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You put hours and money into your copy but fail to spark interest in your audience and gain no traffic.

The problem? 

Bad Copywriting.

To improve your writing, start by learning what to avoid.

In this article, I will share valuable lessons from bad copy examples to make you a copy killer and help your business get more deals.

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Why Keyword Stuffing Is Bad For Your Copy?

One of the biggest missteps a writer can take is falling into the trap of keyword stuffing. 

Have you ever landed on a page where a keyword popped up in every other sentence?

Like this one:

“Welcome to our guide on the ‘best chocolate cake recipe.’ 

If you’re looking for the best chocolate cake recipe, you’re in the right place for the best chocolate cake. 

First, preheat your oven for the best chocolate cake baking temperature. 

As you sift the flour for the best chocolate cake, ensure your eggs are at room temperature for the best chocolate cake consistency.

Don’t forget to grease the pan thoroughly to avoid sticking because the best chocolate cake should come out ideally. 

Once baked, let the best chocolate cake cool before frosting, ensuring the best chocolate cake texture for your enjoyment.”

This passage overuses “best chocolate cake” excessively.

We’ve all been there, trying to please the unseen algorithms. 

But search engines like Google have become incredibly smart, especially in the AI revolution age. 

Overusing keywords is like over-salting your food; a pinch enhances but too much ruins the meal and your SEO efforts.

Jamming too many keywords into your content can do more damage than help, including:

  • Annoying readers and making them away.
  • Getting your website penalized by Google.

Google Search Central warns that cramming tons of keywords can trigger penalties, potentially burying your content where no reader dares to click.

Your keyword density must balance where your content resonates with search engines and readers.

It’s like seasoning your food – a little salt brings out the taste, but overdo it, and the dish is spoiled.

Finding that sweet spot for keyword frequency is essential for tasty content to the reader’s palette.

Keywords should be like ninjas in your content – present but hardly noticeable. 

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So, how do you avoid this robotic repetition? 

  • Use synonyms or related phrases
  • Vary the structure of your sentences.

You must know that readability trumps keyword frequency every time.

It’s worth remembering, as Google Search Central advises, that content should ultimately be crafted to benefit users, not algorithms.

Of course, there’s the counterargument that more is better: more keywords, more visibility. 

But this is a risky gamble. 

Google can easily spot and push aside content that is trying to cut corners to reach the top. 

After all, content that meets what the readers want will consistently outperform keyword-saturated articles in the long run.

However, you can create content that’s both SEO-friendly and a joy to read. 

Here are some valuable tips:

1. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Your primary keyword should appear naturally throughout your piece. Think of it as the theme of your story — present but not preachy.

2. Use Synonyms and Variations

Shake up your word choice.

It’s not just about avoiding penalties due to keyword cramming but also about keeping your readers engaged and interested.

3. Utilize Long-Tail Keywords

These are lengthier and more specific keyword phrases. 

They work so effectively because they match exactly what people are searching for.

Make them your subheadings!

4. Reader First, Search Engine Second

Remember that you’re writing for real people, not just search engines. 

Give your readers valuable content, and you’ll win their attention and trust.

That’s how you get more traffic and sales.

5. Monitor Keyword Density

You want to hit that magic 1-2% keyword frequency.

So, for every 100 words on your page, slip your keyword in once or twice, max. 

And tools like Yoast SEO or SEMrush have your back for tracking those numbers.

Speaking of copy, you might be interested in this: 

Another common reason for terrible copy is not understanding your audience.

How Do You Tailor Your Copy To Target Audiences

You’ll create lousy copy when writing content without knowing your audience.

It’s something like:

  • An email advertises expensive cars to college students and young professionals who probably can’t buy them.

  • A makeup blog for expert artists shares a “Beginner’s Guide to Makeup,” which is too basic for its advanced readers.

  • A pet store sends the same email about a new line of cat toys to all customers, including those who only own dogs.

