How do copywriters produce amazing written content when they deliver their work to you?
Apart from pulling their hair out, screaming at the wall and laughing maniacally as the final words fall into place, we produce top-quality work by going through an editing ritual that doesn’t involve drinking the blood of a virgin.
“You mean it doesn’t just happen?”
Nope, you don’t see the rehearsals for a TV show up on the screen, you see the final, refined version – free of mistakes and looking nice and shiny.
Writing is no different.
When we write, we go through a lot of versions before we hand over that fabulous first draft.
So, whether you’re a new copywriter or you’re just trying to get your message down, here are six tips to help you iron out those errors!
6 Ways To Improve Your Written Content
However, before you send it to a client, or post it on your website:
Spellcheckers are fabulous things, but they’re a right bastard too.
Yes, they pick up a lot, but they don’t catch everything, especially the way a piece reads and flows.
So, before you complete your written content, follow these six steps:
One. Change the font, colour and text size
This helps your eye and your brain. By changing it from Black 11pt Times New Roman to Pink 22pt Comic Sans, you’re tricking your brain into thinking it’s reading something new.
The dramatic change helps you to spot errors that weren’t obvious at your standard font size.
Two. Print it and read it out loud
Whoa there, before you change the font back to the original – print it out and read it aloud.
Reading it out loud is a massive help. What works in your head may not necessarily flow when read.
If it doesn’t sound right, it won’t read right either.
Plus you get to read something in a massive pink Comic Sans font.
It’s like 2001 all over again!
Three. Use the ‘Read Aloud’ option in Word
So, you’ve read it out loud.
Hopefully, you did it in a variety of funny voices. I read mine like Alan Partridge sometimes (as well as my own voice, I just like to make sure it sounds right in a variety of accents).
This feature is in the ‘Review‘ section of Microsoft Word.
Yes, it’ll read it in a monotonal voice that’ll make you want to neck a bottle of wine in minutes, but it’ll pick up anything that’s not quite right.
Four. Read it backwards
You don’t need to rewire your eyeballs. You start from the last line and read back.
Your brain will fixate upon every word, and with its inability to skim read like this, you’ll pick out spelling mistakes like a champion.
Five. Get a friend to read it
Ah, a fresh pair of eyes, there’s nothing like it. Not only do fresh eyes spot things you’ve read many times over, but they also read it as an outsider, which means they’ll pick up things they don’t understand.
Six. Leave it
Once you’ve run through the first five steps, leave it for a day.
Yep, close down your document and forget about it for 24 hours.
This means you’ll look at it anew the next day.
It’s incredible how many ideas you’ll come up with that could make your content even better.
Repeat – once you’ve done the above, do it again.
That’s what I do to get my written content looking the best it can be, and by following these simple steps, you can too.
Until next time,