Copywriting is a skill anyone can learn. Concise copywriting is also an art that anyone can learn.
In a recent post, Marcia Yudkin of The Marketing Minute details her journey to conciseness. She notes that an editor and a novelist once looked at her writing and slashed words, sentences, and paragraphs. She says, “These were two of the most valuable and consequential learning experiences for my writing career. In both instances, my ego was forced to admit that the word slashing was brilliantly justified.”
Ms. Yudkin, as all writers should, hunts for elements that can be cut. Even in “low-stakes writing tasks, like tweets.” She’s a huge advocate of cutting what you can—without changing meaning, of course—and always working to tighten your copy.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Give it time: After you’ve finished a piece, take a walk, load the dishwasher, brush the cat. Create distance between your first draft and your second look. 24 hours is ideal, but sometimes you don’t have that luxury. Even a 15-minute break helps.
- Prune: Get rid of expression like “in order to,” as in “You must prune in order to create concise copy.” Doesn’t “You must prune to create concise copy” sound better? Removing two, three, or more words here and there can make a big difference. (Your audience will probably appreciate not having to read so much.)
- Respect editors: I write for a living and confess that I’ve sometimes been miffed when an editor comes up with better wording. Put your ego to the side and rejoice in great edits. They will only make your work stronger.
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