Let me tell you – deciding on the opening line of an article about excellent copy is a challenge. So allow me to breeze right past it and get cracking with five tips that’ll make your copywriting easier.
Tip 1: Read it out loud
This tip seems almost offensively basic. But honestly? Nothing beats reading your copy out loud.
Even if you just mouth the words silently, don’t press post until you’ve verbalised it.
Imagine the actual voice of the speaker as you read it aloud – you’ll hear the tone, the stumbles and the tongue twisters. It’ll show you the points where your reader will chuck it in the too-hard basket and scroll on by.
Writing for an organisation? Or a group? Doesn’t matter. On social media especially we respond to – and expect – human, authentic and easy copy. So give it the warmest and most helpful voice you can, and keep it simple.
As I scroll for hours every night, [ah, research], I reckon I can tell the people who do this and the ones who don’t. Copy that’s been read aloud sounds more conversational and less… wordy.
Tip 2: If you wouldn’t say it, don’t write it
A common trap for professional communicators is to sound too formal, corporate or public-servicey.
Words like whom, thus and therefore need to get in the bin. Corporatespeak phrases like ‘leaning into headwinds’ or ‘talking to a piece’ deserve the same fate on social media.
I often imagine followers’ feeds as being like a party – they’re milling about chatting about their holidays, with canapes in one hand and a Lemon Ruski in the other. [Don’t judge – they’re great].
If I barge in and speak formally at them with gross corporate cliches or cold, impersonal diatribes, I’d be shunned. Failing to communicate socially on a social platform is like being a close-talker with garlic breath #nothanksbyeeee.
Tip 3: Read widely and well
There are some ripper copywriters out there, and reading their work is so useful for unpacking what works and why.
But moving further afield, it’s just as helpful to look at brilliant creators and writers with super engaged followers. People like Nora McInerny, Glennon Doyle, Clare Bowditch and Morgan Harper Nichols make incredible case studies for the power of great copy.
Take a look at how they do their do – what kind of tone, phrasing, timing and voice do they use? Why do people resonate so strongly with their work? What do the comments tell you? [Comments are everything!]
Tip 4: Use all of the tools
When copy jobs come at you fast, it’s easy to zoom through the proofreading step [inarguably the most boring bit!].
But that’s where writing assistant tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor are a lifesaver. Much like that old Microsoft Paperclip, they bounce away at the bottom of your screen and silently judge your work.
They pick up typos, passive language, meandering sentences, split logic, fragmented phrases and all of the things that weaken your copy. [For instance – Grammarly just told me to change ‘that’ll weaken your copy’ to ‘weaken your copy’. I obeyed.]
These tools just get better and better, especially as they integrate with cloud-based systems like Google and Canva. They’re almost better than Clippy. Almost.
Tip 5: Follow what works
If you thought tip one was basic, you’re in for a treat with tip five – to follow what works.
Anyone can deduce that looking at successful marketing campaigns will teach you about great copy; that’s nothing new. But hopefully, at least one or two of these resources will be new and helpful.
TikTok is right at the epicentre of creative content, and the TikTok Creative Centre shares a great cross-section of what’s trending. I’m low-key obsessed with this, no cap. [I kid, I kid – I’m a millennial, I have no idea what I just said].
But honestly? There’s so much copy-spiration to be drawn from TikTok Creators. Check out Ricky Gourmet to see what I mean – he’s a self-described ‘certified vibesmith and slang sommelier’ and the perfect example of the cheeky, irreverent cleverness that’s abundant on TikTok.
And finally, Facebook’s Ads Library is a great way to snoop on brands that do copy well and see the copy they’re running right now.
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