Copywriting Exercises: How to Transform Long, Boring Sentences Into Short, Powerful Copy

Marie Forleo introduction

Hi!

I’m Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Want to make a bigger impact with your copywriting in half the time?

Today on The Marie Forleo Podcast, learn three copywriting exercises to transform long, rambly sentences into copy that’s powerful and to the point. Iconic brands and prolific writers use these strategies to dazzle readers and skyrocket sales — and now you can too.

Practice these copywriting exercises often and you’ll be able to:

“I wish they took LONGER to get their point across.” ~ No one, ever. Learn 3 steps to write short, powerful copy →  https://bit.ly/3copytips Click To Tweet

Ready to ditch your writing insecurities and become a better copywriter? Hit play below or listen on your favorite podcast platform.

(Warning: this episode contains magical singing from yours truly. #sorrynotsorry.)

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Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

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WANT TO BE A BETTER WRITER?
If you want more help with your writing, join me in The Copy Cure. It’s a copywriting program designed to help you write more powerfully, persuasively, and in your unique voice —
and it’s backed by a 100% risk-free satisfaction guarantee.
Doors close Wednesday, May 20th. Learn more here.

Transform Your Sales Copy With These 3 Copywriting Exercises

Worried that you’re scaring away potential customers with long, boring sales copy? You’re not alone. We surveyed over 20,000 people about their writing habits and 33% struggle with being too wordy and long-winded. Use these three copywriting exercises below to write stronger, more concise copy — in half the time.

Copywriting Exercise #1: Write A Shitty First Draft That’s Waaaay Too Long.

I know, I know. You want it to be short and powerful right off the bat, but that’s not how writing works. If you want to become a better copywriter, practice getting all your ideas down first. Best-selling author, Anne Lamott, calls this your “shitty first draft,” because that’s exactly what your first attempt is — shitty. The first step in the writing process is to get it out on the page, not get it perfect.

Key point: Just write, don’t edit. 

Why? Because writing and editing are two different functions. Doing both at the same time will only slow you down. Write the shitty first draft and trust that the copywriting magic happens when you spend time editing and polishing.

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples:

  • The Continental Congress made 86 changes to Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of The Declaration of Independence.
  • Ernest Hemingway wrote 47 endings to A Farewell To Arms.
  • Marion Roach Smith submitted her essay Spam Chop Suey to NPR after draft 45!

Copywriting Exercise #2: Write It Rude.

Politeness leads to long-windedness. If you’re trying too hard to make everyone like you, your writing will suffer. You’ll add all kinds of unnecessary parentheticals and word softeners to your message, which will make it bland and forgettable.

Writing it rude will help you write more
effective sales copy, faster and clearer. 

These iconic ads are the perfect example of writing it rude:

  • Got Milk? — They didn’t say, “Excuse me, I hate to bother you, but I’m just wondering whether you have some milk?” No! They kept it short and sweet.
  • Just Do It. — Nike didn’t write, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you did it?” Or, “We strongly suggest that at your earliest convenience, you do it.” Instead, they wrote. “Just Do It,” and the rest is history.

To be clear, writing it rude doesn’t mean keeping it rude. Use this copywriting exercise to zoom past your inner critic and say what you want to say, without a filter.

Copywriting Exercise #3: Trim the Fat.

Once you have a shitty first draft that contains the essence of what you want to say, it’s time to edit. Cut as many words from your copy as you can without losing the meaning. Be ruthless. Lose every unnecessary word, adverb, and cliche.

Here’s a quick editing trick: use your document’s find and replace tool to cut common “filler words” like the following:

  • Just
  • That
  • Really/very
  • You can
  • Start

Want to see some copyediting in action? Here’s an example from our flagship copywriting program, The Copy Cure.

BEFORE:
I firmly believe that everyone is fully capable of writing their own copy and developing their own truly unique voice, as long as they have the necessary knowledge of how to implement certain techniques, which I am about to share.
AFTER:
Everyone can write. Everyone can develop a voice. All it takes are these simple techniques.

In our writing program, The Copy Cure, we show you how to trim all the extra words (and include a list of words to avoid at all costs) so your writing is tight and powerful.

Today’s Insight Into Action Challenge

Now I’d love to hear from you. Today’s question has two parts:

  1. What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing?
  2. Try one of our 3 copywriting exercises to something you’ve written: a sentence, tagline, or headline. Share your before and after in the comments below!

If you feel like you write like a robot or keep telling yourself, “I suck as a writer” remember this: writing isn’t rocket science. It’s a learnable skill anyone can develop.

Use these exercises and keep going. Because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.

With enormous love,

XO

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