in other words

Three simple tricks to spring clean your copywriting

Coralie Fernando - Monday, February 23, 2015

With just a few moments to make an impact and a lasting first impression, words can play as much of a role in your reader’s visual journey as graphical or photographical imagery. To pack a punch with your content, use words that get straight to the point. By being direct, you’ll not only promote confidence; you’ll build credibility with your audience. Support your key messages with visual cues and you’ll also tap more deeply into your readers’ psyche, engaging them in a more profound way.

You could be selling robots that tear through the ironing whilst simultaneously massage your temples and serve you espresso martinis, but if you draw out and complicate your language, chances are your audience won’t take the time to read about it, let alone buy it. With this in mind (and spring around the corner), I’ve put together a few pointers to spruce up your copywriting and help you pack a punch in the first round.

1. Edit. Edit. Edit.

While there are many writers proclaiming to nail it in the first draft, I know I’ve never been one of them, especially when it comes to long copy. Sometimes my best ideas come to me in the middle of the night, or I could be inspired by something completely random out on a walk. Rarely do the gems come to me in one sitting at my laptop.

Let your stream of consciousness flow in the first run just to get your ideas out on the page. From there, take some (mental) time out to let the mind wander a little. Then, come back to it with fresh eyes and edit, edit, edit.

2. Eliminate ‘There is/are’

This phrase contributes zero to your content if you’re looking to inspire! Obviously, feel free to use them in the first draft when you’re getting your ideas out on the page. When it comes to the second round of editing though, you really want to banish the ‘ises’ entirely. Usually this simply entails readjusting your sentence structure slightly. For example:

'There is a new potato chip on the market that’s fat free and tasty.' Consider instead:

'Don’t miss out on the latest fat-free and delicious chip, available now!'

Everything that was needed to keep the sentence strong already existed. Removing ‘there is’ simply strengthens the sentence and delivers more impact.

3. Get verb-acious

Creative and smart verb usage immediately adds oomph and pizzazz to your writing. We are so lucky to communicate in a language packed with them! So for your first edit, proof read and highlight all uses of the verb ‘to be’ and make a point of replacing them with something a little more descriptive. By employing more powerful verbs, you’ll instantly create a more visual image in the mind of the reader, thereby inspiring their imagination. With a plethora of verbs available to us, one of the biggest challenges can be knowing which ones to use and when. Your choice of verbs will absolutely frame the image you wish to portray. Consider, for example:

‘Coralie ate her burger’ versus the following:

- Coralie wolfed down her burger
  • - Coralie nibbled on her burger
  • - Coralie gnawed at her burger
  • - Coralie pecked at her burger

Painting a more colourful picture with your writing needn’t be too daunting a task. The right verb can totally transform your key message, and if you have mere moments to make an impact, it can be significantly more effective than a long drawn-out description.

These are pretty simple tricks, but hopefully you’ll find them useful. I do! Get in touch on if you have any questions or would like some proof reading help.

*image courtesy of full aperture