You’ve probably seen over 1 million articles on just this topic but yet there’s always something that pulls you into it. Call it the catchy title or the fact that it’s ‘yet another version’.
Whatever the reason is, you’re here and you’re reading. At least so far.
Today, my goal with this article is to share three things I really think of when I write copy (good can be decided later, but it’s where I start)
Consumption of information in the digital world
I was brought up in a book-loving and book-reading environment. No jokes, I remember buying books by the dozen every time I would go to the bookstore.
Today, unfortunately, that is not the case. It’s just not fast enough for me, and I have my preferences to listening to podcasts, reading blogs, being on Linkedin or even reading Instagram captions.
I live in the digital world more than in between book pages and with bookmarks. Personal choice.
Now, let me tell you what I feel about this. I think we are definitely moving to a digital-first world. Be it reading on your kindle or listening to a podcast. I don’t think there is any shortage of learning. Each platform comes with its boons and benefits – leaving you with learnings.
I split my platform based learning into two segments:
- platforms I intend to write on
- platforms I intend to gather knowledge from
Call it learning the hard and fast way, or the rough and agile way – it works for me.
Good copy heavily relies on where you are presenting it to your audience. No, really. Can you learn how to write Instagram captions without researching Instagram as a platform? – no. The list for my statements here is endless.
if you want to learn digital writing
> Read a lot
> Engage a lot
> Learn how others write and pick up tricks from them
> Practice makes perfect, start publishing.
How your audience’s attention span plays into the length of your article
The real way to write really good copy is to take into account how long this piece is going to be. A lot of people put this last on the list but I really want to focus on this.
How much space + Your audience attention span + Your words = Winning combo.
The beautiful thing, a 200 word, 500 words and 1000 word story will ALL have the same storyline and the only thing that changes is the length and division of focus.
Being a storyteller, I obviously write very long first, and then chop chop to make the story as concise as possible, every single time.
The reason I do this is so I have all my points laid out, in order, and then I can diversify the focus points depending on where it’s getting published.
An easy hack to getting a consistent story across channels; also happens to be the cornerstone of good brand storytelling.
Now, how does that link to attention span – the longer your text, the longer you are asking your audience to invest in you. Imagine a ‘hello’ first emailer from a brand being 1000 words long – that will definitely not work. However, a 1000 word blog definitely does work.
People decide how much time they want to invest based on the trust they have in you, you reciprocate that by writing it in a format and length they appreciate,
It’s a simple, two-way street.
Consistent wordings for good storytelling and copywriting
We’ve all heard of KISS – keep it simple stupid. That also means, in extension, using the same words repeatedly, so your audience gets familiar with the writing and conversation.
I do this by habit before I start writing anything to maintain consistency throughout the deliverables.
When writing with consistency and in a manner that’s audience-centric, you really do need to help them come to your side of the story.
If you’re using the word experiment somewhere, don’t in the middle change it to trial. Although they mean the same, the audience can get confused about what your message is. This is further iterated when you are maybe writing website copy – always use the same verbiage across pages, so your audience is aware of what to expect, and your brand expectations are set in their minds.
Doing this in the beginning really helps me because it helps set the tone and voice. Two important aspects of branding and copywriting.
Use all the web apps available to get a perspective on your writing
I’m seriously not joking about this one. Lookup Grammarly, and look at the readability score on it. Look up Hemmingway editor and look at lengthy sentences, look at dense ones and edit.
This paragraph and part are the shortest because it’s super self-explanatory.
Basically, what I’m trying to convey is that don’t just rely on one tool for your writing, editing and publishing. Each tool has it’s quirks and it will teach you something more about your writing than you can imagine.
A lot of times I run it through at least 2-3 tools depending on the time I have on hand.
I hope this article helped you and gave you a new perspective on the entire way I look at writing. It is my drop in the ocean, and it might just disappear into the great www, but it’s there, and that’s all that matters.
These are the tricks that have helped me immensely, and I hope they act as an aid to you too.