Every job has a toolkit. For carpenters and mechanics that might include screwdrivers and power tools. Cooks need bowls, spoons and measuring cups. But what do copywriters need to get the job done? Beyond coffee and a keyboard, there aren’t many physical tools to see in my toolbox. Most of my useful tools for crafting creative copy are found online. So grab a refill on your coffee and browse my seven favorite copywriting tools.
I have an eight pound Roget’s Thesaurus in my office dated 1996. I use it to kill roaches. When I need the perfect word for copy I use thesaurus.com — hundreds of synonyms with just a click.
Every word processing program has a word/character counter. Use it for keeping track of social media character counts, counting words to time scripts and keeping your copy tight and to the point.
Go Go Grammar
Grammarly is a free site that goes beyond basic spell and grammar checks. It identifies words that are spelled correctly but may be used in the wrong context. It will even check your work using British, Canadian or Australian rules…which isn’t super useful, but certainly is “colourful.”
Working on a project with someone in another location? The collaboration tools in Google Docs, Apple Pages or Microsoft Word make it easy to see edits and make changes in real time in the cloud.
A Farewell to Errors
The free Hemingway Editor grades your readability, roots out passive voice, suggests alternative words and gives you a clear, colorful display of all your results.
Unclutter Your Screen
Evernote is a wonderful product that helps you take notes, capture ideas and clip and copy pages from the web. My favorite function is the Evernote Web Clipper browser extension that lets you capture, annotate and share the text from any web page. It removes everything from the page but the content and related images. Not that I don’t love ads … I write them all day every day … but it does make reading content much easier.
Go To Your Happy Place
Sometimes you need to tune out the world around you. Music doesn’t work for me. I end up singing along with any songs that have lyrics and Kenny G just isn’t my jam. There are plenty of free white noise apps available that generate soothing tones that hush outside interference. Mine has white, pink and blue noise plus nature sounds like rain, purring cats and ocean waves. There are even choices like clothes dryer, lawn sprinkler and vinyl record. So pop on those headphones and put your brain on tumble dry.
Beth Harris, Creative Director