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Results-Driven Copywriter

Copywriting Skills — May 2021

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6 Easy Ways To Improve Your Copywriting Skills

Either you hate writing copy or you love writing copy.

That may seem like a bold statement, but few people are ambivalent about the act of writing at all, let alone writing persuasive copy. Unfortunately for the copy-haters (and fortunately for the copy-lovers), copywriting is an essential evil for every professional and business that uses written words.

That’s why I put together a list of six ways you can improve your copywriting skills and polish the copy you’ve already written. Whether you’re a copy-hater or a copy-lover, it’ll make it easier for you to produce impactful, functional work.

  1. Approach your copy from the perspective of a designer.
  2. Make your text legible and understandable.
  3. Step into your audience’s shoes. Is your text as enjoyable for them as it is for you?
  4. Center your readers.
  5. Perfect your headline.
  6. Work with others.

1. Approach your copy from the perspective of a designer.

Copy is important, but nothing kills your text faster than bad design. As you write or review your completed copy, consider the following:

  • Can it be read by a human?
  • Does it cause eye strain?
  • Can it be read by a screen reader?


Use italics to emphasize specific words, not entire sentences. Excessive italics can cause eye strain, and eye strain is more than unpleasant enough for people to lose interest in your offerings.

Bad Good
The longer italics stretch, the harder they are to read. People with poor eyesight often have the most trouble with italicized sentences or paragraphs.
Never use italics in long stretches. Instead, use them when you want to emphasize a particular word or phrase.
The longer italics stretch, the harder they are to read. People with poor eyesight often have the most trouble with italicized sentences or paragraphs.
Never use italics in long stretches. Instead, use them when you want to emphasize a particular word or phrase.


Caps have their place in specific places – namely, at the beginning of new sentences, in official names (think: Paris, not paris), and in short, eye-catching sentences or phrases. A lot of the headlines on my website are written in caps because they’re a simple, easy way to catch someone’s attention. That said, I only use caps when the sections are brief (less than 30 characters) and when it makes sense for the surrounding design.


Does your text color stand out against your background? If it does stand out, does it stand out without causing eye strain? A good, unofficial measurement of your copy’s user-friendliness is your grandparents; if they can read your website, menu, or pamphlet as easily as they can a newspaper, you’re good to go.


It’s hard to say what the ideal size for text is, so use your best judgement. Personally, I stick to the following rules:

  1. Text is too small when a person with glasses, contacts, or other correctives has to squint or lean forward to read it.
  2. Text is too large when at least three words can’t fit on the screen comfortably.

As you write, vary the sizes of each section. Headlines should be larger than any subheadings. Subheadings should be larger than any paragraph text. All paragraph text should be able to fit on phone screens, and most people should be able to read your website without zooming in.  

2. Make your text legible and understandable.

Text has to be read (or heard if you’re using a screen reader). If people can’t consume your copy and understand it at the same time, then all it does is take up space while frustrating your audience. To avoid that, look out for typos, grammar errors, and unnecessary complications in your sentences.

Check your work for typos and grammar errors.


The easiest way to address typos is to download the Grammarly extension, which spellchecks your work for you. Grammarly isn’t perfect, especially for highly specialized work, but it can let you know the word you just typed is supposed to be spelled serendipitous, not serendepetous.

For alternatives to Grammarly, check out Word and Google Docs. Both programs are easy to use, but they aren’t nearly as specific or detailed as Grammarly.


Surprise, surprise: Grammarly comes in handy for grammar too. It won’t save overly complicated writing, but it will flag issues and tell you what the problem might be. 

A screenshot of Grammarly correcting a questionable sentence.

Check your reading score.

Readability Formulas has a free test that tells you how easy your text is to read. Most of the time, anything you write (especially if it’s customer-facing) should be on an American 6th, 7th, or 8th grade level. High school level reading can work too, but once you veer into college, you risk losing large chunks of your audience.

Remember, simplifying your text doesn’t equate to ‘dumbing it down’. All it does is make it accessible and easy to read.

