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How to speed up and improve your business copywriting
By Adrian Barradell
Talk to anyone in business and they tend to agree that one of the biggest challenges they face is time management.
Time is a funny old thing - we all have the same amount of it and we all seem to run out of it.
When it comes to business copywriting this is often one of those work tasks that takes longer than it should.
Here are five tips to help you speed it up and improve it.
Tip 1 - Start your overall end aim in mindDid you know that generally, we can remember and take in no more than seven things at any one time? Therefore you must always aim to write with clarity and make it memorable and not too long. Before you actually start writing, first identify your overall end aim. Be clear on this and write down what you are actually trying to achieve (presumably, you are trying to get someone to do something). This is of course, quite a different question to what am I trying to write? Map out also who you are addressing (your audience). This may be an individual or it may be a large group of mixed people. Next, map out what you want your audience to know and what you want them do. Finally, map out why they should actually do this (the benefit to them). You can use bullet points do this. Taking time to outline what you want to write before you write it; will really pay off.
Tip 2 Keep your style simple and direct
As you are writing, try to keep your style simple, conversational, warm and direct.
The words you use must directly relate to the knowledge level of your audience so do take care to neither blind then with science or dumb down.
Avoid unnecessary business speak and using lots of acronyms and abbreviations.
And if you're unsure how to get it down, simply say what you want to say out loud and write it down. This will give you a simple and direct version which you can then revisit and improve.
Tip 3 - Keep the clarity
Do not write using long paragraphs with endless commas that go on and on and on. Instead use short, one or two sentence paragraphs.
Keeping it short and snappy will also improve the eye-read (how the recipient's eye actually navigates the words on the page or on the screen). This in turn will help the key information go in.
Bold headers and clear spacing will also help.
Tip 4: Improve your first draft
Once you have a first draft in place leave it for a little while and then come back to it with a fresh and critical eye.
As you review it, challenge yourself to reduce the word-count, tighten up the read and further open up the layout.
Have a go; you'll be surprised just how much you can improve it.
Tip 5: Read as the reader
As you are finalising your copy a good mental trick at this stage, is to imagine that you are the receiver.
If you know the person you're writing to, picture yourself actually sitting down in their chair and then imagine them clicking on the email or opening up the letter or starting to read the brochure.
Got a good metal picture of this? Good, now look again at your wording and ask yourself once more, why should they care (we call this the so what question!).
Another way of check this is to ask yourself what are you doing for them (or offering them) that is really going to benefit them.
Check also that the call to action in your copy is clear and easy to take.
This means you must really make sure it's clear what you want to the reader to do after they've finished reading the copy - and also make sure it is very easy for them to actually do this.
All you need to do now, is proofread it...
Adrian Barradell is the owner of Clarify Copy Writing. More at - www.clarifycopywriting.co.uk