Want to have killer copy but aren’t ready to invest in a professional copywriter just yet? Don’t worry, with the tips below, you’ll be able to improve your writing straight away.
1: Read more
I can sense you rolling your eyes already, but there’s a reason why this point always comes up, no matter what genre of writing you’re attempting.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you can read, that you don’t need to. Reading more will expose you to different styles, genres, voices. It allows us to decide what we consider good writing and bad. The more you read, especially if you make the point of increasing the range of authors you read, the more tricks you’ll learn to incorporate into your own writing and the more bad habits you’ll learn to avoid.
2: Format your writing to be skim read
When it comes to web copy, we skim read it until something catches our attention and we stop to read. Generally speaking, the most common pattern is that of an upside down L. In other words, the first two to three lines are read in their entirety, and then only the first two or three words of each sentence thereafter are read until something catches our eye.
Keep this pattern in mind when formatting your post and be sure to make use of white space to break up text, as well as titles.
3: Quit reading
Wait, I know what you’re thinking. This is a complete contradiction to point number 1. Well…. Kind of. Quit reading bad copy. Reading is meant to be an enjoyable experience, whether you’re reading an informative article, newspaper, or even a work of fiction. Reading shouldn’t be a chore. A slog. So if it’s just too much hard work to get through something, quit. Toss it in the bin and move on to the next thing.
With the amount of content available in the digital landscape, why waste your time reading something that you just don’t enjoy?
4: Try something different
This is something that I’ll put my hands up and say I struggle with. I love fiction, but I really struggle with non-fiction books. I struggle so much with them that I can barely get past the first chapter before giving up. Now, while this agrees with the above point about quitting what you don’t enjoy, it comes at a price. It means that my designated reading usually fits into one genre—which happens to be fantasy fiction. And even then, a sub-genre of fantasy fiction.
If I could get myself out of this niche and open up my reading to a different genre, there is a lot I could learn and incorporate into my own writing. Can you relate? Probably.
5: Make notes and hand write copies
Do you ever read an article, or a chapter of a book, and then struggle to remember what actually happened or what was said? An exercise which could help you retain and process information is to read ten pages, and then take notes about what you’ve just read. Even a one paragraph summary can help your brain process the information, especially when reading long-form copy such as a book.
A similar exercise is copying word for word a piece of copy you like—this could be a landing page, an article or even part of a book—several times over, by hand. The thought is, we learn more when we hand write notes and if we copy something word for word, we can see frameworks and techniques we might know the theory behind, but struggle to put into practice ourselves.
You’ve now been equipped with five simple ways you can improve your own writing, but a bonus tip is simply: write what you’re passionate about.
In an age where everyone can be a writer, you need to find your voice and when you write about what you care about, it shows. Passion is contagious and writing in this digital playground has to be something more to stand out. Good writing not only informs, educates or entertains, it provokes reactions and ideas in the reader. And if you can generate that, your content will be cherished and shared, and as a writer, you will have done your job.
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