Whether you’re on your final read over, or you’ve just word vomitted all over a blank google doc and you need to trim it down, ask yourself these questions.
In no particular order;
- Could it be shorter?
- Am I writing at a 9/10th grade level or below? (Yes is the correct answer here)
- Is this sentence/paragraph conveying valuable information?
- Am I thinking of the target audience while I write, or am I thinking of myself?
- Is this appropriately written and structured for the format?
- Is the point clearly and coherently made? Do the points connect to form a larger narrative?
- Is this interesting?
- Have you got more than one list? Is it absolutely necessary?
- Am I straying from the intention of the piece?
- Have I edited it so much I’m now working on a completely different piece?
- Could this be broken into more than one piece?
- Do the points have breathing space?
- Am I putting this sentence in because it sounds nice or because it serves a purpose?
- Does every sentence serve a purpose?
- Does the piece stand on its own or does it need support?
- If I don’t like something, can I name why?
- Have I spent too long on this? Do I need to move on?
- Are all your references appropriately credited?
- Anything racist, ageist, sexist, prejudiced against disabilities, neuro-differences, or anything else that’s really bigotted?
And because every copywriter has a different process, I asked around the copywriting/marketing community and crowd sourced some extras.
“Once I feel like I’m done editing a piece I will use the “read aloud” feature within MS Word. Definitely helps to have it read out loud by “someone” else — even if that’s a robot.” — Kelley Ann
“Who is my target audience and what do I want them to do?” — Nelle May
“Could my mum understand this and what would she feel?” — Anna Ball
“Check back against the brief” — Mary Mungo
“Am I speaking to one person?” — Claire Emerson
“Am I giving the reader a clear and compelling CTA? Is there any doubt at all what they should do next?” — Lyn Marler
“Would my copy make the target audience smile in some way?” — Samantha Hoilett
I put together this article specifically to feature in my newsletter, Mehdeeka! Read previous issues and sign up at mehdeeka.substack.com