3. Step into your audience’s shoes. Is your text as enjoyable for them as it is for you?

Nothing is harder to get through than overwrought writing. The longer your sentences stretch, the less likely your audience is to read them. And the harder it is to read your sentences, the more likely your audience is to hit the exit button.

When writing:

Vary your sentence lengths.

If you’ve used too many long sentences, lean into short ones. If you use a short one, lean into a long one. 

Replicate your speech patterns.

Read what you’ve written aloud or use a screen reader to read it for you. If it doesn’t follow the rhythm of natural speech, edit it.

Limit sentence lengths.

Even your long sentences shouldn’t be overly long. Once you get to the point where you have to take three, four, and five breaths to get to a period, it’s time to shorten your sentence.

Use descriptive language.

The most common advice any fiction writer receives is to tell their reader how a heartbreak feels instead of simply saying their character experienced a heartbreak. The same applies to you. Are you telling your readers your product is life-changing, or are you showing them with words?

Avoid overly complicated sentences or descriptions as you write. Your audience wants a spritz of decorative language, not to drown in Shakespearian descriptions. 

Bad Good

Having a baby will change your life!

Interested in experiencing a child yourself? Contact us to discuss your options.

Having a baby will change your life!

We think it’s important to tell you that the change won’t be completely positive. You won’t be able to sleep nearly as long (say goodbye to 8 hours a day), and when you do drift, you might have to do so standing up. Forget about showering, watching your favorite shows, or doing anything that involves taking care of yourself for at least a year.

Despite all of that, you’ll find yourself grateful that you’re missing sleep every time you look down at your child. We don’t know what it is, but something about a baby’s gently suckling mouth and quiet reach makes it all worth it.

Interested in experiencing a child yourself? Contact us to discuss your options.
Why it doesn’t work: What does ‘change your life’ mean? Change your life for the better? For the worst? This version leaves it up to the reader to determine what you mean and what tone you’re using. Why it works: Adding context and descriptions to the copy in the ‘bad’ column completely changed the tone of the text. Now, it’s clear how your life will change after you have a baby.

Shorten your paragraphs. Or lengthen them.

You visit a website, and the first thing you see is a block of text. What do you do?

Most people would click out of the site as soon as it loaded. As you review what you’ve written, think about your reader. Are your paragraphs too long for the average person to stay interested? Are your paragraphs too choppy to reel them in?

If your paragraphs are too long, cut out unneeded words so you can keep your copy focused. You might think you’re whittling your content down too much, but most people don’t want to be ambushed with information the first time they encounter you. Give them a taste of what you offer, then guide them somewhere else to read more.

If your paragraphs are too short, open a new document and start brainstorming. Any new words or sentences you add should increase the value of your copy and contribute to the topic you’re discussing.

Contract, contract, contract.

No one likes stiff writing. Contract whenever you can.

Bad Good
It will not be easy, but do not worry about that. We are here to guide you through the process. It won’t be easy, but don’t worry about that. We’re here to guide you through the process.
Why it doesn’t work: Uncontracted words are too formal and may make you seem cold. Why it works: Adding a few contractions makes previously cold text feel warm and friendly.

Make your work skimmable.

No matter how much time you spend writing a piece, people will skim it. Don’t take that as an insult – oftentimes, people who skim find your content valuable but don’t have time to do a deep dive. Use subheadings, bullet points, and strategic emphasis to ensure your most casual readers still understand what you’re offering them. 

4. Center your readers.

Write for a single member of your audience.

When it comes down to it, your copy is about your audience. It’s not about you. It’s not about your ego. It’s not even about your spouse, parents, or your child (unless they happen to be your target audience).

Anything you write has to appeal to your audience, and to do that, you have to write toward them. As you start your first draft, imagine a single person from your audience and direct anything you have to say at them. After you’ve written your copy, review it to make sure it’s targeted but general enough to appeal to the remainder of your audience.

