It’s the sound you make in your own head when you read your copy and it’s boring, basic (not as: in an easy way to understand, but instead… basic), and you’re just plain ol’ fed up with it.
Sure, you can pay thousands of dollars to a great copywriter. You’re here. We can make that happen.
Or, you can try these tools to make your copywriting sparkly, and some of them are even free!
Starting with the basics, Grammarly is really a must-have for anyone writing their own anything.
You can either copy and paste your words directly into their online platform, or install Grammarly in Chrome or on your browser to have it check all your work, all the time.
I use Grammarly as a suggestion-only tool. Spellcheck – fine. Grammar check? Well, we’re copywriters, so we stomp all over conventions, start sentences with ‘and’ or ‘because’, and definitely don’t write in whole paragraphs. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a start.
I love humans, and I’m not scared of AI at all (I’ve tried them all, and they’re only as good as the copy you input into them at the front end, so your creativity and brand voice is still very much relevant).
But if you’re going to go down the virtual copywriting assistant route and use AI, ProWritingAid would be my recommendation, simply because it has alllll the things:
– grammar checker
– style editor
– inbuilt AI writing mentor (cool, it can boss you without an actual boss being involved)
– goals and assessments
– and not only suggestions but explanations on why it’s suggesting something
– if you get really stuck, there are even videos you can watch to up your game
AI is never going to replace a great copywriter, but it can certainly help you write faster and get a less boring first draft to send to your copy editor or go over with your copywriting mentor.
This is a paid app, but fat and juicy enough goodness to make it worth the investment.
If you love AI but want to look at other options, AppSumo have a whole collection for writers here.
3. Hemingway Editor
Copy should feel like music. It has rhythm.
Short, short, long.
Cha cha cha.
Hemingway helps you do that with not only showing you what sentences are too long or too confusing, but rates your writing with an overall Readability score – which is what I use it most for.
Remember, most of your readers – no matter how intelligent they are – open their laptops and drop immediately to a Grade 7 reading level or below. That’s no indictment of your ideal people, it’s simply we’ve been conditioned to be spoon fed great, easy to consume content.
4. Free and paid copywriting advice
Un-blergh copywriting is more than simply making sure you don’t have typos and ensuring your apostrophes are in the right place.
That’s apostrophes, not apostrophe’s.
Zesting up your copy is more about your development of your brand voice – a blend of your personal and guiding ethics, what your brand promises, what you stand for as the people behind the brand, and your ideal clients’ voice and the way they use language.
I cannot stress this enough:
this is what will make you stand out from the rest of the blergh-inducing copy online and get your brand selling.
To get to understand this stuff, you need two bits o’ education:
– understanding what copywriting is
– knowing thyself
(Don’t need to tell you, the second one is harder than the first!)
To snaffle some free copywriting advice, check out this training on Conversion Copywriting, what it is, where to use it, and why and to start to understand what you bring to the branding table, take this quiz on Brand Voice Character.
If you are totally on the same page as me thinking what you’re missing is a developed brand voice that has you writing the right things to the right people offering the right offers, check out my Brand Voice Development Workbook. It’s the basis of every question I ask my done-for-you clients when writing their Brand Voice Guides (for the sweet sum of $4,000 to boot) and I sell it right here on this website for a fraction of that.
5. Your mouth
Sounds too easy, right?
And I’m sure you’ve read this advice before.
But perhaps you’ve ignored it because you are a proficient writer and you probably think you’re a little above such a simple tool.
I think I’m a pretty good writer. I have a business writing like the spoken word, I follow my own rules, I keep it clear and concise but engaging.
But you know what happens when I read my copy aloud?
Firstly, I wince at the girlie sound of my own voice. No wonder people don’t take me seriously when I talk on the phone to them. I squeak.
Also, everything that’s wrong with the piece of copy I am reading jumps out and slaps me in the face. Hard.
I hear every chunky, awkward turn of phrase, I realise sentences aren’t structured the way I want, I hear the waffle and the lengthy sentences, and words that need replacing scream at me like banshees in a nightmare. I don’t always pick up these errors during a read through – not the first draft nor the third edit. But I can certainly hear them if I read them out loud.
It also delivers a different benefit for your copywriting; it assists you in keeping a consistent brand voice throughout your copy. It helps you spot wobbles where your writing voice has lost tone, or become too formal, or dropped your personality. If you read your copy out loud and it doesn’t sound like you’d say it in a normal conversation with your perfect client, it needs more editing.
Then, delete anything that sounds as if your competitor could have written it (the generic stuff). Take out anything that even resembles a repeat. Be clear and concise. Leave out any superfluous filler words like ‘just’ and ‘very’. Double-check the cultural turns of phrase we pick up from being part of a global community – ensure they’re not appropriation. And, for goodness sake, don’t be bloody apologetic.
Your mouth is one of the free tools at your disposal you don’t need to pay for, book in advance, or outsource. Use it.
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Free brand voice character quiz!