13 Smart Strategies To Write Better Copy
All professional copywriters have certain "tricks of the trade" when it comes to hitting the mark with copy. From creating the right idea to developing it into full copy with its own voice and tone, each of these experts has a method they apply to ensure that the composition fulfills the creator's requirements.
As easy as copywriting might seem to business professionals, dedicated copywriters know it’s a learned skill with its own required talent. All professional copywriters have certain “tricks of the trade” when it comes to hitting the mark with copy. From creating the right idea to developing it into full copy with its own voice and tone, each of these experts has a method they apply to ensure that the composition fulfills the creator’s requirements.
What are these secret tricks and tips that pro copywriters use to analyze and refine their copy into something worthwhile? Below, 13 professionals from Forbes Communications Council share the strategies that they use specifically when it comes to refining their writing to a professional level.
- Use Strong Verbs
Didn’t your English teacher always tell you to use strong verbs? I still think about that advice all the time. I also imagine a voice speaking the words, which humanizes the copy and makes it more memorable. Also pay close attention to the rhythm, ebb and flow of your sentences. Just like music, good copy has a natural and distinctive flow. - Leah Schloss, Baker McKenzie
- Have A List Of Brand-Defining Words
Have a list of words or phrases that represent your brand’s voice open on your computer. Utilize the list for inspiration as you are writing copy, and you will find that you tend to stay on brand more often. - Heather Dueitt, MyPoint Credit Union
- Understand The Audience And Context
Understand the public the copy is written for (e.g., personas) and the context in which it will be used (e.g., the stage of the marketing cycle). Use these as the defining factors for making the headline intriguing, balancing between weaving in emotions and suggesting actionable steps, and selecting the tone that makes these three components flow without fracture or discontinuity. - Roy Hutchinson, Deem Finance LLC
Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
- Let Your Content Breathe
Like a fine wine, good copy needs to air out before it’s ready for your audience to taste. After you write something, switch tasks and forget about it. (Really!) When you come back to your copy a few hours or – if the deadline permits – a few days later, you’ll be able to analyze its creative import with fresh eyes. - Melissa Kandel, little word studio
- Make It Intriguing
When writing a title for a byline, webinar, blog post, research report or any important email, I always ask myself, “On a scale of ‘open immediately’ vs. ‘meh, might delete,’ where does this fall?” It should ideally have the intrigue of a BuzzFeed article without feeling like click-bait. I also like to throw in uncommon word choices or a grammar error on purpose so the reader knows I’m a real human. - Jackie Lamping, Modern Health
- Read Your Content Backward
Before you hit publish, read your content backwards. Start at the end and read every sentence from the period to the capital letter. You’ll be shocked at how your brain will add words that are missing or will read misspelled words the proper way. It’s a very straightforward and impactful way to look at your content from a different perspective. - Dominic Garcia, Comet.ml
- Read It Out Loud To Yourself
Read the content out loud to yourself. Almost always, when we read out loud our brain hears nuances in voice and tone that the eyes can’t pick up on. It also helps you pick up on grammar mistakes. - Tracy Sestili, Fountain
- Get Feedback From Someone Else
One strategy that has worked for me is to get someone else to read through it once and give feedback – ideally someone outside the team. It is amazing to see the kind of gaps that a fresh pair of eyes can see. - Jyoti Khan
- Manage Your Topics Wisely
Manage your topics wisely. Create a list of relevant topics you will like to see content around and work off of that. When you finish creating the list, you can make sure it matches your goals and objectives for the time frame you plan to publish it. This is the most effective way to save time and plan ahead your content strategy. This rule is also good for video content and image content. - Kobi Ben-Meir, Edge
- Have Regular Debriefs With Sales
One specific strategy that’s been successful is having regular debriefs with your Sales leads. They hear firsthand what’s happening in the market, and those leads are often asked questions from potential customers about your company’s products, their unique challenges and industry needs. That intel will give you a great start for content ideation. - Eileen Canady, BST Global
- Keep It Simple
Coco Chanel said, “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” She was referring to fashion. We can apply the same theory to successful copywriting. I work in a highly technical industry – mining and natural resources. But I’m not highly technical! And neither are the majority of my intended audience. The English language contains so many words. Choose wisely. Choose simply. - Jill Stroeder, Canada Nickel Company
- Use Prime Numbers
Prime numbers are key! Good copy often has a handful of key points that will make it memorable for the reader. Distilling your message into a “top three” or “top five” list often makes it easier to read and absorb. Further adding structure and headings makes it easier for your readers to skim through, without needing to read every single word to understand where you are coming from. - Ajit Ghuman, Narvar
- Use Voice Transcription
The key to compelling copy is writing how you speak. Rather than trying to capture that tone in the first instance, create a series of questions and record you answering them via a smartphone. Take the recording and turn it into copy via transcription – it will make your message sound more genuine as it’s off the cuff and in natural language rather than overedited. - Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
First published on https://www.forbes.com/ October 23, 2020