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Less is more… July 31, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing.
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In the past week I have had two copy writing jobs which required me to write, or edit, a load of text down to less words while keeping the message. And this post is also to show that while a lot of what I blog about is my novel & creative writing, I do have a professional writing side to myself as well.
The first job required me to take a company whose website I had been writing, and boil down who they are and their unique selling point into a 40 word blurb. This is a case of finding one or two points, and just writing about that. Getting that one point of difference is a selection process in itself! It came down to the fact this company would slip in and become a part of your business, taking away that pesky work you don’t want to do, so you can get back to running your business – working on your business, not in your business, as they say.

My first effort came out at 60 words. The second just under 50. And then I nailed the word count. Looking at the words on-screen, it was about 2 and a half lines of text, depending on the size of the words. This was a good visual cue to work with, so when I was near the second line of text I knew I had to wind it up.

I gave the clients 4 examples of 40 words or less. And then a week later I followed up with 8 more examples. All were slightly different, and I was quite happy with what I produced.

And recently a girl came to me saying she is trying to get into a course with the RSPCA about animal welfare and caring for animals etc, but she said – I can’t write. I hear that a lot. She had written something, which obviously meant she could write, but she couldn’t focus on the important parts of what she wanted to say, and get it within the word count limit of 200 words.

I had her dot-point the main reasons she wanted to study and work with the RSPCA. I then matched those dot points with the text she had given me (close to 600 words). I then used very economical word choices, cut out a lot of fluff, and still said exactly what she had said, but I managed 199 words. And yes, I did go back and see where I could add just one more word, but thought the better of it.

She was very happy with the result 🙂
These two jobs highlight what it is I like about copy writing. Being creative in a tiny little box. You still have to use all your skills as a creator and a writer, but you have these hard rules defining what and how to use your creativity, and still produce something which makes sense, and fits all the checks and balances of the creative brief.

So, while it was a quiet week in regards to volume, it was good to exercise those parts of my brain, just to know I can still do it if I need to.

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