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11 Bad Copywriting Examples: Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Updated on August 20, 2023

Why wait for blunders when you can learn from other copywriters’ mistakes?

And it’s not just about avoiding errors. It’s a shortcut to enhancing your copywriting prowess.

I’ll show you real-life bad copywriting examples. 

From eyebrow-raising headlines to head-scratching CTAs. 

This article will help you sidestep the pitfalls other copywriters fell into. 

And I’ll even provide copywriting tips to make them better.


Let’s plunge in. 

What Is Bad Copywriting?

Bad copywriting is writing copy that lacks clarity, creativity and persuasiveness. This usually leads to disengagement from the audience and lesser to no conversions.

And it doesn’t fail to convert… it harms your brand’s reputation.

This usually happens because of:

  • Insufficient research for both product and audience.
  • Rushing the writing process
  • Poor copywriting skills
  • Ignoring brand voice and tone
  • And much more

Knowing these root causes helps you prevent writing bad copy.

Examples of Bad Copywriting

Here are some examples of bad copywriting to steer away from.

11 Bad Copywriting ExamplesPin
  1. Lacking Clarity
  2. Neglecting the Product’s Unique Selling Point
  3. Overemphasizing Brand Identity
  4. Disregarding Customer Awareness Levels
  5. Providing Insufficient Information
  6. Showing No Proof of Claims
  7. Using Clichés or Overused Phrases
  8. Snooze-Worthy Headlines
  9. Weak Call-to-Action
  10. No Call-to-Action
  11. Faking Urgency

1. Lacking Clarity

Lacking Clarity ExamplePin

High-converting copy hinges on one thing: CLARITY.

Before being persuasive, a good copy must be clear.

Customers depend on concise information to decide.

So unclear copy can lead to delayed actions or indecision.

Stick this to your mind: Confusion is the enemy of conversion.

“A FUN and effective way to spice up your routine.”

The headline lacks context about the product.

Is it a workout routine, meal prep guide, or gym attire?

Who knows?

There are no key details to create meaningful audience connections.

How To Make This Copy Good?

To enhance clarity, we can add context about the product and target readers’ goals.

Rewritten: “7-minute workout routine for beginners to achieve your summer body goals.”

Notice how the revised headline specifies the:

  • Product: Workout routine
  • Target audience: Beginners
  • Audience’s Desires: Summer body goals.

This revision is specific, engaging, and informative. Overall, better for reader comprehension.

2. Neglecting the Product’s Unique Selling Point

No USP ExamplePin

Neglecting to spotlight what differentiates your product SLASHES its perceived value.

And this results in missed chances to attract your target audience.

“Discover 21 Ways to Find Clients”

The headline doesn’t clarify what sets these 21 tactics apart from available guides.

Think about this…

There are countless articles online on finding copywriting clients

And readers have access to these resources for FREE. So why share an email for what’s searchable?

How To Make This Copy Good?

We need to provide the reader with a distinct benefit. 

“Discover 21 Untapped Resources to Find High-Paying Clients”

The phrase “Untapped Resources” suggests that the information in this e-book is unique from other generic guides.

And this compels the reader for deeper engagement. 

3. Overemphasizing Brand Identity

Overemphasizing Brand ExamplePin

Branding your creator business is important…

But endless talking about your brand instead of addressing audience needs will harm you. 

People prioritize a product’s benefits over constant brand self-promotion.

“We help organizations create impactful digital products.”

The headline uses “We,” spotlighting the company’s actions and capabilities.

There is no clear indication of how the company’s services will benefit customers. 

How To Make This Copy Good?

The word “Let’s” involves the customer. And that’s excellent for fostering customer partnership.

The phrase “Your ideas” acknowledges that the customer’s vision and goals are important. 

The phrase “turn your ideas to reality” shifts the focus to the customer’s desired outcomes. 

While branding matters, customer value remains the top priority.  

4. Disregarding Customer Awareness Levels

Disregarding Customer Awareness Levels ExamplePin

Articulating what’s in your reader’s mind is the FASTEST way to connect with them deeply. 

That’s why copywriting demands grasping the customer’s buying journey.

It’s all about stages of awareness… 

Because you shouldn’t approach a new lead the same way with your loyal customers. 

“Want my free e-book?”

This copy promotes lead magnets. That means the target reader is someone new to the brand. 

The headline assumes the readers are familiar with the author…

And this contradicts the purpose of this copy – capturing new leads.

How To Make This Copy Good?

“The only exercises you need for an aesthetic body.”

This headline answers the reader’s question and provides a clear value proposition. 

A stronger approach to pique the interest of new leads is focusing on what the reader seeks.

