good copywriting

What Does Good Copywriting Look Like? This Before and After Shows You

I talk a lot about clear, crisp and straightforward copywriting – but what does that look like? In honor of my kids’ first week of school, it’s time for a little lesson.

This lesson comes courtesy of my son’s 8th grade Civics and Economics Honors teacher. She sent out a note to us parents last night, and her, um, unique writing style left me speechless.

This poor woman is a horrible writer.

What does good copywriting look like?

I’m not going to share her entire note – shaming people isn’t my jam. Instead, I’ve pulled out some choice sentences for our copywriting before and after.

BEFORE:

A bit of information about the class is that the main goal I have for your child is to help  develop skills that can help them be successful in my class, future classes, and adulthood.

What’s wrong with this sentence?

It’s needlessly wordy, missing a word, and uses the same word twice (“help”).

After:

My main goal for your child is to help them develop the skills they’ll need to be successful in my class, future classes, and adulthood.

BEFORE:

The amazing thing about the IB/MYP program is that the main focus is not on the content, but using the content to develop skills such as communication, research, self-management, social, and thinking skills.

What’s wrong with this sentence?

It includes a very random use of the word “amazing”, doesn’t spell out the acronym even though it’s the first time it’s mentioned, and uses two words twice this time. (When the acronym is spelled out, “program” appears twice. The other word that is used twice is “skills”.)

After:

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program* (IB/MYP) does not focus on content but rather how to use the content to develop communication, research, self-management, social, and thinking skills.

BEFORE:

My goal for the students are that they are able to leave my class being able to think independently and not take information passively.

What’s wrong with this sentence?

It repeats “goal”, the verb tense is incorrect, it’s repetitive (“able to” appears back-to-back) and the use of “take” is an awkward way to describe how a student receives information.

After:

By the end of the school year, I want my students to think independently rather than absorb information passively.

BEFORE:

Additionally, I do not want your child or you to believe that they have to figure out what my thoughts or beliefs are and then have to be the same in order to make me happy.

What’s wrong with this sentence?

It’s confusing (what’s the same?) and wordy (shocker).

After:

Additionally, your child doesn’t need to figure out what my point-of-view is in order to make me happy.

Is copywriting not your forte?

We all have different talents. If you need help turning mediocre copywriting into good copywriting, give us a shout.

* For those of you curious about it, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program is an educational program for students between the ages of 11 to 16 around the world as part of the International Baccalaureate continuum. MYP is intended to prepare students for the two-year IB Diploma Program (they can pursue it in high school if they so choose).

Photo by Lisa Fotios from pexels

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