Copywriting is an art form that makes its way into more facets of daily life than we might realise. When it comes to brand building, it’s essential.
Much like public speaking, good copywriting often starts with an idea worth spreading, as the TED slogan goes. A unique perspective and position of expertise therefore tends to fundamentally drive good copywriting.
However, in terms of how those ideas are communicated, copywriting is a learned skill, one which anyone can and should refine. Some people are born communicators, with a natural ability to articulate their inner world and engage others. That said, we all stand to benefit from tips and tactics that copywriters, marketers, politicians, change agents and influential figures throughout history to convey their message and convince their audience.
Without further ado, here’s 8 particularly helpful copywriting tips and tricks.
- Practice stream of consciousness writing
Stream of consciousness writing is the act of writing continuously, with as few stops as you can manage. The content of what you write is not important. What’s important is building your ability to consistently write for an extended period of time, without being derailed or disrupted by abrupt stops and starts. This is an exercise in quantity, not necessarily quality. Write down whatever pops into your head and flows from your fingers, no editing and no pondering. Maybe you will surprise yourself with the latent thoughts and ideas that have been itching at your subconscious. You will finesse your ability to tap into a writer’s state of calm focus. Once you’ve mastered this ability, you can slowly practice being more critical and conscious of what you are actually writing.
- Focus On Structure & Flow
A logically structured article that flows seamlessly from one section to another is a fundamental characteristic of any well written piece. The best way to achieve this is to start at the beginning, when you’re planning out your article. Thinking carefully about the article objective, the primary point you’re trying to convey and supplementary points which should be structured in. Each section should serve a purpose and build upon the previous sections in a relevant way. One way that articles often end up disjointed and poorly structured is when the writer pulls together a wide range of disparate information and tries to tie everything together in one piece.
- Vary Sentence Length & Eliminate Unnecessary Words
By simply eliminating words that are unnecessary and varying the length of your sentences, your writing can easily become far more engaging. Using superfluous, excessive, flowery terminology only confuses and irritates the reader. See?
Unnecessary language is not only a dead giveaway that you’re overcompensating for a lack of knowledge or confidence but can frustrate and disengage the reader. It pays to re-read your content several times, scrutinizing over which words can be removed and which sentences can be reworked. Generally speaking, the more succinct your writing is, the clearer it is. If you can say the same thing in a way that’s simpler and doesn’t lose impact, your writing will improve.
Sentences which are all the same length are monotonous, and tend to drag on and on. It’s boring. However, there is another way. Notice how I’m now experimenting with sentences of varying length. I’m building my message up, taking the reader on a journey, drawing you in until I’m positive I have all of your attention, to finally drive home my point – vary sentence length. Your writing will not only speak, but sing.
- Tell A Story
Storytelling is an innate human capacity and a great way to draw your reader in and take them on a journey. Research the fundamental structure and characteristics of storytelling and consider your article and message from the perspective of, what is the challenge or who is the common enemy, what is the journey, who is the hero? Explaining concept by Transporting the reader to another reality is an effective way to engage them and help them understand concepts.
- Print to proofread.
Printing your copy to proofread it is a simple yet effective quality control measure. There’s something about reviewing your work in a different format that reframes your perspective and refreshes your eyes. Especially if you spend much of the day staring at a screen, your eye will catch more writing errors and sentences that stumble on the printed page.
- Create your writing rituals
Building certain rituals around writing over time can help you get into the zone and set strong precedents around the way you approach writing. There are certain no-brainers like turning off notifications and finding a distraction-free environment. You might also find other rules which work for you, like setting certain goals every time you put pen to paper. Speaking of, literally writing with pen on paper might be another way to send the message to your subconscious “hey, it’s time to tap into that internal literary genius”.
When it comes to getting in the writing zone, your audial habits also have a significant impact on your frame of mind. Whether it’s lo-fi hip hop, classical music or rain sounds – find what soundscape suits you best.
- Use metaphors to explain concepts
Metaphors are a fantastic way to help your reader wrap their head around what might be a complex and therefore difficult to explain concept. Whether it’s the plot and character development of a popular TV, a sporting event or something else, try and find something you can be confident your reader would already know. By explaining a situation, person or series of events in terms of its similarity to something the reader already understands, you’ve got a better chance of them fully absorbing the information.
- Leverage your unique style
Each of us are different and unique in our differences. If you can tap into your personal humour, mannerisms and the life experiences that shape them, your writing will have an irreplaceable quality to it. Think about your unique qualities that people close to you tend to appreciate. Don’t be afraid to ask them. You can then find ways to integrate these quirks and strengths into your writing.
Jack McCann is a digital marketing strategist at Splashbox. Splashbox is an innovativethat offers tailored design, marketing and technical solutions.