Let’s be honest: if you create one-size-fits-all’ content, like the above example, you can’t get traffic and sell anything.

You may think: “But isn’t content supposed to reach as many people as possible?” 

Well, while that might increase your page views, it often won’t lead to deep engagement. 

The truth is that specific and targeted content can draw in more qualified traffic.

Think about it—when was the last time generic content made you stop and take action? 

The good copy is to make your reader nod and think: 

  • “This is exactly what I needed to hear!” 

It’s like knowing someone’s coffee order without them having to say a word.

It shows you care, you’ve paid attention, and you’ve put in the effort. 

Write for your audience, not for algorithms. Engaging content tailored to human interest outperforms keyword-stuffed articles.

Engaged readers will feel understood and valued, fostering loyalty to your brand.

How can you do this?

  • Understand your buyer personas and journey
  • Craft content that speaks directly to them.

HubSpot and Content Marketing Institute can give you guidance to handle these things.

But here are some practical tips for knowing your audience:

  • Conduct Audience Research Regularly: Markets evolve, and so do audiences. Keep your finger on the pulse by conducting regular surveys and monitoring social media conversations.

  • Create Specific Content for Different Segments: One-size-fits-all is out. Tailor your blog posts, emails, and social content to speak to different segments within your audience.

  • Use Analytics Tools:  Your website and social media analytics can reveal much about your audience’s behavior and preferences. Platforms like Google Analytics also offer invaluable insights into who’s consuming your content and how they’re interacting with it.

  • Test and Learn: Use A/B testing to see what resonates. Sometimes, the best insights come from trial and error.

Remember, your copy must speak directly to your audience as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation. 

It’s not just about what you’re saying; it’s about making the listener feel heard.

Next up, we’re going to unravel the knotty problem of overly “salesy” copy. 

Trust me, it’s turned out to be what you’ll want to avoid.

How Do You Write A Sales Copy Without Sounding Salesy?

When persuasion turns too pushy, your copy can send readers to run away.

It can be:

  • A blog post that interrupts your reading every few sentences to tell you to BUY NOW or risk missing out.

  • An article that, instead of providing the promised tips, keeps redirecting you to a sales page continually.

  • An email campaign that bombards subscribers with daily “limited time offers.”

It’s pushy and makes promises that sound too good to be true. 

But that’s what makes a copy bad.

Nobody likes to feel like they’re just another sales target, even if they intend to buy.

A pushy sales copy is a reader’s turn-off. Persuade, don’t pressure—let the value of your offer do the talking.

Some might argue that “No one buys without a push.”

Sure, a strong call to action is necessary for any copy as we want to convert readers into customers.

However, if your content is more like a sleazy sales pitch than valuable information, you risk not just turning readers away but also losing their trust.

You aim to create content that persuades, not content that bullies your audience into hitting the ‘purchase’ button. 

But how do you sell without sounding salesy?

  • Understand your audience like they’re your best friends. 
  • Use language that resonates with them, not at them. 
  • Make your content about the value you’re offering, not just the sale. 
  • Help people solve their problems, and the sales will follow.

It would be best to focus on ethical persuasive techniques that create a connection and meet the customer’s needs, not trickery. 

Authenticity is vital, and so is providing value.

It’s about a balance of resonating with your audience without making them feel like just another dollar sign.

Here are the tricks to avoid over-selling copy:

  • Listen Before You Speak: Update from social media conversations, surveys, and feedback about what’s your audience asking for. And then give them what they want.

  • Benefits Over Features: People care about how your product or service will improve their lives. Highlight that.

  • Stories Sell: Narratives connect emotionally. Share success stories or testimonials that demonstrate real-world value.

  • Educate, Don’t Intimidate: Offer insights and knowledge freely. Education is a soft sell that often leads to hard cash.

  • Be Genuine: Write as if you’re having a face-to-face chat with your reader. Authenticity breeds trust, and trust leads to conversions.

