Freelance Writer’s Words Are Magical … Clients Are Spellbound

You Can Do Magic (song)

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Question: What tools do you recommend for a freelance writer to improve their vocabulary and copy writing? Obviously, I know about the dictionary, encyclopedia, and thesaurus. What else can I do to avoid overusing words or sounding boring when I write copy? I’d like to expand my ‘arsenal of words’ and dazzle clients with copy writing that hooks and sells.

Answer: To captivate clients and their audience, read long and short form copy to get a ‘feel’ for writing this type of copy. To increase your vocabulary, participate in writing prompts and or writing exercises. Play brainy or word games. Most importantly, read books, magazines, newspapers, periodicals, journals, etc.

When you write for clients, it’s important to remember you’re writing for their target audience. For example, some clients may expect you to use ‘jargon‘ because their target audience expects it; they’ll understand what you’re writing about. If you have a client who’s target market is the ‘every day’ consumer, avoid using ‘jargon’ because consumers may not understand certain terminology, especially abbreviations and or acronyms.

When you write long or short form copy, it’s important to convey a sense of urgency. Why does the consumer need your client? What problem needs solving? Why is your client number one? How much will it cost the consumer to have their problem solved? Read different long and short form copy to gain a better understanding on how to write this type of copy the right way. Pay attention to key words and phrases such as the following:

● Hurry! Offer Ends Soon
● Five Days Only
● Receive Two Bonuses When You Sign Up Now!
● People Just Like You Are (fill in the blank)
● You Won’t Find a Better Product For (fill in the blank)

When you receive long and short form copy, save it! Build a copy writing file and circle the most powerful words within the copy. Study it, learn it, and know it inside and out. Practice writing long and short copy because it will make you a stronger copy writer. Also, make sure your client uses the copy within a ‘layout’ that’s easy to follow; text should be a sizable font. If consumers can’t read the copy, they won’t purchase products and services.

How to improve copy writing and expand vocabulary

1. Participate in writing exercises and prompts. Writer’s Market and Writer’s Digest provide writing exercises.

2. Read magazines and newspapers — especially trade magazines.

3. Play word and or ‘brainy’ games to increase vocabulary.

4. Take a foreign language. Not only is Latin a great way to increase your vocabulary, but you’ll gain understanding of the ‘root’ and real meaning of words.

5. Read blogs such as Copyblogger in addition to other blogs you already read. Copyblogger is a great source for learning about how to write short and long copy.

6. Ask clients the following questions: What’s working? What’s not? What could be better? Have sales dropped in the past six months or year? How much? What happened?

7. Study long and short sales form. Consider taking a copy writing class or purchasing book about how to write effective copy that sells.


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