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Words - The Blog

This section of Copywriter Pro is the interactive bit – the blog.

I’ll be filling it with tidy titbits and helpful hints from the world of Copywriting – anything from ‘How To Work Out That Killer Headline’ to ‘5 Business Letter Mistakes To Avoid’.

All posts are organised in Categories – they’re all on the right, so you can pick through the topics that interest you.

But Words is about more than imparting pearls of wisdom. There’s also an element of fun to it. You’ll also find a Category called Flotsam and Jetsam, with an assortment of Quotes, Poems, Puzzles, Articles and Games – all based around the theme of Words. Essentially, it’s our verbal playground. Do join us!

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Cliches - avoid them like the plague

Don't you hate cliches?

I do.  I reckon we all do - well, at least those of us who care about using language to communicate clearly and effectively.

Clichés are boring.  In fact, they're so boring, that when I come across more than two or three in one piece of text, my knees ache.  But what upsets me about them more than anything else is that cliches are a symptom of another pet hate - laziness.
 

Space - your silent angel

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Admit it.  When you write, more than anything, you want to keep your reader engaged.

Think back to the last time you wrote a 1,000 page research paper.  Er ... OK then - a note for the Amazon delivery lady.
Whatever the length, circumstance or purpose of the exercise, your aim was surely the same - to keep the reader with you - to the very end.

Size matters ...

... but not always in the way you might expect

SMALL IS, MOST DECIDEDLY, BEAUTIFUL

And Winnie the Pooh was an expert, for it was he who famously declared -
"It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like -
'What about lunch?'"
 

So how does word length make a difference in our business English?

Why good copy really does matter

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Copywriting - the Cinderella of marketing?

Words.  Remember them?  Those funny squiggly things, scrawled across a page.
Do you know what?  They matter.  You’d think this was self-evident.
But it’s strange (and deeply, desperately disappointing to professional copywriters) how often words go unappreciated.

For too many business owners (not you of course!), good copy is just an afterthought.
 

It's not about you - it's about your audience

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My daughter, Hannah, would make a great copywriter.  What do you mean, “How do I know?”?  It’s in her genes!
But no - it’ true.  She has all the right instincts.
And this is how I know ...

"Be yourself ...

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... everyone else is already taken"

Wise words from Oscar Wilde - who doubtlessly was musing on the intricate art of composing commercially engaging web copy.
Whatever.
The estimable Mr. Wilde's words probably represent the single most important piece of advice you should take away from this series of copywriting tips ...

Keep it personal.

 

Proofreeding - 4 techniques

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Do what I say - not what I do

Did you read Saturday’s tip no. 9?  The one featuring Katherine Hepburn?
Judging by the number of emails I received, gleefully pointing out
my clumsy proofreading error,  it seems that most of you did.
So - I hang my head in shame.
What better way to make amends than to change today’s planned
email topic and substitute it for the vexed subject of - proofreading

Don't be bashful ...

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Bashful isn't beautiful.
Be bold!

Yesterday, a newsletter I hadn’t seen before nervously
poked its head into my inbox.
The subject was of no interest, but the writing style was.
What mood did it convey?
This image gives you a pretty good idea.
And do you know why it came across as so meek - like a begging letter?
The word ‘please’ appeared 5 times.

Perfect grammar doesn't always mean perfect copy

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“Obey all the rules and you miss all the fun”

Aaah ... the words of my favourite pin-up.
Katherine Hepburn was surely referring to, what else but, the rules of grammar?

Let it come from the heart

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Don't write - speak!

Let me tell you about Sean.
He's a landscape gardener, local to Northampton.

I first met him a while back at a Networking Breakfast.
He immediately struck me as a nice chap, attentive and courteous in every way.

He even had the good grace to listen to my unfunny anecdotes.
Sean dutifully introduced me to the other members of the group, making sure I wasn’t last in the queue for breakfast.

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