Produce kick-ass work that people want to read.
That’s the job description. Although writing copy is an awesome gig, some days it’s a damn lonely business. So, after 20 years of marriage to a glowing screen, here are nine things I’ve learned to make my work more productive, and yes, fun.
1. Tick off the copyeditor.
Grammar isn’t everything. Sometimes a broken sentence is exactly what you need. Go ahead, start a sentence with “And” or “But.” You can’t be friends with everyone in the office, right?
2. Dig for inspiration on Pinterest.
Jokes, sayings, famous quotes and photographs are a great way to spur ideas when you feel dead inside.
3. Borrow a free headline.
Start a relationship with the idiom finder on TheFreeDictionary.com. It’s excellent when you’re hooked on a word and not sure how to dress it up as a headline.
4. Headline not doing its job? Just demote it.
You don’t always have to pink slip a headline. Maybe it’s better suited for work as a subhead or used as a supporting player in the body copy.
5. Keep thesaurus.com open at all times.
As Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” He was a clever guy.
6. Read your copy out loud.
No, I’m not talking to myself at my desk. I’m reading. Bottom line: If your copy sounds awkward, it is. Good copy easily falls out of your mouth. Conversational. That’s what you’re going for.
7. Break your over-attachments.
Welcome criticism and be prepared to throw ideas away. It’s ad copy, not the autobiography of your life. Flexibility makes you a pro.
8. Find your rhythm.
Sentences that vary in length keep readers engaged. Does a sentence seem too long? Like a delicious French baguette, break it in two.
9. Always consider design.
Think about how your words will appear on the page. Good-looking words and phrases not only catch a reader’s eye; they catch the attention of your graphic design partner—who will love your thoughtful vibe.