Even the best copywriters get stuck sometimes, and not always because of the dreaded “writer’s block.” I write so much – both in my job and in my personal life – that I occasionally find that my writing feels stale and forced. Those are the times that I have to employ a few easy tricks to help keep things fresh and engaging:
Nail the headline! A catchy headline can either grab your reader’s attention immediately, or prompt them to scroll past your story. Your headline should be straightforward, but it should also incite curiosity and make the reader want to continue to read. It may be natural for you to start with a headline and develop your story accordingly, but it can be much more effective and impactful to write your copy and then pull from the content to finalize the headline to make sure it best reflects the angle of your story.
Relax. Make your copy personal and inject your own casual style. Even the most rigid topics are more easily consumed with personality and a conversational tone. Your copy doesn’t have to be formal and peppered with legalese to make its point; tell your story as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation with the reader.
Make it visual. Your copy should be easy to read and inviting to look at. I can’t tell you how many times I skip an article because it’s one LONG paragraph. I like bullets and bolding and underlining (oh my!); they appeal to my short attention span and draw me in. I’m not suggesting you go all Elle Woods on your document, but a little font variance and italics for emphasis can go a long way.
Back it up. You can gain a lot of trust from a reader just by backing up your copy with proof. Establish yourself as a strong resource and build credibility by providing and citing facts. Any weight you can give to your claims will diminish any skepticism and will help build trust among those reading your copy.
Eliminate distractions. I find that my creativity lacks when I can’t concentrate. Those times when my email is pinging, my social media notifications are visible or I hear lunch planning discussions occurring outside my office door. Those aren’t a block, my friends; those are distractions. These are the times when it’s most beneficial to close the door, silence the phone and tune out those things that are keeping you from properly focusing on what you’re trying to write.
And if you don’t have one already, consider creating a “swipe file.” It is a fairly common practice among writers to maintain a collection of writing examples for style and creative inspiration. In fact, sometimes I even include quotes that I’ve written that may not have a place yet, but that may perfectly fit into something I’ll be writing in the future. Whether it’s an article, or a personal blog post or even social media posts, these are just some of the things I often consider to make sure my writing is continually on-point, full of personality (mine, or the brand’s voice I’m writing in), and that I’ve made my best effort to engage the reader. What are some of your tips? Inquiring minds want to know…