Want to improve your small biz copy in 2016? Here are three simple ways to move the dial.

Have you settled back into your work routine after the holiday break? I hope so. One last reminder that if you’ve got communications-related goals or plans for your business in 2016, I’d be delighted to help you flesh out your ideas and figure out what makes sense.

All year ’round I offer free consultations most Tuesdays and Fridays. But for the month of January I’ve extended them from 20 minutes to a full half-hour. These are no-pressure; you won’t hear any kind of a sales pitch from me. Just your chance to discuss your ideas and gather some feedback. Times are filling up fast, so book yours now, if you haven’t already!

Ok. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about some resolutions for your copy, shall we?

Firstly, we all know what copy is, right? It’s your CONTENT – your written WORDS. On your website, in your newsletters, on your blogs and in your pamphlets.

Good copy is, above all, two things: clear and authentic. It also needs to be easy to read or you’ll lose people. Moving the dial on these three things is a surefire way to engage your potential customers and keep them reading what you have to say. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Increase clarity: clear copy uses straightforward language the average person can understand. Do not get caught up trying to be cute or clever, and don’t use mysterious acronyms or jargon. Repeat after me: Confusing your audience is the fastest way to lose them.
  2. Be authentic: this means speaking in your own voice. People mistakenly think that generic = professional. Not true! You absolutely can be professional and authentic at the same time. Let that personality shine through. Use conversational language that sounds like you. Include pictures! Your site is your biggest and most powerful chance to make a first impression – use it to show your visitors the real you.
  3. Make your copy easier to read: People are crunched for time and have short attention spans, especially online. Help them digest your content and take in as much of it as possible by making it easy to read and skim. Do this by keeping sentences and paragraphs short, and using things like sub-heads, bullets, and bolded words or phrases to break things up. This is a really small change that can have a tremendous impact.

Whether you’re into setting resolutions or not (I personally am not, for the record), the new year is a great time to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and spruce things up for a successful 2016. So give your words a once-over and make sure they are following these oh-so-important best practices.

Happy New Year!