Marketing

5 Quick fixes for your dodgy copy

You’re a doer.

You’re a fixer.

You’re a marketer.

You’re a seller.

But, for some reason, you’re just not a writer.

I mean, it sounds great in your head, doesn’t it? And you know all about your product and your business, so that means you should be the best person to write about it.

But somehow, when you write it down or type it out, it just doesn’t sound quite right.

It’s not coming across how you intended.

So, what to do? Of course, you guessed it… you need to hire a great copywriter!

But, just in case you’re not quite there yet, I’m going to let you into a few basic copywriting secrets that will help you fix your slightly dodgy copy.

1. Read your text out aloud

Once you’ve written down what you want to say, go over it again but this time, read it out aloud.

This is crucial to understanding how someone else is reading your text.

You will find out if certain words, phrases or sentences sound strange and if they need to be adjusted.

Are you re-reading sentences to get a grasp of what they mean? That’s a sure-fire way of realising that’s what your reader will be doing too. It means your sentence doesn’t flow properly and should be restructured.

And once you’ve read your copy aloud and edited it, do it again.

2. Every word doesn’t matter

When we want to get across a point to someone else, most people automatically say more than they need to.

But when you’re attempting to provide clarity in your writing, saying as little as possible often provides greater understanding and better flow.

For instance, which sentence better conveys the point?

“Your About Us page will help to continue to educate your leads and ensure it gets them to the right resources for when they are ready to decide to buy.”

Or

“Your About Us page enhances education and can drive leads to the buy decision.”

Removing unnecessary words and getting straight to the point often enhances understanding and clarity.

3. Avoid repetition

Repetition can be very annoying for readers. Even if you’re using the same word in different contexts, it can be easily corrected.

For instance:

“I got home just before seven o’clock. Just my luck! It was my aunt calling about her cat who had just ran across the road and used up one of his nine lives.”

Could be changed to:

“As I got home that evening, my aunt called. Worse luck! Her cat had just ran across the road and used up one of his nine lives. "

The second sentence is stronger, shorter and avoids repetition. Adjust syntax and use a thesaurus!

4. Tighten

In my previous roles in investment research, I wrote countless documents on companies and industries. Most of these documents were anywhere between 2-100 pages long, although most in the 10-25 page range.

ALL of them needed one summary paragraph on page 1.

Condensing so much, often technical, information into just a few simple sentences is a skill in itself. It teaches you to find the most important points and convey them in a compelling and actionable way.

Short, sharp and tight.

This is not easy but being able to tighten your sentences is important when writing marketing copy.

To master this, first attempt to write your paragraph into a LinkedIn style connection box that prevents you from typing more than 300 characters. And once you’ve been able to do that, condense it down to 140 characters – the limit for a Twitter post.

5. Delete

Sometimes you just know that what you’ve written doesn’t sound right.

You’ve read it, re-read it aloud, changed it around and edited some more but still, you’re just not sure what’s wrong with it.

It happens. And in this circumstance, you have full authority to use the ‘Delete’ button.

Yes, just delete the whole thing. If it isn’t adding anything to your piece or you just can’t convey it in the right way, it is better not said at all.

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