So, you feel as though you might be lacking some skills in the wordsmithing department. Well I have some good and bad news for you. The bad news is that, like a fine wine, your copywriting will only get better with time. The good news, is that we can speed up that process slightly by providing you with some quality techniques to keep in mind the next time you flex your writing fingers. The following is a short list comprised of a few important tactics that I have discovered in my short time. These few simple tips and tricks have helped me immensely with my writing abilities and have pushed me to strive for constant improvement. So, without further ado, here they are…
1. Express yourself with the art of commas
The utilisation of commas can turn your boring, essay-sounding sentence into something fun and enjoyable to read. However, it’s important not to push these techniques in a forceful way. In my time, the easiest tactic I have found is to insert them where they feel the most natural. Adding your punctuation in organically, aiming towards the beginning of sentences as well as the end, will see your copy improve exponentially. Here’s a great article which discusses, in depth, the utilisation of commas to add meaning, rather than inserting one each time you desire to “take a breath”.
And remember, the proper utilisation of a comma can mean the difference between:
“Most of the time, travellers worry about their luggage” and
“Most of the time travellers worry about their luggage”
(There’s another example that involves a man named Jack and his horse but I’ll let you Google that one…) On to the next tip!
2. Simplifying with dot points
Moving right along to my next point involving the physical setup of your paragraphs. If you’re writing a fact or content-heavy piece of copy, which involves a lot of pros, cons, facts, or points, then you’re more than likely going to be better off compiling them into an easy-to-read list. Why’s that you ask?
a) Major points of your copy will easily stand out against a sea of words.
b) The human eye will generally search for dot points and numbered lists first.
c) Dot points allow you to simplify your pros, cons, etc.
d) No need to try and weave them into a legible and most-likely bulky sentence.
e) Take this recent article of ours for example – simple lists are collated throughout the blog to improve readability.
Padding out your copy with one or two dot point or numbered sections will ensure that you maintain readability and give your readers a break from lengthy paragraphs. However, it goes without saying that if your piece of copy does not require dot or numbered points, then don’t try to force them.
3. The Thesaurus is your best friend
Nobody likes hearing the same descriptive words over and over again. So, if you’ve utilised the word “beautiful” in one sentence, it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid that specific word for the rest of the paragraph. Replacing the word beautiful with gorgeous, stunning, striking or countless others will increase word flow and ensure that you’re not only being descriptive, but also painting a picture for your readers. Pushing yourself to increase your range of vocabulary will advance your writing immensely and make your copy far more engaging for your readers.
4. Back yourself up with research
There’s nothing more embarrassing than being asked to back up a point you have made and having to reply with “I can’t”. If you’re writing about something that requires facts and figures, then you need to be able to support your findings.
Use this example; you’re writing a blog and have made a somewhat vague point which has potentially confused your readers, but luckily, you’ve remembered this blog. So rather than leaving your vague argument and moving on, you link your trusty piece of evidence, which allows you to stop your readers’ confusion in its tracks. Letting you throw some evidence their way before they have a chance to question your writing. Here’s a recent example of one of our well-researched SEO articles published by Mumbrella.
And if not for your pride, do it to aid in your own career growth and knowledge expansion. Research doesn’t stop at school and university – the world around you is constantly expanding with a vast range of technology undergoing endless improvement. In our profession, research is key when our services rely on being an expert on every industry update. This then allows us to stay ahead of the game, evolve our processes and pass on our knowledge to clients and readers.
5. Personalise your writing
Unless you’re writing an assignment, factual news article or a landing page for a somewhat “serious” business, then you will generally have the flexibility to add some slight personalisation. This is especially true when writing blog articles. Involving the reader in what you are writing is one of the easiest ways to encourage their engagement. Addressing the reader occasionally with a proposition or a rhetorical question will ensure your copy is maintaining its relevancy by speaking directly to the user.
In time, adding your own personality and flair to your copy will become easier. But until then, edit like a madman, practise your wordsmithing and don’t forget to fake it till you make it.