Copywriting: Drafting Rules for Professionals
As a professional contractor who wears many hats, you owe it to yourself and your clients to be as organized as possible. In a previous article, I discussed the importance of delivering an organized draft that your co-creators can easily work from. Following are some suggestions for freelance copywriters who wish to streamline their copy submission process and ensure a crisp, clean draft every time.
General Copy Drafting Rules
1. Do not deviate from the standard fonts, Arial or Times New Roman, 10 or 12 point.
2. Submit all copy with ONE SPACE after a period, NOT TWO.
3. Save all copy drafts as a Word document.
4. Make sure that SMART QUOTES and all "autoformatting" is shut off before typing your copy into a fresh Word document. That means NO auto indents, NO auto bullets, NO fraction symbols, etc.
5. Use BOLD, ITALIC or UNDERLINE where necessary. You may also html tag these as so < b > bold < /b > if the client has requested it.
6. Every draft should be spellchecked by computer and by eyeball.
Setting Up Your Copy Draft
Develop a Standard Copy Draft Template. Use this template to set up each initial copy draft you create. Be sure to include the following:
A Header that lists:
1. The client's name or company name
A Footer that includes the page number.
(To add page numbers, go the top menu and click INSERT and then PAGE NUMBERS.)
When creating a new document, follow the drafting process as outlined below.
1. Open up the Copy Draft Template on your desktop
In this naming conventention, the three Xs represent the first three letters of the client's company name. The label "descrip" should be replaced by a qualifier. "DraftX" will be the draft number.
Sample filename for "Rocky's Hot Wings" menu copy, draft number two:
In creating additional revised drafts of this copy, use an identical file naming format, replacing only the X value at the end of the filename.
Note: If for some reason you don't have access to your Standard Copy Draft Template, you can create your own document from scratch provided the following is included:
Before you being typing, "prep your document" by doing the following:
1. Turn off the SMART QUOTES feature.
The reason for this is because HTML and PDFs do not interpret curly quotes and curly single quotes or apostrophes correctly. This will CORRUPT your text with weird-looking symbols throughout.
Despite what your college professor may have told you, MAKE SURE YOU USE STRAIGHT QUOTES (") AND FOOT MARKS(') in all of your copy drafts for any client jobs.
2. Turn off all AUTO FORMATTING.
Auto formatting is of absolutely no use to someone who plans to format text into their own style sheets or graphic design. It is more trouble than it's worth so DO NOT hand in formatted text of any kind.
Do not tab, bullet, auto-number, auto-correct, auto-cap, make fractions out of or otherwise format your text.
Label Your Sections
While not every project will require you to divide it into sections, items such as e-book copy, catalog copy and web copy will. If you're working on something that will be presented visually in pieces, label each section of your copy with an appropriate descriptor. Use a BOLD font or some other qualifier to indicate section descriptions.
Note: your section descriptors should not be confused with your headlines. Do something "different" to the section descriptors and apply that treatment uniformly throughout the piece. For example, if your headlines are bolded already, you may want to ALL-CAP your section headers to eliminate confusion.
For example, if you're writing web copy, you might title your descriptors as so:
You can also label your headlines and subheadlines so that whoever is picking up your copy can be sure of how to lay it all out. For example:
Headline: Web Copywriting Basics
Some projects such as taglines, banner ad ideas and headline brainstorms will require that you submit them in list format.
Type your lists at 12 point and don't skip a line between each listing. The customer will likely be paying by the page, so he'll want his money's worth of creative input.
Editing An Existing Draft
You may be required to edit a draft occasionally that someone else will make changes to. If this is the case, use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. As you edit, your "suggested" revisions will show up in the document as crossouts, replaced text and word additions in a different color than the original text.
You may also be required to make the final revisions on a document that has already been edited with the Track Changes feature. If this is the case, open the document on your desktop, do a Save As, and rename the document to the next consecutive draft number.
You will have to go up to the Track Changes menu again and uncheck the boxes so that you'll be able to make your revisions without "crossouts" and colored edits showing up.
After you've shut off this feature, implement the requested changes as per normal draft creation. Don't forget to SAVE every few minutes!
Preparing a Document for Email Transmission
Note: Before you send your copy draft document, be sure that it's saved as a Word document on your desktop and not in your Temp folder. If you leave it in the Temp folder and then make draft revisions, you can count on losing track of where those revisions are later. They may even be deleted accidentally!
After saving your document to the desktop, attach it to an email message with appropriate intro text.
Your email subjectline should be titled to reflect the client name, project description and draft number.
Sample Email Subjectline:
Rocky's Hot Wings Menu Copy Draft 1
When you make future revisions and subsequent drafts of this client's copy, retain the identical email subjectline and delete the "RE:" from the subjectline, as this will mess up the sorting of your emails in your inbox as well as tick off the person who is on the receiving end of the work.
Your next draft of this same file should be named:
Rocky's Hot Wings Menu Copy Draft 2
At some point you may want to ask questions, qualify what you wrote, make a suggestion or otherwise comment along with copy you submit. The ideal place to do this is in the email itself, as a brief memo. Be sure to include your contact information such as email address and phone number at the bottom of the email for quick reference.
Storing Your Files
For your own peace of mind, it's wise to store existing drafts in their own properly labeled folders on your Desktop or wherever you prefer to keep your work files. You never know when a client will want to go back to "square one" and if you know where square one is located you can save yourself a lot of anguish.
