Spruce it up, clean it up, make more exciting words
The Copy Doctor takes existing tired old copy and turns it into something exciting that will prompt consumers to make buying decisions. They will absorb marketing messages more easily and quickly.
When there is a big deadline looming, that’s the time to call the Copy Doctor. We are best at helping out in a pinch, where time is short and the need for excellence is high.
Here’s how we recently supported a busy communications professional:
The scenario: highly skilled PR professional at publicly held cannabis company faces investor conference call in next several days. The need: a writer and editor who understands the company. PR Writer who can concentrate on polishing comments, without being distracted in arrangements and follow ups for the investor call. Two documents: remarks for CEO and CFO and an impending earnings news release. Call is on Monday; draft received on Friday. Comments: 2325 words, release, 935. Assignment accepted. Client comments after the call: ‘Really appreciate your help in the script development. Added a lot of value for us.’
Examples tell the story
Below are examples of what was received, and the Copy Doctor’s surgery that made it better. I have changed the cannabis company’s name to Radix. It means root and connects to the industry. It is also a mathematical term. Other recent projects like this have involved editing and writing a presentation to raise capital for a newly formed cannabis company; editing and polishing a slide deck for an entrepreneurial business in transportation aftermarket and adding pizazz to a proposal letter to a U.S. company seeking a foothold in Canada’s fast-growing legal pot industry.
- Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the RadixThird Quarter Earnings Call. Participants may listen to the call through the conference call lineor the webcast link whichhave bothbeen provided. However, participants who wish to ask questionsor view the corporate presentation must login to the webcast. Participants may begin submitting written questions via the webcast now. 60 words
Here is the completed edit. Below are explanations for the changes.
- Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Radix’s Third Quarter Earnings Call. Participants may listen through the conference call line or the provided webcast link. However, participants seeking to ask questions or view the corporate presentation must login to the webcast. Written questions may now be submitted via the webcast. 54 words
Copy Doctor comments
- The Radix: an easy change is to Radix’s. Possessives eliminate extra words.
- To the call through the conference call line: easily reduced to ‘through the conference call line.’ Not necessary to use ‘call’ twice; the first reference is redundant.
- Which have both been provided: There is some that vs. which confusion here. That would be more correct, however, moving ‘provided’ in front of link eliminates words and the problem: ‘the provided webcast link.’
- Who wish to ask questions: it’s fairly unwieldy and reflects more spoken than written English. ‘Seeking to ask questions’ eliminates words and is smoother.
- Participants may begin submitting written questions via the webcast now: ‘Written questions may now be submitted via the webcast’ works better as it edits out ‘participants,’ as who else would be submitting questions? In addition, ‘may now be submitted’ is more active than ‘may begin submitting.’
Best tips for editing your own work
After seeing Copy Doctor’s work, clients and other writers often ask, how do you do that? What is your thought process? That was a big challenge: how to codify something that had been largely intuitive. So here — from my forthcoming book How to be a better online writer overnight — is Chapter 4, “How to edit your own work.”
Look for the words Of Is and By (these three are the key to being a better writer ‘overnight).’
- Can you use apostrophes instead of ‘of?’
- Introduce a comma clause instead of ‘is?’
- Are there passive voices where ‘by’ can be eliminated?
- Are there word repeats? Even different forms of the same word or verb.
- Can you find redundancies? Words like ‘brutal murder’ (all murders are brutal).
- Is the sentence too long? Would a period between two parts help?
- Are there throwaway clauses? Words that are necessary but only add a detail in addition to the main point?
- Can you eliminate ‘to for and on?’
- Discounts to Lululemon stores—Lululemon store discounts
- The effect on the environment—environmental effect
- Dependent on manufacturing—manufacturing dependent
- Are the ‘it and they’ references correct? — institutions are it, people are they.
- Do the words ‘located in’ or ‘headquartered in’ exist in the sentence?
- The crisis in Washington—the Washington crisis
- Headquarters in New York – New York headquarters
Is the meaning absolutely clear so that any reader will understand what you are saying?
I can almost always perform lifesaving surgery on your PR materials, improving their health quickly. In fact, I am so confident that I can improve them that I am offering a guarantee of satisfaction, or fees are returned. It’s something I love doing and hope you give it a try.