5. Providing Insufficient Information

Insufficient Details ExamplePin

Copywriting demands brevity…

But when brevity gets in the way of providing sufficient information about the product…

That’s when things go south. 

Incomplete details lead to doubts and hesitation.  

These prevent your customers from making a confident purchasing decision.

“We are influencer marketing.”

So what?

The copy is too vague and lacks specific details about what “influencer marketing” entails. 

It does not explain:

  • How the company operates
  • What services it offers
  • How it can benefit potential customers

How To Make This Copy Good?

“Reach your target audience with Our Expert Influencer Marketing Services”

The headline now mentions “Expert Influencer Marketing Services.”

The phrase conveys that the company specializes in influencer marketing. Which can help potential customers understand the services in detail.

Plus the headline emphasizes the benefits (“Reach your target audience.”) 

This helps the readers understand how the company’s services can benefit their business.

Overall, the rewritten headline provides enough details to help readers make an informed decision. 

6. Showing No Proof of Claims

Unsupported Claims ExamplePin

Potential customers are more likely to believe claims when they are backed by evidence.

Without proof, your claims may appear exaggerated…

And this will diminish the credibility of your product or service.

“Tap into all the benefits of a stronger core with our brand new program, Ab-alicious! Let’s go, Team! We promise you will ab-solutely love this!”

The copy mentions “all the benefits of a stronger core.” But it did not provide concrete details or evidence of how the program will deliver those promised benefits. 

And the wordplay (e.g. ab-alicious) adds excitement but lacks objective support.

Without tangible evidence, customers will think of these claims as mere “hype.”

How To Make This Copy Good?

“Our Proven Program Delivers Stronger Cores and Rave Reviews!”

The phrases “Proven Program” and “Rave Reviews” indicate that the effectiveness of Ab-alicious has been verified through results and evidence.

Pro Tip: Add client testimonials to bolster your claims.  

7. Using Clichés or Overused Phrases

Generic Headline ExamplePin

Clichés in copy adds no zing and no zap to your copy. Just snooze.

Overused phrases lack originality. And will only make your brand forgettable. 

“Health, Lifestyle, and Fitness Start With You.”

Heard it before? Bet you have!

But this might be your first time seeing this brand.

How To Make This Copy Good?

“A Path to a Vibrant and Balanced Life: Your Journey to Optimal Wellness Starts Here.”

The rewritten version uses more original and fresh language. No more overused phrases.

This helps the copy stand out and catch the audience’s attention.

Also, by addressing the audience directly with “Your Path” and “Your Journey,” the rewritten version establishes a personal connection.

It makes your potential customers feel more involved and engaged.

8. Snooze-Worthy Headlines

Snooze Worth Headline ExamplePin

The single most important part of a copy is the HEADLINE. 

A lackluster headline? Your copy’s a lost cause.

“Restaurant food, takeaway, and groceries. Delivered.” 

This headline lacks the “oomph.” And it does not entice readers to learn more or consider the service as an appealing option.

How To Make This Copy Good?

“Delicious Delights Delivered to Your Doorstep”

Notice how I intentionally played with “D” words to add a little wittiness to the copy. 

Witty copy is more likely to grab AND retain readers’ attention. 

9. Weak Call-to-Action

Weak Call To Actions ExamplePin

A weak call-to-action CRUSHES your conversion rates. 

Because vague, unclear or slow CTAs invite hesitation or inaction.

The phrase “Click here” provides: 

  • No context
  • No purpose
  • No urgency

And as you might have guessed, the reader has no clear reason to act.

How To Make This Copy Good?

“Reserve my spot”

The phrase “Reserve my spot” uses action-oriented language that clearly tells the next steps.

“My Spot” also conveys a sense of exclusivity. The phrase makes users feel that they are securing a valuable opportunity or limited offer.

That gives users a reason to take action by implying that they might miss out on something valuable if they don’t act quickly.

10. No Call-to-Action

No Call To Action ExamplePin

What’s worse than a weak CTA? No CTA. 

The absence of the call-to-action is a “sin” in direct response copywriting

Without a clear direction, how would your customers know what they should do next?

The copy will lose its purpose. And all you’ll have are missed opportunities.

How To Make This Copy Good?

“Book a Coaching Call with Me”

The verb “Book” clearly tells the user what action to take, which is to schedule a coaching call.

The phrase “with me” implies the user will receive personalized coaching.

11. Faking Urgency

Fake Urgency ExamplePin

A surefire way to damage your brand’s integrity is to betray the trust of your audience. 

And fake urgency in copy does just that. 

It yields short-term gains but sacrifices customer loyalty.

This countdown timer is never-ending. 