Example: If your bakery is frequented by cutting edge millennials who love odd and interesting ingredients, you might find yourself imagining a 32-year-old young woman with her first child who is always on the lookout for new, but healthy, ingredients. Write copy that appeals to her, then edit it afterward for general appeal.

Use ‘you’.

‘You’ is a powerful word. When it’s wielded well, it can convince each member of your audience that they’re the most important person in the world. Think about the difference between your celebrity crush saying ‘I love all of my fans’ and ‘I love you’ to a crowd. With the first version, you’re reminded that your favorite celeb is speaking to everyone around you. With the second, you can convince yourself they’re only speaking to you.

Your copy needs to speak to everyone while coaxing each person into believing they’re the primary focus. Combining the word ‘you’ with an audience member profile can spotlight your audience members while transforming boring, unapproachable text into persuasive, intimate copy.

Think like a customer

Customers want to know what you offer, but they’re more interested in knowing how it makes their lives better. As you write, make it easy for them to envision your product or service in their lives.

Once people know why they need your product or service, you can tell them why they need to buy it from you. That part isn’t always necessary, especially if you have a well-established business or you have cheaper products and free shipping, but if you’re more expensive or newer than your competitors, it can help you convert hesitant prospects.

Bad Good
Pit Bulls can live up to 15 years and they are very active. Get a Pit Bull today. Looking for years of enjoyment with an active, fun-loving pooch? Try a Pit Bull! With a 15-year life span, a constant ready-to-go attitude, and an endless supply of love, pitties are guaranteed to fill your home with the warmth and joy you’ve been craving.
Why it doesn’t work: The copy above is feature-focused, dry, and boring. It tells you about Pit Bulls instead of telling you why Pit Bulls are the dog for you. Why it works: The copy above has taken all of the features of Pit Bulls and integrated them into a more descriptive text that places the Pit Bull in your home. Now you’re not thinking about Pit Bulls in the abstract; you’re thinking about them running through your apartment and dozing on your couch.

5. Perfect your headline.

Your body copy should be immaculate, but 80% of people never make it past your headline, so your headline needs to STAND OUT. Use brief, unique text to appeal to your reader and grab their attention.

Bad Good
We cut, dye, and color your hair so you can look better than anyone you know. Hair so lovely, the Joneses will have to keep up with you.
Why it doesn’t work: The copy above is boring and unimaginative. It gets the job done, but it isn’t exciting, clever, or interesting. Why it works: The copy above uses a little humor and a friendly tone. The right kind of humor can get your audience to lower their guard and trust both you and your offerings more.

6. Work with others.

Writing seems like a solitary act, but the best copy is written with and inspired by other people. To strengthen your copy, look to other people’s work and ask for help.

Read what other people in your industry have written.

Before and after you write, study your competitor’s website and marketing materials. Figure out what they do right and what they do wrong, and use everything you learn to decide how you want to approach your own writing. Taking inspiration from others is not the same as stealing from or copying them, so be sure that you don’t plagiarize your sources (I promise you, you do not want to use the same exact language as your competitors).

Have someone read your copy before you publish it.

Whether or not you think your writing is brilliant doesn’t matter; it’s up to your audience to decide they like your work. If you think a pun you made is great but no one else understands it, it needs to go. If your favorite sentence is also the most complicated one, it should probably be deleted. To curb the feeling that you’re getting rid of the best thing anyone in the world has ever written, paste your deleted words into a dedicated document. I call mine ‘TheTrashHeap_Fontil’.


Copywriting is an involved process, but only because you have to anticipate your audience’s needs. Even if your brand is intentionally messy (like Flintts) or unretouched (like Paula’s Choice), readers expect cleanly written copy that appeals to them.

To make your copywriting process even easier, you can download my checklist for easily improving your copy. 

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Author Information

Hi! My name is Trace, and I'm a freelance copywriter who specializes in writing content that speaks directly to your audience. To get regular hints and tips that will help you do the same, sign up for my newsletter. Or, if you want to make me part of your writing journey, you can check out my site.

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