This post was written by TCCS member, Kate Crocker
When you’re stuck or uncertain, these unexpected tips and tricks may help spice up your writing and recharge your brain.
There’s an abundance of well-known copywriting tips in the Googleverse. They’re handy reminders when you’re stuck, uncertain, procrastinating, or need a boot up the you-know-what. But lesser-known copywriting tips and tricks are worth seeking out and trialling because creativity and lateral thinking are the lifeblood of great copywriting. So grab your juggling balls, find the TV remote and let’s get started.
1. Work on your juggling act
Good writing starts with an engaged mind. But some days, no matter how much caffeine you chug, it’s impossible to overcome sluggishness or exhaustion. So try this secret weapon to fire up the neurons: juggling.
No need to invest in a red nose and oversized shoes (but, hey, if that’s how you roll, no judgement here). Maybe just some cute multi-coloured balls or tennis balls.
Juggling can help improve vision, reading and memory. It can also increase motivation.
So even if you’re better at dropping balls rather than juggling them, it’s worth going through the learning process because our brains thrive on absorbing new things. For example, my husband, who has a serious desk job, regularly juggles to take a break and replenish his mental energy.
To learn more about juggling’s neural benefits and how to get started, check out Todd Sampson’s excellent series, Redesign my Brain.
2. Investigate emerging content ideas
If you’re on the hunt for some cracking content ideas, you’re probably already familiar with these sources:
- Answer the Public
- Google Trends
- People also ask suggestions in Google search results
But if you’re looking for emerging ideas, Exploding Topics deserves a special place in your copywriting kit. The tagline neatly sums up its usefulness: Discover trends before they’re trending.
You can subscribe to the weekly newsletter, which delivers reader-friendly analysis. You’ll get the scoop on related meta trends, and it’s a great way to impress your clients. Even better, the basic version is free.
And if you’re getting client kudos for your sleuth skills, consider these ideas as well:
- Subscribe to a media release distribution newsletter, for example, Medianet’s NewsMatch Alert
- Check out successful crowdfunding campaigns on platforms such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe
- Search TikTok for trending videos in your interest area
3. Learn about audio-described content
Alt text is an often overlooked aspect of website images because many people don’t understand what it does, why it matters, or how to write it.
Alt text is important because:
- If a web page’s image doesn’t load, the alt text description will appear in its place
- Screen readers can detect the text, which makes the page more accessible for vision-impaired users
- It can help a web page’s SEO performance
Alt text must be specific and give context to the reader, but how do you achieve this? Well, it’s time to find that remote control.
And switch on your television.
Now find an audio-described programme and turn on the audio description (often indicated as ‘AD’).
Like alt text, audio description is used to help vision-impaired people understand what’s happening on the screen. It’s a fantastic way to learn how much detail is needed for an effective description. For example:
- Facial expressions
I also recommend watching a video of a screen reader in action because the insight will change how you think about webpage content and structure.
4. Use a plagiarism checker
You wrote the copy. It’s a product of your own thoughts, so it must be original, right?
Our copywriting careers depend on our ability to create original content, so any whiff of copycat behaviour could tarnish our sparkling reputations. Or completely trash them.
It’s especially an issue if you specialise in a particular industry or topic. For example, as a legal writer, I’ve written a truckload of Australian family law website content over the years. But family law topics are pretty universal. For example, almost every family law website needs information about divorce, parenting arrangements, spousal maintenance, and so on.
Because I’ve produced content on these topics many times, I have to be extra careful about any idea that pops into my head. For example, is it original, or did I previously write it for a different client? A plagiarism checker is my safety net in these situations, and my clients are happy to know that I’m willing to put my work to the test in this way.
But that’s not the only reason to consider a plagiarism checker. It’s also a good idea to check information from your client.
For example, I once received a section of an article from a client. It was well-written and researched. As I considered how to work it into the page, my plagiarism checker found that it was copied from another website. There wasn’t anything sinister going on here – the client simply answered my request. But the problem was that he’d not mentioned copying and pasting it. And I hadn’t thought to ask. The plagiarism checker saved us both from professional embarrassment.
Some grammar tools offer plagiarism checks for a fee. I use Grammarly Premium, which has unlimited checks and compares the copy with 16 billion web pages
We all know there’s more than one way to write great copy, and because copywriters tend to be creatively inclined, it’s no surprise that we develop some unconventional processes. Juggling, finding emerging search trends, using accessibility devices, and plagiarism checks are all effective aspects of my copywriting process. They’re a good reminder that trying something new is often worthwhile, especially if it’s left-field, eccentric, or resourceful. Because you never know what may work for you.
Want more tips to improve your efficiency? Check out Jody Carey’s 10 tips to get your fingers flying and the money flowing
What are your off-kilter copywriting tricks?
Do you wear fancy dress to get the ideas flowing? Read your copy to the cat? Tapdance in your pyjamas during work breaks? Leave a comment below to tell us more. (Go on, I dare you).
About Kate Crocker
Kate Crocker is an SEO-trained legal writer, former lawyer, and sales page copywriter. She helps law firms and other businesses attract clients with reader-friendly website content designed to inspire trust.