Why does he talk like that? Seven language ‘lessons’ from The Donald

Published on by in Blog, Language.

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Donald Trump, the uninvited guest at the 2016 election, has taken everything we thought we knew about running in a presidential campaign and turned it on its head. But for me as a copywriter, one of the most interesting things about The Donald isn’t his fluffy hair, his tiny fingers or his orange visage – it’s the way he speaks*.

If you listen and watch closely, you’ll hear and see explosive noun phrases, self-interruptions, departures from the theme, flashes of memory, odd side remarks; in a nutshell, the disordered language of a person with...

Why you need rock-solid copy more than paid search

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing, Language.

A couple of years ago, I wrote crap.

Truth. My professional life was largely dominated by creating web copy that I really, really disliked, but that got the job done really, really well. It was peppered with synonyms, keywords, and cautious-but-very-deliberate repetition.

It wasn’t link-bait, but it wasn’t beautiful.

If I’m honest, the crap copy was fun to create, because I was writing puzzles – using my right brain to generate original content that relied on my left brain to be strategic enough to rank highly. But I was aware that, in the grand scheme, it sucked.

Then Google...

Editing for non-editors: an intro

Published on by in Blog, Language.

Yes. We. Can.

What is editing?

Editing is actually NOT about fixing mistakes. That’s proof-reading. Editing is about adding clarity, by improving sense, meaning, flow and fullness. In a nutshell:

  • It’s correcting and refining text for readability.
  • It’s bringing conformity to a text, for a specific purpose.
  • It’s revising text to improve quality.
  • It’s about making the writer’s words more valuable and credible.

I call this ‘Level 2’. You’ll see why in a bit. At this level, the three most common issues I see are:

  1. Waffle
  2. Repetition
  3. Missing or confused logic

What is proofing?

I call this ‘Level 1’.

Mark Twain knew how hard it is to proof-read...

One easy tip for producing non-crap digital copy

Published on by in Blog, Language.

Crappy digital copy? This’ll fix that.

A lot of the digital copy out there is badly written. Okay – a lot of it is crap. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that well-planned, well-structured, reader-friendly and carefully proofed text pretty much guarantees higher conversion. Plus, it nicely distinguishes one online voice from another.

What does this mean for us, the writers, comms people or content creators?

It means we can’t forget that we are salespeople and try to be performers. We can’t abandon sales to seek applause. We can’t angle for laughs, choose form over...