Always try to use everyday language – jargon, gobbledegook and unexplained abbreviations and acronyms are not welcome in the house of good copy. So don’t include words or phrases that your reader won’t instantly understand. You’ll miss an opportunity to say something you wanted to say and your reader will begin to lose interest quickly.

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© Mark Harland 2010   

MH Copy provides quality copywriting services, editing services and proofreading services to the charity and commercial sectors.

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I’ll be straight with you here, writing interesting copy that gets you the result you want isn’t easy. But there are some very simple things you can do to improve your writing.

Write down why you’re writing the copy you’re writing – this may sound obvious, but lots of people don’t know their aim before they begin to write, or they forget their focus halfway through writing something. By having a clear aim, you will have a far better idea of what information you should and shouldn’t include for your reader.

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Find out all you can about your reader – the more you know about them, the more you can tailor your copy so it’s relevant to them. Also consider what your reader already knows about the subject you’re writing about. This will help you cut back on information that is not needed.

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Be clear and direct – try to stick to one main idea in a sentence. Keep the length of your sentences down to around 15 to 20 words. And if any of your sentences are difficult to read or understand, rewrite them. You need to make life as easy as possible for your reader.

Use active verbs – so in a sentence say, ‘Bob caught the monkey,’ rather than, ‘The monkey was caught by Bob.’ What you’re doing here is putting your subject (Bob) before the verb (caught) and the object (the monkey). By always following this order in your sentences, your copy will sound a lot more punchy and interesting.

Paint a picture with your words – this is all about using detail in your copy. So talk about the way something looks, smells, tastes, sounds or feels. All of this will help to create images in your reader’s mind or conjure up memories.

Use real-life examples – naturally, people relate to people. So think about using a quote or case study in your communication. Remember, though, that your quote or case study should not simply repeat information you’ve already provided. It should ideally create emotions in your reader that your main copy may struggle to.

Plan, write and review for equal lengths of time – on average, spend as much time planning and reviewing your copy as you do writing it. With a really strong plan, you’ll find the writing comes a whole lot easier. By putting time aside to review your copy, you’ll be able to weed out unnecessary and weak copy and make everything as punchy and interesting as possible.

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Make sure your copy looks good – think of your copy as food. It may have tasty ingredients in it, but if it doesn’t look digestible, your reader won’t consume it. So use headlines and subheads that create interest; keep paragraphs to a max of four sentences; think about using bullet points; bold up copy that’s important; and make sure there’s lots of space around different bits of your copy so everything doesn’t look crowded.

Write in the right environment for you – as I said in the introduction to this section, writing interesting copy that gets you the result you want isn’t easy. But if you write in a place where you’re relaxed and won’t be distracted, you’ll stand a far better chance of doing this. I promise.

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