It’s a tactic to pressure customers to take a “limited-time discount” offer.

How To Make This Copy Good?

The discount in itself is an excellent offer.

I believe false urgency isn’t needed.

I’d suggest removing the timer to be transparent about the offer.

If it ends… It ENDS.

How Does Bad Copywriting Affect You?

Poor copywriting can significantly harm your creator business. 

Here are the top reasons why you should shy away from bad copywriting. 

  • Reduced conversions: A copy that fails to communicate the value of a product or service is NOT convincing. No wonder why people would not convert. 
  • Negative brand image: Bad copy ruins your brand’s reputation because it makes you look unprofessional and uncaring. Over time, this will reduce your customers’ loyalty. 
  • Wasted resources: Investing in ineffective copy wastes time, effort, and money on marketing campaigns that don’t yield results.
  • Missed opportunities: Bad copywriting can deter even the highest-quality leads from converting and leave a negative impression. Regardless of the strong relationship you’ve built. 
  • High bounce rates: Unclear copy on your website or landing pages drives visitors away quickly, causing a spike in bounce rates.
  • Competitive disadvantage: In a competitive creator space, effective communication is critical to stand out. Bad copywriting will put you at a disadvantage compared to more compelling content from your peers.
  • Weakened authority: Subpar copy undermines your credibility and authority, causing your audience to doubt your expertise.

Now that you understand the effects of poor copywriting on your business…

Let’s explore ways to prevent these issues.

How To Avoid Bad Copywriting?

So you wanna know how to dodge bad copywriting pitfalls like seasoned pros?

Let me show ya. 

Here are some tips to help you craft a high-converting copy. 

  • Know your audience: Do thorough research to understand your target audience’s preferences, pain points, and language to create copy that resonates with them.
  • Keep it simple: Use simple and concise language to convey your message effectively. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complex sentence structures.
  • Edit and proofread: Never skip editing and proofreading. It will help you eliminate grammar and spelling errors.
  • Highlight benefits: Show how you make lives better. Focus on the ‘what’s in it for them’ angle, not just technical details.
  • Test your copy: A/B test different copies to see what resonates best with your audience and drives better results.
  • Avoid clickbait or fake urgencies: Be honest and transparent in your copy. Avoid misleading tactics to lure your audience. 
  • Create a clear call-to-action: Craft clear and action-oriented CTAs so your readers know exactly what you want them to do next.

By avoiding bad copywriting practices and following these guidelines, you can create compelling copy to scale your business. 

Bad Copywriting Examples (FAQs)

What Are the Common Mistakes in Copywriting That Can Hurt a Brand’s Image

Aside from the examples mentioned in this article, the most common copywriting mistakes include:

• Typo and grammatical errors
• Inconsistent tone across multiple platforms
• Adding lots of technical terms and jargon without a simple explanation
• Insensitive to digital culture

How To Avoid Using Jargon in Copywriting?

The best way to avoid jargon in copywriting is to use analogies and metaphors.

When you’re explaining complex concepts, relating them to everyday experiences can help readers understand and relate to the message.

What Should I Prioritize in My Copywriting To Maintain a Positive Brand Image?

You should prioritize learning as much as you can about your audience. Understanding your target audience will help you tailor your copy that will resonate with them. 

How Can I Proofread and Edit My Copy To Avoid Mistakes?

Reading your copy aloud is the most effective way to identify awkward or confusing sentences.

Also, try proofreading from the last sentence to the beginning. 

This technique sharpens your focus on individual words and phrases, eliminating distractions from the overall message.

Can You Cite an Example Where a Good Headline Could Have Saved a Bad Copy?

60 Miles Rolls Royce HeadlinePin

One example of a good headline saving bad copy is the famous advertisement for the Rolls-Royce car in 1958. The headline read, “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”.

This headline was so powerful and attention-grabbing that the rest of the copy didn’t matter. The headline effectively conveyed the car’s luxury, quality, and quietness, making it memorable and enticing to potential buyers.

Despite the weak copy, the headline alone created a lasting impression and contributed to the advertisement’s success.

To Sum Up

Phew, That’s a lot of bad copywriting in a single article.

In a nutshell…

Bad copywriting makes your audience lose interest and can make your brand look bad.  

But knowing about these mistakes doesn’t mean you won’t make them. 

But you have awareness.

So it’s easier to see them when you check your writing.

And that’s how you become a copywriter of legends.

brendan aw black pic

About Brendan Aw

I’m an ex-marketing executive for 6 & 7-figures high-growth startups turned writer, creator & entrepreneur. I share my learnings on digital entrepreneurship, personal finance, and remote working while helping run my family’s crystal chandelier business.

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