It’s still the case – thankfully – that the written word remains at the heart of communication. Yes, video and the spoken word are immensely powerful, but writing, the actual crafting of what is to be said, remains fundamental.
It’s not surprising then that copywriters abound, and it’s certainly true that a good copywriter is an investment for any organisation wanting to speak clearly to an audience.
So how do you choose one? What do you look for? Ability to spell and grasp of grammar? I should hope so! Articulate? It helps. Witty? Funny? Authoritative? Maybe.
For me there are a few qualities that transcend factors such as these. These are my personal top five and I hope they help you when you come to choose your copywriter…
- Conciseness is next to Godliness in writing. Don’t be impressed by someone trying to be Dickens. Never use words for the sake of them and avoid anyone who uses phrases like ‘at this moment in time’. You have limited time. Make your words count.
- Fluency and rhythm. Their style should be flowing and easy to follow, leading you on. They should balance correct usage with conversational style. Knowing the rules helps in knowing when to break the rules and word selection is critical.
- Accuracy. They should be able to express meaning clearly, leaving the reader in no doubt. Jargon, buzzwords and pretentious use of words to appear clever are the chief criminals here. Lock them away and free up your copy.
- Thinks visually. How do you approach a page? You scan the whole in an instant and make a judgement about whether to read on. A good copywriter knows this and structures accordingly. Sentences, paragraphs, sub headings and highlights should all draw you in and help you along.
- Empathy. By this I mean the ability to understand the central meaning of the original information and to translate – in fact to interpret – this for the audience in the fewest easily understood words possible with no loss of meaning.
These are my top five copywriter qualities and I hope they help you. Yours might be different and I’d be delighted to hear them. Do please join the conversation.
By Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson MCIPR, owner of Yorkshire-based Pinpoint PR Ltd, is a public relations professional with a wealth of experience as a copywriter.