Monday, October 19, 2020

Copywriting: Tools and Resources to Make Your Life Simpler

All writers and copywriters have their own particular box of tricks to pull from.  

I've gathered together a list that covers every aspect of copywriting, from language and grammar, research, to copywriting tone of voice.

Legal Stuff

Useful legal materials for copywriters.  The legal know-how that lets you know what's involved in the legal process of copywriting.

GDPR FAQs for sending cold emails: Everything you need to know about GDPR compliance.

ASA rulings: Learn how the CAP Code works by reading the ASA rulings.  A new batch is published every Wednesday, and straight to your inbox if you want it.  Your eyes will be opened when you see how many brands break the rules.

The CAP Code: You need to know your boundaries off by heart when you start claiming what a product can do.  The CAP Code will fill you in.

Images and Photos

Believe it or not copywriters working online need to brighten up their posts with images.

Images for social media: An up-to-date guide on social media image sizes from sproutsocial.

33 brilliant sources for free images:  Thoughtfully has done the groundwork for you already, discover what the websites have to offer in the way of royalty-free images.

Special Typography (Diatrics and special characters)

Typography is a key element of copywriting and getting it right is half the battle.  

Cut-and-paste diacritics: Typeit is an easy-to-use platform for choosing your language or characters, and pasting them straight into your word processor.

Tables of character codes: Discover a comprehensive list of characters, listed alphabetically which includes codes for PCs, Macs, and HTML.

Scroll-through list of letters and diacritics: Toptal gives you a list of HTML Letter Symbols, Letter Entities and ASCII Letter Character Code Reference.

Scroll-through maths and science symbols and codes: A further list from Toptal in an easy-to-read format.

List of logic symbols: A well organised list from Wikipedia.

Currency symbols and codes: If you're not sure about what currency symbol to use for the Aruba Gilder or Brazil Real XE gives you the symbols, codes and simple alternative three-letter code.

Three-letter currency codes: IBAN gives you the full list of three letter currency codes which you won't find in the about XE list.

Text wizard's special characters guide:  This resource covers the entire topic, and more.  Including a list of definitions, instructions for tapping alt-codes, and Unicode straight into Word.

Bypassing Spam Filters

See whether your email copy will get through spam filters with some help from these links.

Huge list of filter-spooking words: Discover which words and phrases could cause you problems with Automantional's 475-wordlist.

The ultimate list of filter-spooking words: Find out which words will get you into trouble with Karen Rubin's Hubspot list.

Inspiration Generators

Looking for inspiration? Often all it takes is a bump in the right direction.

Title generator: If you're really desperate for a clickbait headline look no further.

Headline generator: Does the same job as the one above, with the added advantage of being able to tailor your custom-fit your selection depending on the type of content you're writing.

Refine your headline: Sign up and drop your headline into the CoSchedule analyser for an instant evaluation. 

Polish your email subject line: Get openability subject lines from CoSchedule with no nonsense text that scores brilliantly.

Reverse-engineered marketing and copywriting inspiration: Delve into a huge resource of ads that have worked for other copywriters at one time or another.  There may be a nugget waiting to be dug out for your next copywriting project.

Find a quote about a topic: Search by topic with Quoteland.

Search for listings on anything: From entertainment, music, nerdy stuff, sports, living, history, culture, the skies the limit on Ranker for lists on anything.

Grammar and Language

There's no need for any self-assured writer or copywriter to be paying for a premium grammar service checker online.

But if you're looking for a safeguard against anyone who thinks your writing isn't following the grammar rule book here are some helpful pages for you to look at.

Grammar checker number 1: Grammarly, a heavily promoted grammar checker and resource.  The free version isn't up to much, and the premium begs the question as to whether you really need to use it all.

Grammar checker number 2: Scribens is about the best online grammar checker on the list.  It has the added advantage of accepting more text than most of the others.

Online Oxford Dictionary: Even really great writers need to check their spelling every now and again.  
The Urban Dictionary: Urban dictionary was started for everyone to share their language  Originally intended to subvert authority of the traditional dictionary.  Created to document our messy, weird, and unpredictable language as it evolves.

"Yes, you can start a sentence with and": A website killing the myth that you can't start a sentence with the word "and".

The Oxford Comma: Use it or Ditch it?: The pros and cons of using the Oxford Comma from proofreadnow.

Wordhippo: A favourite word tool of mine.

Timesavers - Text to Speech - Speech to Text

A time-saving tool with the ability to turn speech into text, and text into speech.  The first lowers time transcribing, and the latter helps to clear out awkward phrases.  Good for any kind of writing - particularly video scripts and speeches.

Microsoft text to speech: Word can be set up to read your text back to you.  It will only read what's on the page.  You can get a free Chrome extension if you use Google Docs.

Convert spoken word into text: Otter is a handy tool to record interviews or record case studies and automatically turn them into text.  Sign up for free and get 600 minutes a month.

Improve documentation productivity and get more done: A life-saver for any writer that doesn't want to type.  This handy piece of kit allows you to control your entire desktop with your voice. 

Get Up to Speed With these Copywriting Glossaries 

Learn the jargon of marketing and copywriting with these glossaries.

The A-Z of typographic terms: With simple explanations Fontsmith is a joy to read and discover.

Technology terms: This comprehensive list comes courtesy of WhatIs.

Marketing terms and definitions: TheBalance explains each term with a mini essay, not like many dictionaries that seem to be more of a patchwork affair.

Plagiarism

It's good to know if you're reading someone else's copy that they haven't taken the easy route (cheating) to create the perfect copy.

Plagiarism checker:  Small SEO Tools provides you with a percentage value for plagiarism and originality.

Readability

Make life easier for your readers.

Readability measures: Discover the many scales of calculating readability.

Check your content for readability: Another useful tool from Readable, simply copy and paste your text and get a speedy result.

Test the readability of your webpages: An easy way to make sure another copywriter's work is fit for purpose.

The Hemingway App: The best free readability checker around.

Research

All copywriters should know their facts.

Academic papers:  Google Scholar provides an almost limitless amount of research.

Statistics: Get stats about just about everything from Pew Research Centre.

Multiple searches: Get all of your online search options on one page with refdesk.

Internet archive on the Wayback Machine: The Wayback machine will bring up information from websites that have been saved over time.


Editing and proofreading

Some useful shortcuts and techniques to help you along.

Converting text from PDFs: Ever wondered how to extract text from a PDF to edit or read it? Lorraine Williams discovered a way to export PDF text in its entirety straight to Google Docs or Word.  
Airtight proofreading: Textwizard's foolproof proofreading steps to clean your copy.

Formulas

The sequence of copywriting elements that leads a customer to the sale, is probably most well-known with the AIDA formula.

The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting: Copyhackers has put together probably one of the most comprehensive lists I've seen online.

Tone of voice

Most of the time tone of voice is speculation or just a gut feeling.

Find your voice: Voicebox is a radically simple approach to defining a brand's tone of voice.

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