Keep It Simple, Stupid… (without being condescending or patronising)

When writing copy for websites, one of the key messages conveyed to writers when they are first learning the tricks of the trade is the ‘KISS’ principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). This is based on the idea that you increase your readership by being accessible to everyone, regardless of what level they were educated to. We all have silly moments where we miss a key bit of information or we’re tired, or are hungover but this doesn’t mean you should dumb your writing down. You do your audience a great disservice if you write as though you think they are stupid.

In ‘dumbing down’ your work, you run the risk of patronising your reader and your writing taking a condescending tone. This will not only alienate your readers but offend and irritate, causing bad feeling towards the website displaying the copy and the risk of this spreading through social media, pushing away more potential customers.

If you’re worried that your work is patronising readers then take a look at our pointers on what you can do to make your copy more readable:

- A slick slogan and a few meaningless adjectives don’t inspire customers to get their wallet out. Give your customers some credit and give them the facts about your products. If you’ve gone to the effort to get your products tested then why on earth wouldn’t you sing its proven virtues from the rooftops?

- Don’t use complicated words or sentence structures. It shows off how clever you are but people switch off really quickly when they have to work hard to understand something. Try reading philosopher David Hume’s work and you’ll see what I mean!

- Don’t make ridiculous promises about your products that you can’t keep. Who in all seriousness still believes that a skin cream can help delay the ageing process? Be realistic and avoid promising the earth.

- Don’t use phrases such as ‘obviously’ or ‘it is plain to see’  as you are assuming prior knowledge about a subject. As a copywriter, you get to know a bit about a lot of subjects and it is easy to forget that others don’t know what you know.

To find out how Juno Copywriting can help your website hit sales targets with engaging sales copy, contact David Wiltshire on 0845 544 1765.

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