Next, we’ll delve into what turns your fresh copy into an eye-roll-inducing mess: the lack of clarity and conciseness in copywriting.

Why Is Clarity Important In Copywriting?

When you land on a webpage, you’re looking for information that is easy to digest and gets to the point swiftly. 

Unfortunately, not all copywriting meets these criteria. 

A major snag in many articles is too messy or complicated to understand.

Clarity in copywriting is non-negotiable; it’s the bridge that connects your message to the reader’s understanding.

Here is what makes your copy terrible:

  • A wall of text covers buzzwords or technical jargon.
  • Dense paragraphs are full of clichés.
  • A winding narrative leads nowhere.

No one wants to click on a promising link and feel like they’re reading a foreign language.

These factors can make your readers confused, making them frustrated and ready to bounce off your page.

It’s easy to forget that what’s clear to you might not be clear to your readers. 

But confusing copy doesn’t just bore readers—it can drive them away. 

Here’s the matter: Readers don’t have the time or patience for puzzling prose. 

So, what can you do to keep readers engaged?

  • Create content that hooks readers immediately.
  • Deliver your message before their next distraction does.

That’s it.

It’s about making every word count to improve engagement and ensure readers don’t just see but understand and remember your messages.

But the road to simplicity in your copy isn’t always straightforward. 

How do you explain complex concepts without losing your reader in a wall of words? 

The key lies in knowing what to keep and what to cut. 

It’s possible, but it takes skill!

Simplifying your content doesn’t mean dumbing down.

It means focusing on the heart of your message and delivering it in a way that resonates with your audience.

Some might say: 

  • “Our field is different; it requires complexity and jargon to convey our expertise.”

Well, while it’s true that specialized fields may need to use technical language, the goal remains—to convey, not confuse. 

The right approach can make even the most intricate topics accessible.

It’s all about knowing when to use industry terms and how to explain them effectively.

You must make your information accessible to all potential readers, not just the experts in your area.

If you wonder, “How can I make my copy more concise?” here are some tips:

  • Use Active Voice: Engage readers with direct sentences where the subject acts.

  • Bullet Points are Your Friends: Break down complex ideas into bullet points for better comprehension.

  • Avoid Industry Jargon: Unless it’s widely understood, skip the specialized language.

  • Embrace White Space: Short paragraphs invite the eye to read on and make the text look less intimidating.

Implementing these tips can make a profound difference. 

Clear and concise content is about more than just retaining readers.

It’s about respecting their time and providing value with every sentence.

And speaking of value, let’s ensure you pay attention to the basics.

Typos and bad grammar can be the simplest mistakes that cause your copy to be terrible.

How Do Typos And Poor Grammar Affect Your Writing?

Spelling and grammar seem like a small fry, but it is a big deal in the content world.

You’ve probably heard it before: “It’s just a typo.”

But those typos can make your content look sloppy and damage your brand’s rep.

Spelling mistakes in your content are like showing up to an interview with wrinkled clothes.

How can you expect a great first impression on readers if your content is full of careless errors?

You must create crystal-clear and error-free content. 

Typos and poor grammar in copy are the equivalent of showing up to a job interview in wrinkled clothes.

It is the mark of professionalism, and it tells your readers you value their experience. 

It’s not just about being a grammar guru but showing that you care enough to serve them the best.

But wait, some folks may say:

  • “If we’re being conversational, can’t we relax the rules a bit?”  
  • “A mist of grammatical whimsy can make the content more personal and relatable.”
  • “A slip here and there gives your content a “human” touch.”

Sure, we’re not robots.

But let’s not kid ourselves – a sprinkle of relatability shouldn’t come with a side of slop.

Conversational means approachable, but even chatting with friends doesn’t enjoy constant slips with typos.

It’s about striking a balance – keeping it real and right.

Alright, time for some actionable advice:

  • Read It Backwards: Weird tip, but reading your content backward can help you spot spelling snafus you’d otherwise miss.

