Direct response copywriters: how would you write the worst copy ever?

All direct response copywriters are chasing conversions, but there are some things that will drive them away…far away. Want to know what to avoid in your next piece of copy? We asked readers to chime in. Read on to see what they had to say. And if you’re looking to crush direct response copywriting, make sure to sign up for our RMBC online copywriting course. You’ll learn how to write consistently high converting copy, faster.

Oleh Sorokopud

Oleh Sorokopud

Oleh Sorokopud, Head of Digital Marketing at Softjourn, Inc.

Write Without Research

To write the worst copy, I would probably just open a blank document and start writing. I would do that without:

  • Understanding the purpose of the copy
  • Understanding the audience
  • Initial research
  • Secondary research
  • Writing an outline
  • Communicating with experts
  • Keyword research
  • Including recent statistics and reports
  • Editing & proofreading
  • Promotion plan

Boom, the worst copy is ready.

Full on Hard-sell

I'd make the copy all about my company, not at all about the benefits of using the product or the pain it alleviates. I'd go on about the long history or the fresh startup perspective, brag about how successful the company is and make the copy as hard-sell as possible. And I'd speak in generalities rather than isolate particular appeals to specific markets.

Shel Horowitz

Shel Horowitz

Hannah Laird

Hannah Laird

Hannah started at Edge of the Web as a Copywriter and became the main communicator for our customers as we grew from startup to established agency.

Confusing Headline, Weak CTA

If you want to write copy that doesn’t drive your readers to take action, here are a few ways you could do it:

Don’t write with the customer in mind
Your audience wants to feel understood, and they want your writing to paint a picture of how your product or service can benefit them. So, to write the worst copy in the world? Ignore your audience completely. Just tell them about yourself and how great you are.

A confusing, long-winded headline
A headline that gives no inkling of what’s in store or – worse – a completely misleading headline is a sure way to lose your readers early. Overly long headlines won’t help either (likewise with long sentences and paragraphs throughout your writing).

No CTA
If they’ve soldiered through to the end of your long-winded, one-sided piece of writing, what do you want them to do? Without a strong call to action, they’ll have no idea, and that will lose you conversions.

5 Steps to a Copywriting Fail

Be complex
Why shorten it down and be concise when you can say just what you want in a more complex way?

Ignore the Tone of Voice
We all know how to write, just crack on [without knowing the TOV]. You can write similarly for every brand!

Don’t break up text
Subheadings? Nah. People will get the gist, just let them scroll through [the text block] aimlessly.

Leave out visuals
Adding in visuals will be pointless, too. People don’t need to be engaged that way.

Proofreading is dead
Finally, you don’t need to proofread! You can check as you go. This saves time, and you don’t tend to make mistakes anyway if you’re a copywriter, do you?

Rebecca Nicholson

Rebecca Nicholson

Typing daily, Rebecca works as a copywriter and digital content connoisseur for a Bolton digital marketing agency – The Audit Lab.
Kimberly Ihekwoaba

Kimberly Ihekwoaba

Kimberly Ihekwoaba, Multimedia Storyteller and Copywriter at Kimberly Ihekwoaba.

Go Technical, not Emotional

The worst copy ever would be created to talk about my business. I would not show any interest in my target audience. I [would] fail to highlight the pain point and not position myself as a solution.

Secondly, I would lack creativity in my words. It would be highly educational and have no emotional connection in my text. I would be super lengthy, cramping long sentences together. Although the average reading level is Grade 7, I would ignore that. Rather, I would use super technical texts that are difficult to understand.

Lastly, I would not have any call to action. Not only would the viewers not clearly understand what I offer. They would not know what to do next with the information. I would keep them guessing and confused.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.

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