Copywriting and grammar


Copywriting isn’t about grammar?

Before you shoot me down in flames, hear me out.

I know some reading this won’t agree with me. For many, grammar comes before everything else; it’s the most important aspect of written communications; it’s what keeps the English language alive.

The thing is, when it comes to copywriting, grammar isn’t at the top of my list. That’s not to say it’s not essential, or that I disregard the ‘rules.’

Why write ‘rules’ and not rules?

Well, that’s because (as far as I’m concerned) the English language is fluid, constantly evolving to help us express ourselves clearly. Therefore, I may end a sentence with a preposition if I feel like it.

So what is at the top of my list?


Why emotion trumps grammar

We both know that copywriting is all about persuasion.

It’s the way we use the written word to trigger emotional responses in our readers. And it’s that emotion that drives the buying decision we long for.

That means, at times, emotion comes before grammar.

How can that be achieved?

The simple answer is to write as you speak.

Of course, you can omit all the umms, ahhs, and slang, but keeping your writing close to the spoken word is how you can create copy that’s natural and emotionally charged.

If you stick to grammar rules rigidly, your writing is more likely to come across as rigid and distant.

And that’s not what you’re after.

For your copywriting to be effective, it has to touch your reader; empathise with them and show them that you ‘get it’ and help them overcome the issue they’re facing.

In a face-to-face situation, that’s easy to achieve because you can read their body language, respond to their questions and counter any barriers to a sale.

None of that is possible when writing for an unknown audience. That’s why emotion should always trump grammar.

It’s no excuse for sloppy writing

Having said all of that, natural, emotionally charged writing still has to be well written.

You must pay attention to spelling, flow, and ease of reading.

Although you can bend the grammar rules, you mustn’t disregard them altogether.

The trick is to achieve the right balance.

When beginning to write, your first thought should be ‘how do I want my reader to feel?’ Only then can you create content that ‘speaks’ to them.

It’s this delicate balancing act that’s behind the fact that even though we can all write, we can’t all necessarily Copywrite.