  • Get a Fresh Pair of Eyes: Occasionally, you need someone else to take a gander. They’ll see things you’ve glossed over.

  • Use the Tools: You can use tools like Grammarly and reference sites like Purdue OWL to keep your writing in check.

  • Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to hire a proofreader or editor if you need one. Sometimes, it’s worth it to have a professional give your content a once-over.

Remember, it’s all about maintaining a balance – be conversational, but stay sharp in your copy.

By the way, if your businesses want to avoid these bad copy examples and get more leads, our team can help.

Explore here for killer copies.

While we’re all about clean content, there’s another trick we shouldn’t miss out on—the power of storytelling.

Let’s dive into the art of storytelling and how neglecting it can turn your copy bad.

How Do You Incorporate Storytelling in Your Copy?

Without a story, content often fails to engage. 

It’s like meeting someone who only talks about themselves – pretty soon, people get bored and leave.

Storytelling is the secret that turns your copy from blah to voilà!

It’s about connecting with your audience on a level that facts alone can’t reach.

Picture this: two articles side by side. 

  • One’s just facts, figures, and benefits.
  • The other’s got a narrative that feels like your favorite book. 

Which grabs you?

The story, right? 

Content that skips storytelling is like a robot trying to make friends – it’s missing that human touch.

Why do we love stories? 

They weave facts with emotion, making the message stick like gum on a shoe. 

When copy tells a story, it can create an experience, sparking emotions that might turn readers into fans and fans into customers.

It would help if you turn your brand into a protagonist that customers root for. 

It’s about creating that hook that makes your audience think, “Tell me more!” instead of “Time for a nap.”

You must weave a narrative that can take your audience from “just browsing” to “I need this in my life.”

Good storytelling does just that.

Sure, injecting storytelling into copy can be challenging.

It’s an art, a skill that not everyone masters on the first try. 

You can get a killer story, but you also have a brand message you must convey.

The key is to balance your brand’s message with a story that clicks with your audience.

However, don’t turn your copy into a novel.

Some might argue, “But hey, not all products are meant for stories!” 

True, it’s more challenging for some niches to apply storytelling techniques. 

For example, storytelling might not fit technique writing.

But every brand has a story. 

It would be best to find a human element your audience can relate to.

Here’s how you can create story-driven copies:

  • Know Your Hero: Your product or service is the hero. Give it a character arc. What’s the challenge it’s facing? How does it triumph?

  • Conflict and Resolution: All good stories have a problem and a solution. Show how your brand solves real-world issues.

  • Relatable Antagonists: Identify the villains – the pain points your customers face – and show how your hero can defeat them.

  • Authenticity Above All: Keep your story real. Authenticity resonates with readers, and they can smell a tall tale a mile away.

  • Use Customer Testimonials: These are your success stories. They’re like five-star reviews of your narrative approach.

  • Draw from Feedback: Test your stories to understand how they impact engagement. What clicks? What fizzles? Use feedback to sharpen your narratives.

You can check out StoryBrand for a deeper dive into using narrative in marketing and swing by Copyhackers for practical writing tips that sell.

One more factor that can cause terrible copy is outdated content.

Let’s explore how bad it is not updating old content. 

Why Should You Update Old Content?

Outdated content is a silent killer of website credibility. 

You’ve heard it before, but I’ll repeat it: Content is king. 

But what happens when the king gets old? 

You guessed it – the kingdom starts to look a little less shiny. 

That’s precisely what outdated content does to your website. 

Like a shop window displaying last season’s fashions, it repels rather than attracts, harming reputation and rankings.

For instance:

  • A travel site with guides highlighting nightlife spots that have since closed down.
  • A tech blog still featuring articles on “preparing for the Windows 10 update”.
  • A finance website offering tips on “maximizing your 2015 tax return”.

You want your websites to be the go-to spot for fresh and juicy content, right?

So, keep your content as current as your morning coffee.

Regular updates can do wonders for your SEO and keep readers coming back for more. 

