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5 Tips for Becoming a Better Copywriter

Tim Morral

In math, there’s a concept known as the infinite monkey theorem. Maybe you’ve heard of it . . . stick a monkey in front of a typewriter and it’s only a matter of time before he creates the next NY Times bestseller.

Unfortunately, businesses and PR firms work on somewhat shorter time horizons than monkey troops. Strong copy is important, and since you can’t afford to wait around for the right combination of words and letters to appear on your screen, you’re going to have to become more deliberate about honing your skills as a copy creator.

Whether you average three hundred words of copy a day or three thousand, there are at least five simple strategies you can use to improve your copywriting and deliver better results for your clients or company.

  1. Mix up your reading material. Good writers have diverse reading diets. Blogs, newspapers, magazines, novels – you name it, it’s fair game. In the same way that a good chef samples many different types of cuisine, the broader your reading list, the better your ability to produce crisp, fresh and impactful copy.
  2. Put words on the screen. For me, the first sentence of an article or even a paragraph can be the hardest to write. So to get the ball rolling, I’ll just type the first sentence that pops into my head. It’s universally horrific copy, but I can always edit it out later and appreciate its function as a tool to start putting pixels on the dreaded blank screen.
  3. Write for real people. Like every writer, a copywriter needs to have a specific audience in mind during the writing process. The catch is that you can forget to write for real people when you are involved in web or multichannel content creation. SEO and other considerations are important, but unless you’re writing for a targeted, flesh-and-blood audience, you have failed as a copywriter.
  4. Step away. Come back. Repeat. One of the quickest ways to improve the quality of your copywriting is to habitually step away from the stuff your write, even for just a few minutes. By creating a little distance from your work, you can regain perspective and streamline the editing process.
  5. Don’t fall in love. The best writers have commitment problems, at least when it comes to the words they write. Never, ever let your infatuation with specific sentences or paragraphs compromise your ability to eliminate unnecessary material or awkward sections of copy.