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  • 1.  Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-16-2023 09:29

    Any other copywriters out there? 

    Ok, I should say: my title isn't "copy writer" (and maybe yours isn't either), but I write a heckuvalotta copy (and maybe you do, too).

    I was really pumped to get an email this morning: "How to Write Copy Your Audience Will Read"... but I found it kind of fell flat for me. (To be fair, the person who sent my way warned me that there wasn't anything too groundbreaking in the message.) The things they recommended: 

    • position your CTA at the top of your communication
    • Use formatting (bullets, headings, bold, etc) 
    • Simplify

    Each of these is a good tip, yes! But - I'm wondering what y'all have learned from your own experience: what turns good copy into great copy? Where have you found success in engaging your audiences?

    Tagging in a few folks who might have some great insight here: @Taylor Evans Ghosal@Nick Kapling@Amy Finkelstein@Maria Mooshil@Amy Finkelstein@Hyun-Jung Lee@Jill Johnson@Hyun-Jung Lee@Amy Finkelstein@Nick Kapling@Taylor Evans Ghosal

    Stay awesome,

  • 2.  RE: Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-16-2023 10:40

    What a great topic, @Quinn Drew! I'm in the same boat as you. I'm not formally trained as a copywriter, but I sure have written lots of copy of all kinds. 

    Some tips I have for creating engaging copy are:

    • Keep it short. Succinct copy is harder to write, but I think it holds the audience's attention much better than longer copy.
    • Break up your paragraphs. This kind of ties into the bullet points note, but keep your paragraphs at around 2-3 sentences, 4 MAX. 
    • Put all the important info at the top. This idea comes from my journalist days and using the inverted pyramid as an outline for writing a story. Hosting an event? Put the date, time, and location at the top of the email!
    • Don't be afraid to use the thesaurus. I HATE repeating words in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence. Or, I sometimes find myself stuck on trying to find another word for a word I've used multiple times. I head over to for a little assistance. 

    Excited to see what others have to say about this!


  • 3.  RE: Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-17-2023 16:32

    I've been a writer and editor my entire professional life and I still don't think I can answer Quinn's question of what turns good copy into great copy! lol! In my current job as a marketing copywriter, all of the tips Quinn and Taylor shared work for me. I strive to come up with copy that motivates the reader to sign up for this event or take that course. If the click-to-open rate is high, does that make it great copy? I don't know about that! But I do know I feel best about my work when my copy is clear and concise, and it takes the reader on a journey. That "journey" may be persuading them to see themselves attending a convention or taking a course, but it is a journey. The copy works to lead them to do whatever the ultimate purpose of the communication is.

    I'm sure I could explain that better if I took more time -- time is also key to creating great copy! I love the writing process and to me that includes rewriting and editing my copy, which, of course, takes time! 

    Have a happy weekend, people! 

    Maria Mooshil

  • 4.  RE: Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-21-2023 08:34

    @Maria Mooshil - thank you for that! I love the idea of taking a reader on a journey. I enjoy public speaking, and I can relate that there are tons of different paths/journeys you can take your audience down/through/around through good story telling. 

    Your post made me think of this quote, "if I had more time, I'd have written a shorter letter." I've always attributed this to Mark Twain in my head, but it turns out it's one of those quotes that is often misattributed and has many variations. Turns out it originally comes from Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician! #themoreyouknow 

    Stay awesome,

  • 5.  RE: Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-21-2023 09:10

    All the things in that original list are good, but I think it's just a starting point. I think the most important thing you can do to elevate the level of your message is knowing your audience and understanding what will resonate with them. We use different approaches with different audiences, and we try to stay focused on what's in it for the reader. 

    Amy Finkelstein

  • 6.  RE: Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-21-2023 09:15
    Edited by Taylor Evans Ghosal 02-21-2023 14:28

    It's so true that you want copy to take people on a journey, @Maria Mooshil. Great copy is persuasive because the audience finds something to care about in the writing, whether it's an email, ad, or article.  

    @Quinn DrewI relate to that quote! Thanks for sharing.


  • 7.  RE: Copy Writing Tips

    Posted 02-21-2023 11:03
    Edited by Arnie Grahl 02-21-2023 11:18

    All good points!! For me, it all comes down to storytelling. As a journalist by training, I always seem to place the highest value on the story (which I think @Maria Mooshil involves your point of taking the reader on a journey). A funny clip immediately pops into my head from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, when Steve Martin's character tells John Candy's character, "and here's a tip. when you tell a story, have a point!! It is so much more enjoyable for the listener."

    I think @Amy Finkelstein point is a great one, audience does matter. Though I feel that I have a harder time practicing that one, because when I begin to tell a story, it mostly sort of flows out. I will make adjustments for audience -- Rotarian or not, etc. -- but probably not as much as I should.

    I've also always felt that there is a certain "art" to good writing. Everyone has a style and a voice. At least for human interest feature stories. This may not apply as much to web page copy or marketing copy. While you can teach some writing techniques that can improve a person's writing for sure, part of inspired writing comes from a magical part of our brains that is so tricky to define and impossible to teach. (At least I feel this way about great writing. I will never write like Shakespeare, or Hemmingway, or Tom Wolfe, or my present focus Erik Larson.) But I can write like me. 

    That's not to say that tips and rules don't help. I use to refer to Strunk and White's Elements of Style constantly, because there were many very simple clear helps in there that can improve any writing. 

    I guess the tips I find most helpful are 

    • Keep it short and simple (as both @Taylor Evans Ghosal and @Quinn Drew have mentioned)
    • Ask, what is in this for the reader? Why should they care? (I guess this is @Amy Finkelstein audience point)
    • Capture the reader's attention early, and make sure you let them know what it's all about.
    • And edit, edit, edit. The older I get, the more convinced I become that every piece can improve every time it is edited. 

    (Including probably this monstrosity of a reply!! )

    Arnie Grahl