Google and your audience both appreciate the new content.

It’s like a signal flare to search engines saying, “This site is alive, kicking, and ready to provide value!”

Here are some straightforward tips to avoid bygone content:

  • Schedule regular content audits to spot any outdated information.
  • Update statistics and data in your posts to keep them current.
  • Refresh old blog posts with new insights, images, or videos.
  • Revisit your most popular content annually to ensure it’s still relevant.
  • Make sure to find and repair any broken links during your content updates.
  • Look at your competitor’s content and make sure yours is more up-to-date.
  • Engage with your audience to discover what topics they want to read about.

However, it takes time, effort, and keen eyes to determine what needs a refresh while pumping out new posts.

You will struggle to decide between adjusting old blogs or crafting the next hot topic.

Some of the tools can help you with this:

  • Screaming Frog– to help your website find pages that haven’t been updated in a long time.

  • Google Analytics –To identify which old posts still drive traffic and could benefit from an update.

  • BuzzSumo – To analyze what content is trending in your niche so you can either update your old content or get ideas for new topics.

  • Trello or Asana – Help you organize and prioritize your content updates alongside new content creation.

People might battle that “But my content is evergreen!”.

Sure, some content is timeless, but even evergreens need pruning.

How about:

  • Trends shift
  • Statistics become outdated
  • New information emerges. 
  • Broken links? 

How can you be sure your evergreen content is always correct?

So, let’s not fall for the myth that once written, it’s good forever.

Give that “timeless” content a quick check-up now and then.

Remember, even the most informative content can wither with time. 

Keep your copy current, and your audience will return for more.

Making mistakes in copywriting can leave you feeling disheartened and defeated.

If you feel like this, this article might help:

Next, we’ll explore how AI is changing the game in copywriting.

How Do AI Generators Affect Content Writing?

With the rise of AI in copywriting, copywriters can create content super fast.

But sometimes your copy misses the mark if you’re not careful.

Ever read something and think, “A robot could’ve written this”? 

That’s the fear with AI-generated content. 

Without a human touch, your content can turn out bland and distant.

It may include:

  • Robotic language with a lack of conversational tone.
  • Overuse of jargon makes the sentence hard to understand
  • Vague and generic language without context.

AI can be a real timesaver, sure. 

You can whip up an article in minutes with AI.

Yet, what’s the actual cost? 

  • Lack of human touch and creativity.
  • Creating generic or repetitive content.
  • Plagiarism issues

We want standout content, not just endless duplicates.

So, we must let AI handle the grunt work while we, the masterminds, express our personality and ensure everything checks out.

AI-generated content needs a human touch to transform from bland to brand, from automated to captivating.

AI can churn out a draft, but you’re the captain who decides what your copy looks like.

Think of AI as your sparring partner in the ring of copywriting. 

It’ll push and challenge you, but at the end of the day, it’s your fight to win. 

Let’s remember: it’s not just about what AI can do; it’s about what we can do with AI.

 Here’s how to use AI without losing your copy’s soul:

  • Pick Your Style: Decide how you want your writing to sound. Use AI to help you start, then make changes to sound more like you or your brand.

  • Brainstorm with AI: Let AI suggest ideas, then add your twist to improve them.

  • Make it Personal: Change what the AI writes by adding your own stories or experiences. Use fun or smart bits only humans can imagine.

  • Double-Check the Work: Look over what AI writes to make sure it fits with what people search for online and that it reads smoothly.

  • Simplify Words: Break down complex stuff that AI writes into simpler words.
  • Avoid Copying: Check to make sure the AI hasn’t copied from somewhere else.

By doing these, you can ensure AI helps you without taking away the human feel in your writing.

Conclusion

There are many other bad copy examples that I haven’t mentioned yet.

But the above ones are the most common mistakes many copywriters can make.

Knowing these common slip-ups helps you dodge them in your copy or even for your business branding.

Keep learning, keep writing, and watch your copy grow from good to great. 

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