Over the past couple of months, I’ve been beavering away, writing for clients who simply “can’t write” themselves. Now, I think everyone can write. It just comes easier to some folks than others. Just like juggling, cycling, running and singing. Some have a flair for it; others not so much. But everyone can do it.
So when it comes to writing and in particular, writing to wow clients and leads, there are a few tricks of the trade that us, copywriters, use without even thinking of them.
1. Use ‘You’
Use ‘You‘ a lot. I’d bet you’re more interested in your morning than mine. You’re more interested in where you’re going for lunch, than where I am going. That’s totally fine. Us human beings are naturally self-interested. We want to know where we can get the latest and greatest, how our problems can be solved and how lives can be made better.
So if you use ‘you‘ in your copy, people will automatically see themselves. So key rule – use ‘you’ a lot in your copy.
2. Spell-Check EVERYTHING
A very simple but often under-used tip. Many people rely on word processing software to spell check and that’s fine. But in 99% of documents that I see, there is a word incorrectly spelt. If you’re unsure about how a word is spelt, check it out. Verify it.
When I was at school and I didn’t know how to spell a word, the teacher used to say “check the dictionary”. I always found that a bit bizarre because if you can’t spell a word, how can you look it up the dictionary? But as I got older (and wiser), I realised that once you verified a word yourself, you’d never misspell it again. So don’t rely on the word processing software. Spell-check manually as well.
3. Read Aloud
I’m often found reading aloud very s l o w l y. But this helps you notice if you’re missing a word or included a word that affects the flow or meaning of a sentence.
Taking tip 2 and tip 3 together, just look at the words ‘than‘ and ‘that‘. They are two words that the word processing spell-check doesn’t pick up. And why would it? Both words are spelled correctly. I see a lot of copy that has ‘than‘ instead of ‘that‘. And vice versa. The word is spelt correctly but the sentence loses its meaning. Reading aloud – whether slowly or at normal reading speed – will help you notice little things that can be corrected with ease.
4. Notice your foibles
Keep a little note of what you always write in your copy. I regularly use ‘that’ instead of ‘which‘. No great reason other than it’s what I do. I keep a note of it so when I read back over my copy, I’m aware of it and can change the copy around. The more you practice writing, the more you’ll notice your own little writing idiosyncrasies. You can then change the words if you want when editing.
5. Go for a walk
Don’t hit the publish button or the send button without letting the copy settle. If you’re familiar with a pint of Guinness, then you know the pint must be allowed to settle somewhat before it’s finished off and handed over at the bar.
Copy is just like that. Write it. Edit it. Be comfortable with it. Leave it. You’ll come back to it with fresh eyes and you’ll be amazed how many errors you’ll pick up.
Now, go and use these 5 little secrets to write better sales copy. I’m waiting to hear your thoughts 🙂