May 21, 2022

4 Common Copywriting Mistakes (Examples Included)

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In January, I wrote a thread on X (formerly Twitter) that was pretty popular, racking up over 9,700 engagements.

It's my 2nd most popular Twitter thread of all time.

Interestingly enough, I had published the exact same thread 2 months prior and it received less than 5% of that engagement.

I took a look at the two threads side-by-side and it became pretty evident why one worked and one didn't.

The opening post on the failed thread was riddled with bad copywriting.

Bad copywriting kills good content

Copywriting is part art and part science.

The art comes from understanding why some content resonates, and the science comes from observing what you've already written.

If you don't spend time studying copywriting and analyzing your previous content, your writing will likely never take off.

To give you a jump start, here are 4 common copywriting mistakes, and how to fix them.

Let's dive in.

4 common copywriting mistakes 

  1. An uninteresting opening line
  2. Poorly designed formatting
  3. Using complicated jargon or sophisticated grammar
  4. Pointing fingers rather than alleviating blame

1. An uninteresting opening line

When writing for social media, 95% of the success comes down to the opening line.

I often refer to it as the "scroll-stopper", meaning it's intended to get people to stop scrolling and pay attention.

Here are 4 simple ways to write a killer opening line:

Example #1: Make it dramatic

Example #2: Use a polarizing statement

Example #3: Start, but don't finish, an interesting story

Example #4: Share a big accomplishment that reels people in

2. Poorly designed formatting

People often say, "Content is King and format is Queen."

I'd argue it's often the reverse. If people can't easily digest your content, then it's highly unlikely that they'll actually read it to completion.

Here are 3 common formatting mistakes I see:

Example #1: Not utilizing white space

Example #2: Using hashtags instead of writing like a person

Example #3: Not understanding where lines break

3. Using complicated jargon or sophisticated grammar

People love to show off their sophisticated grammar. It makes them feel smart and it's great for impressing the easily impressed.

But for writing? It's Kryptonite.

Your readers should be able to read and fully comprehend what you've written. If they can't, you risk losing them.

Would this post keep your attention?

4. Pointing fingers rather than alleviating blame

Lastly, nobody wants to feel bad about the situation they're in.

That means, you never want to blame your reader for their current predicament. It's always someone (or something) else that is keeping them from realizing their dreams.

Here are a few examples of "throwing rocks" at an "enemy', instead of your reader.

Example 1

Bad: "Your poor diet can lead to being overweight. Here's how to change it."

Good: "The processed food industry benefits by keeping you overweight. Here's how to fight back!"

Example 2

Bad: "If you want to get promoted at work, you're going to need a plan."

Good: "Most corporations lack well-defined career paths. Here's how to get promoted at work, even if your company career pathing stinks."

And those are the 4 most common copywriting mistakes I see creators making. I hope this issue helps you solve some of them (or at least be more cognizant!).

If you're interested in learning more about how to write exceptionally good content for LinkedIn, consider joining 20,000+ students and 50 LinkedIn Top Voices in my course, The LinkedIn Operating System.

If Twitter and a newsletter aligns more with your strategy, consider The Content Operating System for creating 6-12 revenue generating pieces of quality content.

That's all for today.

See you next week.


1. An uninteresting opening line

2. Poorly designed format

3. Complicated jargon

4. Blaming your audience

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3. The Content Operating System​:  Join 10,000 students in my multi-step content creation system. Learn to create a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week.

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