6 Quick-and-Dirty Copywriting Hacks

Copywriting is the art of persuasive writing, but crafting those punchy sentences can feel unnatural for some of us.

Copywriting Hacks - Writing Tips

“The first draft of anything is s*&%.” Welp, Ernest said it best. Rough around the edges, but true as they come: this quote gives me confidence to start loosy-goosy typing, knowing I will edit with surgical precision in a bit.

Here are my top six quick and dirty copywriting hacks:

1. Type like you talk. Assume your readers are lazy — use contractions, break the rules a bit and start sentences with “and,” etc. Can your copy pass the BFF test? Ask yourself if your best friend would read it and say “this sounds JUST like something you’d say.”

2. Break up those text chunks. No chunky writing! If it’s more than 2-3 sentences, consider a paragraph break. Again, go back to your reader and his or her lazy eyes. Make it easy to digest the info. Lists rock.

3. Spice it up! Dare yourself to use punctuation marks.

  1. Try an em-dash: “Take the leap — what if today is the day everything changes?!”
  2. A colon: “My command is this: love each other.”
  3. The Grammar Police are divided and we bleed red ink over it, but I happen to love a good use of the semicolon. Here’s a good article on semicolons.

4. Kill your darlings. Ah! My heart already hurts. But it’s true. Edit, edit, edit. Do not say the same thing three different ways.

“Good writers are those that keep the language efficient.

That is to say, keep it accurate. Keep it clear.”

– Ezra Pound, poet

5. End with a call to action. The reader is putty in your hands — especially in persuasive copywriting, like for a services or sales page, are you directing him or her to the next step? Don’t bury what you want them to do. End on it. For example:

  • “I would love to know your thoughts. Hit reply and let me know!”
  • “Interested? Click to search vacation options.”
  • Good CTA buttons on a webpage work well: “Send ‘em my way!”

6. Proofread efficiently. Read it twice. Once from the bottom up, which should shake up your mind’s auto-fill and clear out most of your grammar and spelling edits. Then, read it out loud.

7. Finally — for bonus points — throw in a poetic device or two. My secret? If I can’t hit on just the right word, I put a place filler (typically TK, which is journalist-speak for “to come.” Sometimes I just write “SOMETHING”). In the editing process, think on some good words for that spot. Can you use a poetic device? Some simple ones are:

  • Alliteration: “should shake up your mind”
  • Repetition: “edit, edit, edit.”

And there you have it. Now go write something!

Why I’m a Writer

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A writer is all I’ve ever wanted to be. Now, there was a deep-seeded ballerina stage, pockmarked with tutu-dreams begetting late teen years of summer study and bloody toes, but at the core, I’ve wanted to call myself a writer.
“But God, there are too many writers.”
“No. These are My fingerprints on you, daughter. Trust me alone.”
A voice for the voiceless, He says.
Voice? That I have plenty of: a thick Southern twang and opinion on everything, blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, journals on journals. Words, words, words. But in Your ransom of souls, You saved our gifts, too. Commissioning us and the talents in our pockets as PART of us to usher in Your kingdom. To go love. To go tell. “To bring Your kingdom to dark places.”
With words, we call out lies. Hamstring eating disordered thoughts with affirmations scrawled on post-its stuck on mirrors and months of recovery journaling. With words dry-erase tattooed on mirrors reminding my mind and body to hang on:
That life is worth the fight.
That He says He will rescue.
Bind up anxiety with stress management techniques communicated in countless handouts.
Steady marriages through garbled prayers spilled out over wood floors, prayers penned over emails and texts.
With words we record it all to love another one day.
To let her know she’s normal, somewhat.
That’s why I want to write. Why I want to breathe what I gathered from a decade of writing — editorial side, and years on the marketing and PR side — into other women. I will tell you what things worked, I will show you that I’ve fallen miserably only to be saved by grace.
This recovered perfectionist is on a mission to find rest and peace in a media-saturated world.
If there’s media CONTENT … and content means contain … well, then I want to contain what matters.

3 Ways I’ll Remember His Faithfulness Through Eating Disorder Recovery

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Today marks about a month out of the safe cocoon of the clinic and consistent therapy. A warm little cocoon where women whose minds have the same twisted neuro pathways so I felt less bizarre about panic attacks and disordered thoughts. Therapists who know how to push me. And out here, it’s harder than I thought it would be. You see, recovery doesn’t mean cured as much as it means equipped.

In His infinite mercy, the Great Physician knew where to place the knife. Where the festering, oozing mess of control, pride, and perfectionism was wrought in my life. Like a hospitalized wordless infant in getting shots, I glare at Him confused and agonized and He looks back lovingly, tearful-eyed, too. “Oh, if only you knew my love, daughter.”

In Joshua, twelve stones, representing respective tribes, stood by the Jordan River. They served as a remembrance sign. “In the future,” leader Joshua declared, “when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord … these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

This morning I scrawled in my journal to the Lord how I need so many stacks of stones. So many. I need to be reminded of the pride. The idolatry. The partial hospitalization. The panic attacks. The tears. The nightmares. The remember the sweet fall, lest I forget how He gave me life to the fullest through His Christ, and how stripped to nothing, my God taught me Christ is truly all I have.

He answered.

My three stacks of stones:

  1. My journals. Moleskin ballpoint-pinned with thoughts and prayers. Scriptures and promises, chronicalling it all, from first doubts, to questioning life, to redemmption.
  2. Art affirmations. Making designs with words helps me. Whether it’s on a post-it by my mirror or hanging on a wall, seeing them — drawing them — helps.
  3. This outlet. I need this, sweet friend. Classic ENFJ: I think BY talking. BY using words. I lace thoughts by talking it out.

Thank you for letting me pile some rubble over here, sister. I pray He uses my sharing of things I learned to minister to you.

What helps you stack stones and remember His faithfulness?