There is a great pressure on copywriters to be original, witty, and creative and still be able to communicate ideas in a simple manner. Marketing agencies, internet portals or press release sites expect writers to be outstanding in many topics. And this is not always easy.
But before you digg into the secrets of creative and stunning copy, you need to cover some basics.
These are quite often overlooked by writers focusing too much on the content of their copy
You need to pay attention to the devices your content will be read on. There are different needs when writing for a printed edition of a magazine than for its associated website. Also reading on a broad screen is quite different from reading on your mobile phone.
You also need to know your audience and the reading level you can expect your readers to have. In this context technical aspects like the fonts, color scheme and layout issues play a role as important as the titles and subtitles of your copy. You want to adapt to your audience and ease their reading process.
There are experiments going on constantly. You’ll notice this when reading regularly the same big media. A well respected magazine has started to show short bullet pointed lists with a resume for the article content when shown on tablets and mobile devices. They found out that mobile readers will scan for the information and leave the rest of the article unread.
The most basic of all: Check your spelling
Of course, one cannot repeat this enough times: Remember to edit and proofread everything! If your content contains many spelling and grammatical errors, not only your readers will lose interest but your reputation as a writer will be on the line. Using a spellchecker is almost mandatory for every content published online.
There are many errors that spell check doesn’t pick up. For instance, common mistakes like «your» for «you’re» and «their» for «there.» We read this almost daily in newspapers and agency news. To a certain point, these typos can be forgiven as they most times are caused by distractions or hasty publication. Most readers will overlook these mistakes as they are scanning phrases for their significance and don’t stop the reading flow because of minor errors.
What readers don’t oversee are heavy grammar mistakes or nonsense. These types of errors are not only a nuisance for the writer. What is worse, the whole credibility of the content suffers when readers notice embarrassing errors. Anyone who writes poorly and allows it to be published will not have a large readership and will not convince the audience. Readers will turn away
To be really sure, use several spellcheckers and make a final pass to watch over your grammar, spelling and punctuation manually, as many spelling checkers will miss mistakes. Write it once but proofread it and then proofread it again.
If you have the chance of working in a team, organize the work flow to have each copywriter proofread every other’s work. Provide your team with a reputable set of dictionaries (get a list of standard dictionaries here) and be sure to install software spellcheckers or use some online spell checking services like online-spellcheck and other cloud based services.
So, proofread, proofread, and proofread!