Entries Tagged 'Copywriting tone' ↓

Editing Will Add Power to Your Copy

editing copywriting

Every copywriter in the land loves creating content.

Every copywriter in the land hates the editing process.

It’s very easy to be objective with someone else’s writing, but when it comes to your own taking a red pen to it can be like severing a limb.

The problem is every piece of content you generate will need editing. If you don’t edit you’ll never turn your good content into great content.

So where do you start?

The long and the short of it

When you start on a project, just write. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, write everything you can think of because it’s much easier to cut during your edit than add.

Once you’ve finished the editing process all the phrases and sentences that made you cringe will be gone, leaving you with the most powerful words.

Be strict

All writers are guilty of having a favourite phrase, sentence etc., in their writing. It may be something that came to you in a flash of genius that you just had to get into the piece you’re writing, but does it add or detract from what you’re trying to achieve?

During your edit you have to be ruthless. Keep the focus of your writing in your mind at all times and if it doesn’t fit it’s got to go.

That is especially true for the start of your content. Most writers will spend the first paragraph warming up. Take a look at the beginning and think is that the right starting place or is there a better introduction a few sentences in? It’s important to make an impact from the outset rather than gently leading the reader by the hand, because they may let go and find something more interesting to look at.

Think about your words

The easiest writing to read and understand is that which uses simple words, short sentences and short paragraphs. When you’re trying to sell, your writing has to be snappy, concise and to the point. That also means keeping your punctuation under control. Numerous commas in a sentence slows the pace and can lose a reader, oh and never, ever finish a headline with a full stop because you’re asking the reader to stop, and that’s the last thing you want them to do.


The tone of voice in a piece of writing refers to how it sounds when it’s read aloud.

Copywriters are in an odd position; the are the writers, but the message is coming from their client. Therefore the tone they adopt must fit with the company and it must also appeal to the audience.

As you edit, think about who you’re writing for, the types of phrase they would use, how they want their customers to see them and make sure you use the right tone and language to reflect their personality.

Be active

The use of active verbs can breathe life into any piece of writing, so take a good look through what you’ve written and make sure you change any areas of passivity to active-go-getting-ness.

Whichever way you look at it editing is painful, but at the end of the process you’ll be left with content that’s powerful, engaging and that will drive results.



The Importance of Being Human in Your Marketing

There’s no room for personality in business.


Are you sure about that?

If you are the type of business owner that believes all your marketing communications should be straight, professional and (for want of a better word) boring, it’s time to be enlightened.

Have a think about the marketing messages that resonate with you.

What was it that made you sit up and take notice.

I would hazard a guess at the way it ‘spoke’ to you. After all, if the message is boring and mundane it’s going to get lost amongst the many thousands of other marketing messages out there. If it’s to get noticed it must have personality.

Let’s face it, when you go into a store, if you’re met by disinterested store assistants who look bored to be there, you’re more than likely going to walk straight out the door again.

Likewise, if you land on a website in your search for that new wonder gadget you’re after and are faced with reams of boring text that tells you nothing other than it’s colour, power outage and that it’s “ground breaking” without any qualification to back that statement up, you’ll hit the back browser and look elsewhere.

That’s why your marketing, no matter what shape or form it takes, must have personality.

Brand POW or brand pop?

Every piece of marketing you put out must reflect the brand image you’ve worked so hard to build.

You do have a brand image, right?

The idea behind this consistent message is that your customers will get to recognise you from your style, colours, words and images.

OK, sure, small companies are unlikely to get the instant recognition enjoyed by the big players such as Apple, IBM, Nike or John Lewis, but a consistent message will help people identify you with the values you hold dear.

Building your personality

If you are a sole trader or an individual service provider, you shouldn’t need to work too hard on building your personality – it’s already there.

All you have to do is write your marketing materials from the heart.

When customers read your stuff, it should be consistent with the person they meet. If there’s a huge disconnect, they are less likely to do business with you.


Because from the moment they read your brochure or website, they began to form a relationship with you. They have, in their mind, an impression of who you are and what you’ll be like to work with. If, when they meet you, the real you is completely different that relationship will break down.

How do you get your personality across?

Write as though you were having a conversation with your customer. Picture yourself in your favourite pub, relaxing over a glass of wine (beer etc.) chatting about how you can help them. In real life, you’ll use simple language, no jargon and you’ll explain things in a way that makes them instantly accessible. This type of approach will make your customers warm to you and be more likely to talk to you to ask your advice because you won’t be going in for the hard sell.

It takes a bit of practice and goes against all the rules of academic writing that were drilled into you at school, but it will pay off if you persevere at it.

If you run a larger company my advice is the same.

The personality that comes through is that of your business, which means clearly identifying the values you want to reflect. Again, a simple, jargon-free conversational tone will work best in your marketing copy creating an impression of warmth and openness.

To create your personality:

  • Think about the values that are important to you
  • Write in a simple, jargon-free conversational tone
  • Think about how you want your customers to see you


Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

Copywriting Lessons from Jonas Jonasson

I love reading.

When I’m not working, cycling or doing family stuff I usually have my nose firmly planted in a good book.

At the moment I’m reading “The Girl who Saved the Kind of Sweden” by Jonas Jonasson, his follow up to his best selling debut novel “The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared.”

I love Jonas’s style.

His writing is simple, honest and unpretentious.

His characters are well rounded and have a depth that makes them come to life.

As for the story line, it simply draws you in and compels you to keep reading.

What has any of that got to do with copywriting?

Quite a lot as it happens.

Simple, honest, unpretentious

Jonas’s novel is a work of fiction. Your marketing copy must be fact, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

I’ve written many times in the past about companies demanding jargon-filled copy that’s crammed with hyperbole because they think it makes them look impressive.

