One of my copywriting niches is the adult industry. Until recently, this has mostly involved writing for sex toy and lingerie companies. But in the last few months I’ve had a handful of commissions from independent escorts. One was a full website copywriting project, while the other was a spruce up of their profile page on an advertising platform.
Although I’ve interviewed dozens of sex workers and adult industry performers, writing marketing copy for this section of the adult indie was a new one for me. Before attempting to write, I took my time doing my research.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear what you’re thinking. “I bet you took your time, Rose.”
Honestly, I think I’ve been working in and around the adult industry so long I’m immune to it all. It’s just another business, another industry. Sex work is work. I followed my same copywriting process as I would any industry.
I spent several hours reading through different escorting websites — both independent and advertising platforms — to get a sense of what was out there, their tone and the messages they were communicating.
While many of them made sense, technically, I felt the copy could have worked harder. And I kept seeing the same copywriting mistakes across multiple sites.
Without analytics or speaking to the escorts, I can’t comment on whether the copywriting mistakes I spotted were having a direct impact on their business but there were a couple of best practice pitfalls I kept seeing.
If you’re an escort and putting a website together for your clients, here are five copywriting mistakes you’d do well to avoid.
1. Ditch the ‘welcome’ message
One of the hardest lines of copy you’ll write is the headline for your homepage or profile. This single line has to communicate your unique selling point (USP), create intrigue and address your ideal audience.
That’s a lot to juggle in a small space.
During my research, I saw lots of folks with, ‘Hello and welcome gentlemen, ladies and couples.’
Not only does this sound generic and cookie-cutter because so many people were using it, but it’s a missed opportunity. Your headline is the first piece of copy someone reads. It must be compelling, enticing and highlight what’s different about you and your service.
Saying “hello” doesn’t do that.
Headline writing is difficult but if I can give you three tips for a quick headline fix, it would be these:
- Pick out what makes you different to any other escort.
- Explain how this difference benefits your audience.
- Try to mention who you do it for.
Number three might be difficult to fit into the headline, so no dramas if you don’t make it. But definitely aim for point 1 and 2.
To give you an example, an effective headline could be:
Relax and unwind in the company of an adventurous, kinky companion so your next business trip is one to remember.
OK, this isn’t the snappiest headline but I’ve identified a difference (I’m adventurous and kinky), explained how it benefits them (a chance to relax and unwind) and mentioned who I do it for (professionals who travel often).
It tells someone a lot more about me and my business than saying “Hello”.
2. Making more of your features
Having touched on benefits in point one, it makes sense to dive a little deeper into this subject.
In copywriting-land we talk a lot about highlighting benefits over features. This is because good copy isn’t really about the product or your business. It’s about your client and how you product or your business makes their life easier, or better. People are only interested in themselves.
Wherever possible, if you’re explaining something about yourself always try to link it back to why it’s important to the client. For escorts, I often saw folks list their physical features and interests.
While it’s useful for potential clients to know what these features are, it’ll be even more interesting to them if you explain how these features and characteristics benefit them.
To give you an example, let’s say you love gaming and cosplay. You then need to spell out how your personality trait benefits your client.
It could mean:
- You’ve got a huge dress-up wardrobe so they never see you in the same outfit twice.
- You can satisfy a huge number of gaming roleplay fantasies.
- You love all kinds of games, from the ones you play on the computer to those you enjoy in the privacy of the bedroom. And you’ve got a playful imagination to match…
That one seems quite straightforward because it’s pretty unique. But what if you say one of your best features are your legs? How could having great legs benefit your client?
- They look amazing in heels and a skirt, that your client can enjoy the sight of all evening.
- You’ve got a huge range of stockings and tights for clients to choose how to dress your legs.
- You enjoy close embraces and wrapping your long legs around those you feel close to.
You can get pretty playful with these. There are so many ways you can put a spin on your chosen features and personality traits so it relates back to client benefits. I’ve done it with my love of heavy metal on this page.
3. Maintain a consistent tone
Different website pages have different purposes. The about page tends to be informative and entertaining, whereas etiquette and booking pages are often functional. But all of these pages should maintain a similar tone of voice.
The trap I was spotting was the tone of home, about and service pages sounding very friendly, and playful. But the tone and language used on etiquette and booking pages were very straight talking.
I get there are a lot of tire kickers out there and you need to weed those people out. But there were so many that had such a sharp change of tone on those pages compared to the warm, welcoming tone on the about and home pages that there was a clear disconnect. It made part of the site feel disingenuous.
If you struggle with this on your site, I suggest reading your copy out loud. Make small language changes using words and phrases that you use in conversation so it sounds like you throughout.
A great example of how to keep a consistent tone, even on the very functional pages, can be found on the ASOS site. Take a read of their Returns Policy. It still sounds light, breezy and engaging.
4. Let your copy breathe
Long paragraphs and winding sentences are difficult to read. They’re even harder to read on the screen of a mobile device.
Good web copy has what us marketing folk call ‘readability.’ There are a couple of things you can do to help make your copy more readable.
- Keep sentences short.
- Limit paragraphs to four or five sentences maximum.
- Leave plenty of white space between paragraphs and if possible, leave space between lines.
With this last one, it’s more of a design point rather than a copywriting point but it’s important to keep in mind.
5. Always check for errors
Being human means we make mistakes. And that’s OK. One or two typos slipping into copy is no biggie. But if you’re not a fan of writing or you’re writing in a non-native language, it’s always worth giving your copy a thorough edit.
Try stepping away from what you’ve written for a few hours. Or better still, days. Go back to it and check it over with fresh eyes.
If you’re not confident with editing, you could hire a freelance editor to help you out.
As well as working to keep your copy as error free as possible, editing highlights any structural oddities in your piece. There should be a logical flow to what you’ve written as you move from one paragraph to the next.
When you’re writing about yourself and writing a lot, it’s easy for tangents to drag you off in an irrelevant direction. As a result, your copy becomes long-winded and full of information that probably doesn’t interest your audience.
If you’re interested in learning how to improve your own copy with editing, read my copywriting quick win guide: How to edit your copy.
Learning from your copywriting mistakes
Copywriting isn’t easy. I’ve been writing professionally for 10 years and I still mess up. The best way to improve your writing is to tweak and play with your copy. It’ll come good over time.
These five copywriting errors I spotted may be the starting point for your copy revamp. If there’s anything you want a hand with — if you’ve got a headline you want me to look at or something you think sounds odd, but you can’t work out why — then my door’s open.