Edit Your Copy for Clarity

You want to make sure your messages are clear and that people know what to take away from the page they are reading.

Always start with your One Reader

“My one reader is _____________ who wants to ___________. They came here expecting ___________. I want them to believe ____________ so they take action.”

Before you start editing your copy, answer the following questions:

  • Who is this page clearly for?
  • What message am I supposed to take away?
  • What is the clear action to take?

With all this in mind, let’s see some of the editing tasks you should perform to make clarity a priority.

1. Cut all the irrelevant ideas.

2. Scrap redundant sentences. Is the sentence adding to your sales message? Yes, keep it. No, cut it.

3. Spot weak words and phrases and replace them with stronger and specific ones.

  • Weak words such as perhaps, just, actually, very, truly, really, actually, in my opinion, and stunning, to name a few.
  • Phrases and words that were at some point powerful but, over time, have lost their power — ultimate, amazing, awesome.
  • Words that can be interpreted in many different ways. These words are not specific enough — successful, good, nice, bad, effective.

4. Replace complicated words with simple ones.

5.  Avoid passive voice. In a passive sentence, the subject is the recipient of the action. In an active sentence, the subject performs the action. Active sentences are more persuasive. To be persuaded, the reader needs to understand what you are saying. According to Hosman (2002), passive sentences are grammatically complex and more difficult to understand. Active sentences make the message easy to digest.