6 lessons digital copywriters can learn from Apple

Breaking grammar rules and keeping things simple – what digital marketers can learn from Apple…

Apple knows a thing or two about selling itself and its products. For the past two years, the tech giant has been adjudged ‘world’s coolest brand’ by the influential CoolBrands barometer.

Much of Apple’s success comes from the fact that it’s always at the forefront of design and ground-breaking tech innovation, of course. But the way it brands and markets its products also has a massive impact.

Here are 6 things digital copywriters can learn from Apple.

1. Keep the language simple but persuasive

Apple captures our attention by keeping language simple on its product landing pages.

No one wants to read something they don’t understand – it’s off-putting and condescending. Apple knows this.

On its landing pages, you’ll find short, sharp paragraphs using simple words and avoiding techy jargon. Take for example, the landing page for the new iPad Air:

A ton of advanced technology. Less than half a kilo.

An incredible amount of power. So you can do so much more
.

The whole page is a lesson in how to make tech content exciting, not dull – even the biggest technophobe will understand what it means.

Apple engages rather than alienates by keeping its language simple and straightforward. Then, once it has your attention, it will go on to cover the technical/spec aspects on the next click in.

2. Don’t be afraid to start a sentence with ‘and or ‘but’

Your teachers may have taught you to never start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’, but Apple does it all the time.

Both words are conjunctions, which can be used to join together sentences. The prescriptivist grammarian’s argument against starting a sentence with a conjunction is that it implies an incomplete thought.

But the Oxford Dictionaries blog - along with many other authorities – says this is a stylistic preference rather than a grammatical rule.

By starting sentences with ‘and’ or ‘but’ Apple is able to transform one long sentence into two short sentences, thus making it easier for us to read and holding our attention.

3. Make your writing as beautiful as your products

Apple knows its products are well-designed objects of desire – and the copy designed to sell them is more than equal.

The writing is snappy and attention-grabbing. It sticks in your mind. Sentences repeat themselves, words rhyme, alliteration is employed.

A few examples:

Does even more, weighs even less

Do more in more places

It comes ready to work – and play

Leaner – and definitely meaner


We could go on, but you get the picture. Apple has a way with words, and borrows a tactic from the motor industry to turn lumps of plastic and metal into something truly beautiful.

4. Show how your products can enhance people’s lives

People want to buy tech that can improve their lives in some way. Apple understands this – and focuses on demonstrating how a product can fill a gap in someone’s life.

Rather than getting too bogged down in technical specifications, it presents the lifestyle benefits. The landing page for the MacBook Air, for instance, shows how the laptop will help people working on the go. It says:

All the power you want. All day long.

Up to 12 hours of battery life. It won’t call it a day until you do.

5. Choose your main USP and go for your life with it

Apple knows what it loves the most about each of its products, and makes sure people visiting its website know too.

People don’t really want a phone that does a million things badly; they want to buy something that does a few things superbly. Apple is a master of drilling down to each product’s key highlight.

Apple sold the iPod by saying ‘it holds a thousands songs’ – and before you know it we no longer have MP3 players, we have iPods.

6. Effective use of white space

You know the saying less is more? Apple does, and applies it to the layout of its pages.

White space has long been used as a design tool by the style press, and Apple too knows its value. By framing its products on pages with much white space, their qualities leap from the screen colours look brighter, text sharper, products much more impressive.

The landing page for the new iPad Air is minimalist – just 6 words, a huge image and a ton of white space.

…is all it says. It looks arty, chic, cool – and makes the reader want to know more.

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