Writing better copy

SimonGeneral

A core skill for marketing and public relations professionals has to be writing high quality copy.

Several years ago I realised that this was a particularly weak area for me.

Most of my writing experience had been from school, university and then writing strategic papers in my first job. What I lacked was being able to write marketing and public relations copy.

Since then I’ve been trying to learn more about copywriting. I’m never going to be able to write journalist or copywriter-quality text, but I think I’ve improved my writing skills significantly.

Writing more (including this blog), proofreading and reading copywriting books and blogs have been just a few ways I have managed to enhance my writing skills.

If you’re looking for blogs that can help you improve your writing, my top three from my blogroll are:

While I’m on the subject, I should note the most common mistake I see when I’m proofreading copy: confusion with singular and plurals.

For example:

The council are responsible for emptying the bins.

The council is a single entity – there’s only one council, so it’s singular, even if it comprises many people, vehicles or buildings. It should read:

The council is responsible for emptying the bins.

The same applies to teams – such as “the marketing team”:

The marketing team are responsible for booking all advertising.

should read

The marketing team is responsible for booking all advertising.

The only exception seems to be sporting teams where it seems to be accepted practice to refer to them as plurals, for example:

“Manchester United are flying to Germany for their next European match.”

reads more comfortably than

“Manchester United is flying to Germany for its next European match.”

even though strictly speaking Manchester United is a single team.