The most impressive copy is that which simply tells the reader about the benefits they’ll enjoy.

You see the most effective copy is that which taps into the mind of the reader. They are your customers and therefore you should understand what makes them tick.

  • What challenges are they facing?
  • How will your product solve them?
  • How will you help them?

If you use simple language your message comes across clearly. Customers aren’t impressed by how many syllables you can cram on to a page, they just want straight-forward talking that’ll tell them what you’re going to do for them – i.e. what makes you different.

Now, in trying to uncover their USP, many companies claim all sorts of things, but never actually follow through. Granted, your promises might draw in customers, but once they realise they are empty they’ll head for the hills, but not before they’ve told all their friends on social media about you, potentially losing you even more custom.

If you’re going to make claims about great customer service, money back guarantees or incredible offers, make sure you follow through and don’t hide a myriad of terms and conditions in the small print.

In simple terms, always use this formula if you want your copy to be a success:

Simple language + benefits + honesty = compelling copy

  • Don’t try to be clever
  • Tell them how you’ll help them
  • Focus on your customers not your company
  • Be honest
  • Use simple language


Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd



How a Copywriter Gets Into Your Head

Hands up is you think writing copy is just about collecting a few facts and then writing them in a string of coherent sentences that will hopefully convince readers to buy something?Copywriting voice


Being a copywriter is much more than just that.

This isn’t going to be one of those posts that rambles on about the science of writing or anything like that. This one is about how a copywriter gets into the head of his or her client.

Copywriting Craniotomy

If you are slightly squeamish there’s no need to look away, there will be no blood.

Getting into the heads of your clients sounds drastic, but it really is the only way you can understand what they want.

Finding out the nuts and bolts of the copy (benefits, features etc.) is easy, but pinpointing exactly the tone and approach your client wants is a different kettle of fish altogether.

The terms ‘friendly’, ‘informal’, ‘witty’, ‘quirky’, ‘professional’, ‘approachable’ and ‘conversational’ can mean different things to different people.

Let’s be honest, how many times have you been asked to take an ‘approachable and conversational’ approach only to be told ‘no, that’s far too casual, that’s not what I want at all.’

Yes, finding the perfect voice for your clients is tricky. So what can you do to overcome this hurdle?

Ask the right questions

Over the years, I have found the best way (please note even this isn’t fool proof) to get to the bottom of what my clients want comes down to a three-pronged attack:

1. Read

Start off by asking them what style they want and ask them to provide examples. This could be in the form of other websites they like, a writer that adopts the style they want, a marketing brochure; in fact it can be absolutely anything.

Once you have it, read it again and again until you are completely immersed it its style and can replicate it easily.

2. Listen

As you talk to your client listen to what they say and how they say it. Their turn of phrase and choice of vocabulary will help you when it comes to developing a style that they are comfortable with.

3. Read some more

During the project you’ll probably be exchanging a lot of emails. Again, read these carefully and see how your client tends to phrase things and use this within the copy you produce.

Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that everything you write will be perfect first time. There may well be words that you use that they don’t like, but small tweaks like that are to be expected anyway.

Many larger clients will already have a style book to hand they can pass on to you that outlines the dos and don’ts when it comes to writing copy. But this isn’t the norm, so for the majority of writers the 3 tips above should help you create something your clients will be happy with.

Over to you

How do you get over this particular issue?

Leave a comment below and share you ideas on how to create the perfect voice for your clients.

Note: No copywriters or clients were harmed during the writing of this blog post



What is Copywriting?

That might seem an odd question to be asking in a post on a copywriting blog, but it does make you think.what is copywriting

Many people believe that copywriting is all about being a red-hot grammarian, speller and punctuationalist (made-up word, but that’s OK because I’m a copywriter), but that’s not strictly true.

Granted, the ability to spell and use grammar and punctuation correctly helps, but it’s not the be all and end all.

You see copywriting is all about getting your sales message across to your audience clearly.

The most important elements in your copywriting

There are 3 vital elements to any copywriting assignment:

  1. Your audience
  2. The words you use
  3. The offer – your message has to be a goodie

When those are combined, that’s when your copy is cooking with gas.

Get any one of them wrong and you’re in trouble.

Your audience

If you don’t fully understand for whom you’re writing, how can you make sure you use the right language, tone and approach?

After all, a sales message to teenagers will need a different style and approach to something that’s going out to CEOs.

That’s why it’s vital you spend time getting to know your audience, understand what it is they want and then deliver it in their ‘language’.


Using the right combination of words can lead to a powerful and effective message, but get them wrong and you’re left with a damp squib.

Think about what you’re trying to say and then make every word count. Keep your message active and punchy and make sure it really resonates with them.

Also, don’t be tempted to throw in an obscure word that you think makes you sound really intelligent because it won’t. It will just leave your audience bemused and they’ll wander off and find another message out there that tells them exactly what they want to hear.

The offer

The message is basically your offer.

You can hire the best copywriter in the universe, but if the offer isn’t what your audience wants, your campaign will fall flat on its face.

So think about your product or service and determine precisely what it is that will make your audience want to buy. Simply offering a free gift may not be enough to make them want it. The trick is to found the one major benefit will it bring that they’ll be desperate for – find that and you’ve got a campaign that’s ready to rock.

Arguably, you can add in a fourth element – timing.

When you launch your campaign will also have a bit impact on its take-up. If you’re looking for a seasonal promotion, it’s essential you plan well ahead – rushing something out at the eleventh hour is never going to work

All of these elements need to work together to make your campaign work. That’s why copywriting is such a collaborative process. Your client knows their company, products and services better than you, but you as the writer have more of an understanding of how the message should be conveyed.

So next time you embark on a marketing campaign think carefully about your audience, your message and how you’re going to communicate it to them.