Editing Tips to Help Hone Messaging
One key to creating more cost-effective — and just plain effective — creative is to keep your message short and sweet.
This was the main message in co-presenter Donna Baier Stein’s portion of the session “How to Make Your Creative (Including Acquisition!) More Cost-Effective & Deliverable” at the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2007 Annual Washington Nonprofit Conference.
Stein, president of copywriting consultancy Baier Stein Direct, stressed that the less you say, the better. Why? People today have too many choices, too many multi-tasked responsibilities, too much time pressure and, most of all, are overloaded with information.
It’s a given that the goal for every organization is to write copy that generates a response. But readers are inundated with such requests. Therefore, an organization must present the best offer possible, write to the best person possible, use the appropriate media and “write to sell.”
Two keys to creating an enticing message or campaign that attracts the attention of readers are: sleek, succinct copy and smart copy placement, both of which result from good editing, she said.
Good writing and good response come from good editing. Some editing tips Stein shared are:
1. Remove every unnecessary word from your copy.
2. Reduce clauses to phrases. For example, the sentence, “When they were wounded by poachers, the apes stole away to die in the bush” can become, “Wounded by poachers, the apes hid in the bush to die.”
3. Read your copy out loud. “There’s no better way to feel the rhythm of your language or catch missing words,” she said.
4. Use contractions. For example, the sentence, “You will enjoy knowing your contribution will help ten low-income children to receive the medical care they are so desperately in need of” can become, “You’ll enjoy knowing your gift can help ten low-income children receive the medical help they desperately need.”
5. Remove the word “that” from sentences. The sentence, “It is important that you return your contribution as quickly as you can” can be shortened to, “It is important you return your contribution quickly.”