Find a passage of poorly written copy, and chances are you will have found a copywriter who never figured out what it was that he or she was trying to say.
Whenever I have trouble with some copy, I stop, sit back and then write at the very top of the page...
"What is it that I am really trying to say?"
With that question, I force myself to take a much more disciplined approach to my work.
I force myself to go back to the brief and take a closer look at the product or service in question, and the needs of the audience to which I am writing.
I force myself to think a lot harder about what really needs to be said in order to attract, engage, inform and inspire the reader.
I force myself to find the one line, the one thought that truly describes what it is I am trying to say.
With that line in hand, I can then start over, knowing that I am heading in the right direction with a clear, simple message.
All too often, copywriters use the process of copywriting to help them 'think'. That's how bad copy happens. You need to get the thinking done before you start writing.
Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author, speaker and advocat of good writing online. You can access his complete archive of newsletter articles here.