While reading through the Walmart Style Guide, I came across a list of five basic ingredients that are NOT Walmart-specific. Instead, these are great nuggets of advice for all copywriters everywhere, regardless of industry. The information is timeless and boundless, reaching across disciplines easily.
If you’re in the market to revise your favorite content recipe, why not take a look at these for some inspiration?
1. Use your active voice.
This is just good advice, period. Using the active voice strengthens your writing, gives it a firm foundation and solid backbone; these attributes make it the rule – not the exception. Plus, when you use the active voice, you warm up what may otherwise be a cold or impersonal message.
2. Share and promote the benefits.
The tendency in copywriting is to play up the features of a product or service. Instead of focusing on what your product does or how it can serve your customers, play-up the benefits. Customers better engage with products when they fully understand how those products will benefit them, both in the short and long term.
3. Always say more with less.
I say this a lot because I absolutely believe it: Communication is brevity. If you can explain yourself in ten words, don’t use twenty. However, don’t forsake your company’s tone and voice to keep your headlines short. If your copy requires more words in order to make sense, then add words. The point, though, is to never add text for the sake of adding text.
4. Carefully measure your punctuation.
If it’s a sentence, then use punctuation. Remember, too, that punctuation equals inflection and meaning. While it may seem like a small detail, your content’s meaning exists within the subtle difference between a question mark and an exclamation point: seriously purple! or seriously, purple?
5. Bulleted lists make life – and reading – easier.
Bullets draw in the eye. If you block off text and align it to bullets, your reader will automatically read that piece first. This tactic showcases the information you absolutely want your customers to read – highlighting without the neon colors.
Recipes make the kitchen an easier place to survive. The same goes for life; when you understand your ingredients and know what to do with them, the outcome will be wonderful.
And if it isn’t, there’s always pizza.