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When it Comes to Copywriting for the Web, Everyone wants Apple

When I write web content for clients, one of the many things we discuss is tone. How do they want their marketing copy to sound and feel? Formal, like a political science professor, or informal, like your daughter’s 16-year old friends? Or something in between?

Nine times of out ten, when I ask clients for an example of the kind of tone and style they’d like to emulate, they say Apple.

This isn’t too surprising. Apple’s done an impressive job marketing their products through great web copy.Green Apple Represents Copywriting for the Web

Here are a few samples from Apple.com:

iPod everywhere.
At home. At work. And anyplace in between.

iPad Accessories.
With the right accessory for iPad, you’re covered. Or connected. Or docked. See how accessories let you do more with iPad.

Make the ultimate upgrade. To a Mac.
Don’t just upgrade your computer. Get a Mac and upgrade your entire computer experience.

See what I mean? Friendly. Cute. Clever. Apple.

How can you get that same kind of tone when copywriting for the web?

  • Choose the right words. Don’t use polysyllabic words when something simpler will do. Choose English words derived from Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, German (which tend to be shorter and more concrete) and fewer from Latin or Greek (which tend to be longer and more abstract).
  • Use contractions. This keeps the copy more conversational. “Don’t just upgrade your computer” is closer to how we speak than “Do not just upgrade your computer.”
  • Mix in some short and choppy. It might drive your high school English teacher crazy (forgive me Mr. Kellogg), but good marketing copy often contains a healthy mix of short sentences and even sentence fragments. With many starting with “and” or “but.”
  • Use the sticky “you.” To better draw the reader in, Apple’s copywriters use “you” in their copy. “See how accessories let you do more with an iPad.”
  • Make it flow with alliteration. Much of Apple’s copy uses alliteration to give it a sing-song feel. “At work, at home,” “…you’re covered. Or connected” have a nice repetition of sound.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Apple’s web copywriting is benefit-driven. You’ll never catch them nattering on about features and technology. Their web copy focuses on how people use their products, not techie mumbo-jumbo.

Now I’m not saying everyone should run out and start re-writing their copy in Apple-speak. But there might be some Apple elements that would work well with your brand.

Do you like Apple’s copywriting for the web? Have you seen other companies use a similar style?


Posted: March 20, 2012 in: Content Marketing

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