10 Tip to Help Your Copywritting
Most of us haven’t been in a classroom lately so here’s a list of ten things our English teacher would want us to remember:
1. Using that when you should use who
Whenever you write about people, refer to them using who, not that.
John is the guy who always forgets his shoes, not the guy that always forgets his shoes.
2. Including the word currently in your bio
Don’t write: “Tom Jones is currently a communications director.” If Tom Jones is anything, he’s that at that moment; you don’t need “currently” to clarify.
3. Starting a sentence with There is or There are
There are lots of better, more interesting ways to start sentences.
Ooops. See how easy it is to make this mistake?
Instead of starting a sentence with There is, try turning the phrase around to include a verb or start with you. For example, replace the sentence above with Start your sentences in a more interesting way.
4. Writing bullets that don’t match up
Bullet points are a popular and effective way to organize complex ideas. Just make sure your bullets correspond to one another.
For example, since this piece calls for 10 mistakes, each item needs to be something you don’t want to do. Too often, writers mix and match mistakes with what you should do or make transition to shoulds halfway through the post — which only confuses the reader.
5. Not using contractions
Which sounds more personable: I am heading to the market that is close to my house, or I’m heading to the market that’s close to my house?
Contractions make your writing sound friendlier, like you’re (not you are) a real person. And that makes it easier to connect with readers.
6. Falling into the ing trap
“We were starting to …” or “She was skiing toward …” Whenever you see an ing in your copy, think twice about whether you need it — because you probably don’t.
Instead, get rid of were or was, then eliminate that ing and replace it with past tense: “We started to …” or “She skied toward …”
7. Adding a comma after that
When used as a descriptor, the word which takes a comma. But the word that doesn’t.
For example: “We went to the house that collapsed yesterday” or “We went to the house, which collapsed yesterday.”
8. Using over rather than more than
Over 200 people did not like your Facebook page — More than 200 people did.
Of course, everyone will know what you mean if you use over. But using more than is one of those little details that will help your writing shine.
9. Forgetting to hyphenate modifiers
Whenever you modify a noun with more than one word, you need a hyphen. Lots of people don’t follow this rule, so it’s a great way to show you actually walk the walk.
That means you need a hyphen if you’re writing about full-time work. But you don’t need one if you’re working full time. Got it?
10. Writing could care less when you actually mean you couldn’t care less
Which is exactly how some people probably feel about this post.
But you? You’re a writer who writes clean copy. And following these suggestions, as picky as they may be, will help you create content that’s clearer and easier to read … and that makes it that much easier to share.