Voicing for Concise Copy

When you want concise, tightly written copy, I can think of no better way to get there than by voicing it. Hear it. Chop. Rewrite. Start over if you need to.

I often record voice-over for clients. And I’ve found the best way to get to a great script is to read it aloud. Make a change? Read the paragraph or so leading into the change. Listen for pacing, and listen for repeated words (the English language is good for having many words that mean the same thing!).

Composing concise copy is tough. But you must demand it from your copywriter. Whether writing for any print or digital channel, you must challenge the need for every idea, thought, and word. When copy becomes boring, awkward or confusing, in a click or a toss you’ve lost your sales opportunity, perhaps forever.

The best online tool I’ve found for a team to review copy is Skype. Everyone is called and I share my screen with the copy viewable for everyone to see. Then I voice it. It’s never a dry read through. But filled with energy and emphasis on keywords. For a video voice-over, it’s how the message can be conveyed. For the written word in email or print, the naturally voiced and emphasized words are either shown bolded or in italics.

While this approach is time-consuming, it’s effective, eliminates extra words, and identifies redundant thoughts or the same words used too close together. It’s a process that exposes needless concepts and words that don’t advance the story.

Here’s what I do:

  1. I draft copy as tightly and concisely as possible. Or sometimes we plan a work session where I type fast and furiously as ideas come together.
  2. On a Skype call with the client or creative team, I share myh screen and voice the entirety of the copy aloud.
  3. Don’t be afraid to delete copy—potentially lots of copy when it doesn’t advance your story. Remove copy that’s confusing, boring or awkward. Start over if the copy isn’t working.

With concise copy, you have a greater likelihood that your reader (or listener) will focus on your story, minimizing the chance of distraction or disinterest.

Comment

Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.