Link to this page

How To Write Cleaner for Better Results in Copywriting

Q. Trick question: which is most important when writing for nonprofits – content or form?
A. Write cleaner … and your content will have better results.

In order to hook your reader and keep him, you’ve got to grab his attention with enticing content – facts, anecdotes, statistics, angles, ideas. But it’s clean writing that will make or break you. Because your reader will only stick with a piece if it’s easy to read.

“Clean” text flows. It holds your interest. You’re not writing to impress your 10th grade English teacher … you’re writing to engage your reader.

Clean writing stands out

5 ways to write cleaner for better results with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

According to Unleashing Connection, the average American reads 3,000 notices or forms in one year – and 100 newspapers, 36 magazines and 3 books. That’s a lot of words competing with yours to be noticed, whether it’s on the web, in social media, promotional materials or articles.

Here are five simple, proven ways to write cleaner to stand out and give you better results.

1. Focus on one idea

Consumers are bombarded with distractions. But clear, concise communication gets attention. The best way to focus your message is to identify the purpose of your writing project. Are you announcing an update of your organization’s activities? Sharing information in an article or essay? Thanking a client for a sale? Soliciting a donation?

Concentrate on communicating one main point to your target audience.

Trick:  Summarize the message of your piece in one sentence. Make sure every bit of writing supports or advances your summary sentence.

2. Use simple language

People read for information. They don’t want to work hard to understand what you’re saying. If you can use a 10-cent word instead of a 10-dollar word, do so. Think, “total” rather than “aggregate,” “cut” rather than “eliminate,” “use” rather than “utilize.”

Trick: Read your piece aloud. Does it read the way you talk? If not, replace words you never use in everyday conversation.

3. Avoid repetition

Repetitive writing obscures your point. Worse, it wastes your reader’s time.

Look for repeated ideas. Do you try to beef up your writing by saying the same thing several different ways? That technique will bore your reader. He’ll click off your site, turn the page to a different article or toss your letter into the trash can.

Trick: Check for one idea per sentence, one main point per paragraph. Make sure none of these duplicate another. To write cleaner, combine thoughts where there is overlap.

4. Write in short sections

People are busy. That explains why the USA Today® format is so popular -- readers like information quick and tight. Write crisp lists of ideas and bullet points. Use short sentences, paragraphs and sections. Make sure there’s plenty of white space on your document. Keep paragraph length to five lines or less.

Trick: Use the breath test. Can you read a sentence or a paragraph in one breath? If the answer is no, then break it into sections.

5. Cut out unnecessary words

Read each and every sentence slowly. Check to see if every word is absolutely essential. Make use of the “delete” key where needed.

Or … read each sentence. Check every word. Use the “delete” key where needed.

Trick: Pare down your piece to its bare bones. Does it still get your point across? Go back and read it one more time … and strike for any additional, remaining unessential words.


More Editing Tips

Basic copywriting: what is it and who you need it ...

Self-editing made simple ...

5 copywriting fixes to make you sound professional ...

Easy copywriting tips anyone can master ...

Weed out weasel words for stronger writing ...

Write better descriptions when you ditch these 2 words ...

The simplest, best copywriting tip ...

Readability check: an easy way to make your writing cleaner ...

Self-Editing Tip: Start a sentence with the subject, not extra words ...

Exclamation Point?! When in Doubt, Leave It Out ...

Passive voice: it's an easy fix with this writing tip ...

More editing tips on our Pinterest board ...


Return from Write Cleaner for Better Results to Nonprofit Copywriter home

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Powered by SBI! Learn more here.

Search This Site


Share This Page



Get Free Writing Tips

Stop Wasting Time!

Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"

XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!