If you have any questions about setting up, submitting or sending copy drafts, please contact Dina Giolitto, Copywriting Consultant, at Wordfeeder.com.
Dina Giolitto is the author of ARTICLE POWER: Create Dynamite Web Articles and Watch Your Sales Explode... a 49-page manual covering every aspect of article marketing on the web. Learn about article marketing, copywriting and more at wordfeeder.com
Tech-writers: A Necessary Evil
New to tech-writing, or thinking about starting? The key to success is recognising that tech-writers are a necessary evil.Tech-writers are necessary because someone has to write the user doco.
Freelance Writers: Double Your Income
Freelance writers are a strange group of people when it comes to running their own businesses.They are outspoken and enthusiastic while selling their clients' products and services, but are hopelessly shy and reticent about blowing their own horns.
7 Big Ticket Copywriting Secrets I Learned from Ted Nicholas
I recently sponsored and attended Joel Christopher and Ted Nicholas's Double Birthday Bash and Interactive Marketing Summit in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. There was a fantastic lineup of speakers including John Assaraf, Joe Vitale, Brad Fallon, George McKenzie, Shawn Casey, Alan Bechtold, Tom "Big Al" Schreiter, Brian Keith Voiles, Rosalind Gardner, and Sydney Johnson.
Welcome Informed Criticism of Your Work
When you come to 'know' something, there is a temptation to stop thinking about it. You put it in a box as 'known' and are happy to argue with anyone who disagrees.
Keeping It Real: The Only Copywriting Trick That Works
Much of today's accepted copywriting wisdom comes from old books written for a different, quieter world.For most of the twentieth century, widely promoting a successful message was expensive and difficult, requiring control of significant resources and substantial time commitments.
Freelance Copywriting Advice #1: Take the Scary Jobs
From time to time you will be faced with an opportunity that looks downright scary.The temptation is to think, "Hey, that's way outside my level of expertise.
Web Copy - How Much is Enough?
These days, there's widespread acceptance that a website is an integral part of the marketing plan of any business. Likewise, it's commonly accepted that web copy is a vital component of any website.
Knowing Copywriting Basics - How To Get Ahead In Your Copy Writing Business
In order to get ahead in your copy writing business, you need to know copywriting basics. There are several things that all business owners need to know, and here, we will touch on just a few.
Power Keys To Writing Power-Packed Marketing Copy
In order to maximize your sales efforts and fully seize your greatest profit potential, these essential elements are a "must-have" and "must-apply" in all of your action-driven marketing communications.Value-Added, Benefit-Rich Headlines Make The DifferenceA bold, mouth-watering headline is considered by many a marketer to be the most important element of any super-effective marketing copy.
Hooks, Lines & Sinkers
Hands up if the title to this article made you think that you'd strayed into a fishing feature?Perhaps you didn't quite go that far, but hopefully you were puzzled or curious enough to wonder what on earth those three angling associated words have to do with writing. The answer of course is nothing at all if you are thinking of metal barbs, yards of tangled nylon and blobs of lead weights.
Custom Writing Services: Market Overview
Market identification Custom writing services market is a sector of the e-commerce industry. Custom writing services are fee-based.
Calls-To-Action: Making Them Fit Makes All the Difference
It was going so well, so what happened? Many copywriters get off to a wonderful start: The headline is compelling, the body copy is benefit-filled, but then comes the call-to-action and the whole thing falls apart. Why? It could be a dozen different reasons, but one of the most common I've seen is that the call-to-action doesn't fit the target audience.
Copywriting 101: Exclamation Point, Friend or Foe?
My name is Ann and I'm a grammar geek. There, it's out and I'm relieved.
A Free Lesson On How To Easily Write Ads That Are Guaranteed To Make You Money
COPYWRITINGAfter determining what we are going to sell, the next task is to effectively convey our message.Copywriting is the art of writing words and messages that successfully sell a product or service.
How to Start and Sustain a Career as a Freelance Writer
Have you wondered how you can make a career writing books or articles for various publications? Or are you seeking a viable second income opportunity but do not know where to start? Well, freelance writing may be the right career for you and it can open a world of lucrative opportunities for you.You do not need to have special qualifications to be a freelance writer and make money.
Can Honest Copywriting Succeed?
I confess--I'm a marketing heretic! I've built my career on breaking all the rules--and one of the rules I break is that I don't hype.Do I put the best possible "spin" on the truth? Of course! But I refuse to deceive my readers into action.
Super Verbs Really Move Your Copy
Run or hustle? Eat or devour? Move or scurry? You can boost the power of your copy by boosting the quality of verbs you use. Verbs show action, and the way you describe that action can have a dramatic bearing on your readers.
11 Things You MUST Know Before Hiring a Copywriter!
If you're considering hiring copywriting help for your next brochure, Web site, or marketing project. Congratulations! You should get great results if you hire a pro to do it right.
One of the biggest challenges a copywriter faces is to make future clients feel confident in his or her ability. You know you can deliver, but your clients don't know that.
Promote Your Business and Get Paid for Doing It!
How can you gain credibility and exposure for you and your business, reach a motivated audience, develop a far-flung network, hone your presentation skills -- and get paid to do it?Many writers, artists, speakers and entrepreneurs have found an answer: they teach classes in adult education programs.Adult education is big business.
|home | site map|