A-Z of Copywriting — F is for Formatting, Fonts and Freedom!
Updated: Jun 23
Let your writing run wild and free
I’m envious of novelists, I must admit. They can write freely from their hearts. They can write without worrying about the specifics that we need to consider when copywriting or business writing.
Novelists can harness their imagination and gallop across the page, freely scattering words with exuberant abandon. And they don’t need to worry about the careful use of keywords.
The words that pour forth from their keyboards – or pens! – appear as rapidly as leaves blowing in a gale. Almost as instantly as splatters from a flicked paintbrush. Suddenly, the blank pages are covered in beautiful prose, clever similes, powerful stories, all transporting us to other lands and times.
Okay, it may not be quite that easy, but you get my point!
Novelists vs. Copywriters
Copywriting is more formulaic and, arguably, a lot slower than novel writing. It’s more considered and needs careful planning. Not that writing a novel doesn’t need a structured plan – it does, but it’s different from writing for business.
With copywriting, there’s a lot to keep in mind – your audience, the product, tone of voice, where your words are going to be published and where they’ll be read. You also need to strategically weave in the 4 Ps of marketing and other similar methods, like AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
Your marketing words need different approaches depending on what you’re producing. Newsletters and blogs need to be written in varied ways even if the content is similar. Web content, marketing literature, case studies and white papers all need differing tactics and styles.
Free your mind
Having said all that, I find it’s often best to momentarily forget all the business considerations and marketing strategies. Instead, just write. Free your mind! Let your thoughts fall out onto the page. Allow all your essential industry insights to flow.
This is a particularly good tactic to use when you’re feeling stuck; when you’re faced with a blank page and you need to create some content, but your brain has frozen. Take a breath, think of your topic, and write one word. Then another. As a sentence pops into your head, write that down too. And keep going.
Eventually, you’ll find a wealth of information to take from. It may look a mess, but you’re sure to find some gems among the plethora of words.
It’s amazing what you can retrieve from a simple brain dump. Sift through it all to find all the pertinent words and phrases. The powerful bits. Those words that will help make your marketing engaging enough to make people take action and buy from you.
Edit and refine
Once you’ve made sense of your words, tidied them up and re-written them into a more strategic piece of work, then you need to edit. As I’ve said many times before, this is where the magic happens. Getting rid of those superfluous words and tightening up your sentences will create something really compelling.
For more advice on the copywriting process, read about how to write web content that converts here, and this will help you write enticing call to actions.
Fonts and formatting
Speaking of tidying up your words, neat formatting helps to make your flowing, engaging sentences easier to read. Long blocks of text on a page can be overwhelming for the reader. Even more so if the writer is timid with their punctuation use! So, use paragraphs and subheads to break up that mass of words.
Have you noticed that the use of paragraphs has changed in recent years? You get the social media ranter who posts a block of text sans commas and full stops, let alone apostrophes, that’s almost impossible to read and usually littered with typos. And then you get the current trend of using no more than two sentences or lines to a paragraph. I get why that works; it’s easier on the eyes. But it’s not quite right. A paragraph should contain one aspect of a topic. It keeps that aspect all contained in one short block. Just as I’ve done here.
But if using just one or two sentences to a paragraph works for you, then go for it. Who am I to dictate how you format your work?
One of my other bugbears is inconsistencies in formatting. Whether I’m reading a document, blog, email or brochure, if the formatting suddenly slips and the wrong font type or a different size appears, it puts me off. And don’t get me started on misaligned text, paragraphs and bullets! I find it really jarring and know I’m not alone in that thinking.
It’s bad enough seeing typos and mistakes. But when you also spot simple formatting errors, I start to wonder how professional that business is. And if I’m thinking that, no doubt other prospective clients will be, too.
Unless, of course, it’s been deliberately designed that way, it’s obvious and it looks good. In that case, as you were!
Copyeditors save the day
To be confident that your work looks and reads professionally, invest in a good copywriter and/or copyeditor. They will help you ensure that your documents, emails and marketing materials are all consistent, error-free and professional. Both in the way they read and how they look.
Next time you’ve written a long marketing piece – or even a short one – if you’d like me to copyedit it for you, do get in touch. I have a particular love of copyediting and almost prefer it to copywriting! ... Almost.
Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07799 648321.