I have a confession to make. I, Ben Lloyd, professional copywriter and wordsmith, often talk to myself when I am writing and proofreading.
Why? Because it makes my clients happier.
And no, I’m not mad. There’s actually a couple of good reasons for working like this.
Successful copywriting relies on being able to “speak” to the reader, to create some kind of positive reaction. The kind of reaction that should make them run out and buy your product.
And one trick copywriters employ is that of “conversational” text – writing that is open, approachable and not unlike someone speaking with you.
For the most natural text, it makes sense to sound out what I am writing. If it sounds like an encyclopaedia entry, the imaginary conversation will probably be painfully boring. If my text sounds natural and flowing when read aloud (and it fits with the client’s brand tone), I’ve probably nailed it.
Which is why I often mutter sentences repeatedly to myself during the working day – I’m trying to find the right sound to connect with my audience.
Avoiding proofreading errors
But even when the document is finished, I’m not done talking to myself. I read every single article, white paper or document I write. Out loud. In its entirety.
Sometimes I even do it twice.
Again, there’s a good reason. Repeated words, poor clausal structure, crap construction (<- that’s a genuine grammar term) can often be missed as I silently scan a document. But if I read the text out loud, those grammar glitches have nowhere to hide.
Something about hearing the text read aloud immediately alerts me to any problems in a way that those wiggly red and green lines cannot. This is the ultimate proofreading tool.
Who’s crazy now?
So yes, I do sometimes sound a little crazy when I write copy. But I always get one last chance to polish my text to the standard your customers demand. I also avoid those spelling and grammar errors that tarnish my reputation as a professional copywriter.
Which begs the question – why wouldn’t you read your text out loud?
And yes, I really did read this post out loud before hitting publish.