5 Steps Toward Professional Copywriting

1. Consciously Construct Your Sentences

It’s amazing how much web copywriting is composed with no consideration for sentence construction. Click here to see what happens when you get it wrong. Sentences will end mid-thought. Unless you are a professional writer, and therefore know how to break the rules, stick to these simple principles:

  1. In the simplest of sentence constructions (the ones we learn in children’s storybooks) the order is Subject-Verb-Object, as in: The cat(s) sat(v) on the mat(0). This is isn’t a bad format to follow, if you are new to copywriting.
  2. Restrain your ideas to one thought per sentence and one concept per paragraph.

2. Decide Whether You’re an Amateur or a Professional

Yes, we all know we need to spell check and proofread, but how many of us do it? Basic spelling errors don’t make the writer look cool (as often) propounded online, especially by bloggers. They exude unprofessionalism. The English language is not for mavericks. The rules were decided long ago.

  1. Any text editor you work with will include a basic spell check tool. Alternatively, ask someone else to read your work, before clicking Publish.
  2. Look up words whose spelling or meaning seems uncertain in Merriam Webster.

Read Apostrophe Atrophy if you still can’t grasp the purpose of the apostrophe, one of the most misunderstood and misused punctuation marks in the English language.

3. Pick an English Language to Write In

Some clients will prefer British English, some will prefer American English and some will stipulate International English. Make yourself aware of the differences among the three.

4. Eliminate that Pesky Officialese Infection

Many who write are plagued with this persistent problem. They don’t talk in a pompous tone. They can relax at the weekends. And, yet, when they sit at a laptop, pomp and ceremony take over. Far from appearing professional and educated, they end up mired in gobbledegook.

We’ve blogged this several times before. See the following:

The Ten Worst Business Phrases of All Time

The 8 Worst Written Business Phrases of All Time

5. Practise Before Launching Your Copy on the Web!

Writers write. In order to become skilled at something, you need practice. Begin a blog. It can be kept private from the world, open (but anonymous, to invite comment) or written under your own name, whatever your preference. It’s a simple way to begin copywriting.

  • Pick a subject you are interested in.
  • Blog once a week, every week.
  • Ask for input from colleagues or friends.

Want to Join ScribeTribe?

Perhaps you’re already a writer?

Technical writer? Blogger? Journalist? Editor? Indexer? Copywriter? Proofreader? Business or professional writer? Then ScribeTribe is for you!

Click for more information and to register your place. ScribeTribe will launch in Belfast on 08 Mar 2011.

Alternatively, join us on Facebook.