,, or you can find me on Instagram @cami_beau. This is my very first Skillshare class and I will be making many more soon, so follow me so you can see when I come out with new classes. That's it for this class. Thanks again for watching and I will see you next time.