Copywriting 101

How to say more with less

 

As a thought leader in all things media, Inkhouse issues a weekly newsletter to share our time-tested wisdom. The title of our newsletter is also a call to action: rethINK PR.

The series has earned such success that we’ve decided to archive our best editions online. Keep reading to learn more about copywriting in this day and age. And fill out the nearby form to receive fresh rethINK PR newsletters in your inbox each week! 📬

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OFF-MUTE 🔉

When good messages are hard to read, people miss them. Here’s how to make your writing more memorable:

🏃 Use active voice. Passive voice downplays your message.

✍️ Try interesting verbs. Look to replace overused verbs in particular, such as “innovate.” Our favorite tip? Think of an occupation and make a list of actions. Cooking: bake, whisk, stir, blend, fold, sear…you get the point.

❗Don’t lean on adverbs. “Excited” is pretty much the same thing as “very excited.” And words such as “quickly” and “efficiently” tell. You want to show.

💤 Long sentences bury the point. And they lose the reader.

🌎 Put descriptions close to what they describe. Back up points with facts whenever possible. “World-class” means nothing without evidence.

❌ Remove qualifying words. They can signal passive voice. “The solution is designed to…” Instead, get right to the point. “The solution” does what?

🚫 Stay away from excessive capitalization and acronyms. These make reading a slog.

🎨 Replace complex text with visuals. This comes in handy with lists of product features or showing how something technical works.

💬 Read your writing out loud. If you wouldn’t speak these words to someone, you shouldn’t write them. Whether you’re writing a bylined article, an email to a customer, or a proposal for the sales team, humans want to hear from other humans.

⏰ Build-in time to proof, add links. Triple check for typos, insert all hyperlinks and make sure quotes are approved.

📘 Use a style guide. The press uses the Associated Press (as do we at Inkhouse). More literary audiences like the Chicago Manual of Style. You get to choose, but don’t use the one in your head.

JUST FOLLOWING UP 🙋

Remember the elements of a great story:

💥 Tension. Why we keep paying attention. Villains exist for one reason: we want to see the hero beat them.

❤️💔 Emotional connection. Fear, pride and empathy can change our minds. Facts alone rarely do.

👑 Authority. Why should we believe you?

🆒 🆕 Differentiation. If you appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. Conversely, if you’re too niche, you’re irrelevant.

📖 Revelation. What we take away — the moral of your story. Everything you do in your marketing programs should ladder up to this.

🔁 Repetition. Now the annoying part. You have to say it over and over and over again, until you hate it. Then you have to say it again. It’s not a message until it gets repeated.

CHARACTER COUNTS 💯

It’s not just what you say on social media; it’s how you say it that matters, too. Why? Because you’re speaking directly to your audience.

Content gut check:

  • Would I post this on my own social media channel? If not, would an executive?
  • Is there a more direct way to say this?
  • Does this fit my brand’s personality?
  • Would this convince me to learn more or click to buy?

👍👎 The do’s and don’ts:

  • Do write social posts that are relatable, surprising, funny, intriguing, inspirational, timely, trendy, helpful and eye-catching.
  • Don’t write social posts that are jargony, long-winded, salesy or vague.

💡 Tips to remember:

  • Make sure the social copy doesn’t simply repeat the headline on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Avoid using more than 1-3 hashtags (and make sure to research how the hashtag is used first).

OPEN TABS 📱

↗️ A Press Release Is A News Story
↗️ How Newsworthy Is Your Story
↗️ 10 Pieces Of Advice To Get You Writing
↗️ “You’re On Mute” And 9 Other Words And Phrases To Retire In 2021
↗️ Storytelling Can Turn Complex Ideas Into Real Change
↗️ How To Start A Blog For Your Business
↗️ The Facts Alone Do Not Make A Story

SHARE ✉️ LIKE 👍RETWEET 🔁

What PR advice do you want to hear next? Drop us a note by emailing rethINKPR@inkhouse.com. And if you know someone that would be interested in this newsletter, tell them to sign up here.

Quote of the Day:

“The hardest part about revising: sometimes ‘edit’ means ‘drop.’”
 

—Stuart Horwitz, founder of Book Architecture and dear friend of Inkhouse