Tools To Write Better Copy
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Tools To Write Better Copy
…for clicks and conversions
That should be my motto, because I love to learn, even when I know I should be focused on getting work done. But I forgive myself because I know it all supports my work in the end.
I love to learn because it’s inherent in my nature to be curious and follow the breadcrumbs on this amazing world wide web… something piques my interest and I go hunting.
And what I learn improves my writing. I don’t necessarily set out to learn how to improve my writing, it just happens through what I do.
I learned how to structure my work better through a communications module I did in my Business Degree.
I learned how to use powerful words that elicit emotion through a course I took with John Carlton.
I learned how to write words that connect with an audience through my experience and training as an actress.
It all comes together to make my writing better.
Yet, there are some tools that I use regularly to check my writing. Almost as a touch stone or benchmark so I know I’m hitting the right points.
Here are my top 3 tools for analyzing and improving my writing…
‘They’ say copy should be as simple as possible and should read to a 6th or 7th grade level. I find Hemingway app a great tool to check my readability score.
I’m not sure if Hemingway App uses Flesch Kincaid score to create it’s results but the FK score is the copy-standard to check your readability.
Basically it’s about calculating your average sentence length and word length - the shorter for both, the easier it is to read.
The idea behind this is that for copy that converts, we want it as easy as possible for people to understand.
Yet, there are some cases where this may prove to be a method that doesn’t serve your writing.
If for example you’re writing high-brow intellectual copy for an audience that appreciates it, then of course you’ll want to use words and sentence structures that speak to their sensibilities.
(that sentence above is a case in point!).
For the majority of copy though, you’ll want to aim for easy and simple. We don’t want to make our readers work too hard!
The Hemingway App is also great for checking passive and active voice, the use of adverbs and offers alternative ‘simpler’ forms of a phrase or word.
I like this tool for checking the emails I write for clients and I personally have an urge to take it as simple as possible - I once managed to get the reading score down to Grade 0! I don’t actually know how that’s possible, but it did happen.
Headlines are the bane of most copywriters existence. Not because we don’t like them, but because it’s the most important part of copy. Which means we often spend just as much time on a headline as the rest of the copy.
A headline is important because it’s only job is to get the reader to read on. We need curiosity, interest, emotion and a variety of other persuasive mechanism all bundled into a string of words.
Co-Schedule’s tool helps you analyze your headline to see where you can tweak it to be more readable and clickable. It looks at your headline length, the type of words you’re using, and the balance of words.
I used Co-Schedule for my last article ‘What is the importance of copywriting’ and although that title grates on me a little because it doesn’t seem grammatically correct to me, I went for that headline because of the analysis.
I wanted to test it and see how it would fare in terms of click-ability and SEO. I will share the results once more data is collected.
Let’s take a look at what Co-schedule said about my alternative…
While this tool is extremely useful it can also be confusing. Take this part of the analysis for example…
It tells me my headline is too short and yet the right length. I read this to mean SEO may have trouble with it, but for readability and click throughs it’s most likely the perfect length.
With this result you would then need to consider what’s more important.
For me, I like to use this tool to tweak my headline but I don’t get too worried about hitting all green markers with every analytical point. I just don’t have time to do that!
This is a great tool to check on the emotional tone of a piece of writing.
It’s particularly useful if your piece of writing is meant to be authoritative (which doesn’t mean all corporate-y or lacking personality!).
It identifies phrases that you come across hesitant or tentative as well as picking up terms where it may read sad, fearful, happy and confident.
There’s no right or wrong in terms of what you should be aiming for. It’s all down to personal preference and the type of position you want to come from in terms of voice tone.
So this tool is really helpful if you are curating a brand voice for your business or in fact you write for others where you need to copy-cat their voice on a consistent basis.
There are many other tools out there that you can use to check your writing for spelling, grammar, emotional content, power words etc. but these are the top three tools I use regularly.
And what’s great about using tools like these is that you learn how word and sentence structure affects your writing and slowly your writing starts to change because you’re aware of the tone and readability of what you’re writing.
The thing is, awareness is where it starts. Understanding how something works is the key to mastering and knowing it inside out. From that vantage point you can choose to ignore the rules if you want! When you’re writing your own stuff - you get to call the shots.
And the only way you’ll know what works for you and your audience is to always be testing. And that means writing! Keep on writing, keep on publishing content, keep on emailing!
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