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25 Inspirational Resources for Copywriters

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As a copywriter, you need to be immersed in what’s going on in the world, even when those things seem completely unrelated to what you’re doing. Why? Because you’re writing for real people, who may end up being customers if you treat them right. We’re all just people, and what we really connect over is stuff which makes us go, “Woah!”

For example, did you know that the poster for Netflix’s nostalgic 80s sci-fi series, Stranger Things, was designed using an iPad Pro and Apple pencil?

Stranger Things poster made on ipad
Image via Kyle Lambert.

That may not seem relevant when you’re building out marketing campaigns and landing pages, but when you understand how people are thinking, and what they’re doing with technology, art and words, you have a better toolkit for building conversion-friendly content.

Here are 25 inspirational and practical resources, aimed at expanding your mind and copywriting toolkit. If you think we’ve missed one, drop us a comment below and help us to grow this list.

Technical and grammar

Interesting reads on writing well, and how not to use the semicolon.

1. The Writer — readability checker

The team at The Writer are all about making your words work harder. There’s plenty of general advice there for strengthening your copy, but what I really love is their readability checker, which gives you instant feedback on how readable your copy is, on a scale of Harry Potter to Harvard Law Review.

2. The Oatmeal (posters)

I wish they’d do more of these posters, because not only are they funny, they’re also genuinely useful.

The Oatmeal semicolon poster
Check out the one on semicolons: “Using a semicolon isn’t hard; I once saw a party gorilla do it.”

3. Mary Norris, Comma Queen (The New Yorker)

One of my absolute favorite resources is the Comma Queen series by Mary Norris, copy editor at The New Yorker. In her witty, to-the-point style, she’ll teach you how to properly use commas and semicolons, and how to understand the difference between lie and lay.

4. The Unbounce Dejargonator Extension

There are ways to writing convincingly, without using heady, technical jargon. When you’re speaking to people who aren’t marketers — or even if they are — it’s really beneficial to speak like a human being. Simple, right? This awesome extension for Chrome helps you do just that, by suggesting changes to your landing page copy. It’s like having an Unbounce editor all to yourself, you lucky sausage.

5. Ellen Brock, Editor

Ellen Brock is a freelance novel editor, but her advice is extremely valuable for all kinds of writers. When you understand story arcs and how to prioritize your work, you can apply those skills to your marketing copy.

6. Thesaurus.com

No, it’s not just a website for looking up synonyms, Thesaurus has a bunch of other really useful articles and tools for improving your writing. Between it and Dictionary.com there’s a lot of information on the difference between the likes of Who and Whom, and commonly misunderstood words.

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Content marketing

Using what you write to inform, entertain and convert.

7. Shopify Blog

A little bit like Entrepreneur, only focused entirely on e-commerce. If your landing page is for an online store, what you learn from Shopify could help to make sure customers stick around and spend once they arrive.

8. Copyblogger

Really more of a general content marketing blog these days than straight copywriting advice, Copyblogger is a great resource for anyone in need of specific know-how, or just a bit of inspiration. Well-written, engaging posts and updated regularly.

9. Copyhackers

If you’re a new freelancer, or new to content marketing, Copyhackers is the place to go for fundamental advice on running your show. Even if you’re an experienced writer or marketer, if you need trusted advice in a hurry, bets are that Copyhackers have covered it.

Whether you’re a new or an experienced copywriter, this comprehensive guide to freelance copywriting is a cracking place to start. And then there’s the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Facebook Ads.

10. Ceros Blog

Another gem in the world of content marketing, the Ceros blog features loads of examples of effective creative content, in the form of opinion pieces and big brand analyses.

Reading and culture

Get outside the world of click and convert for a bit, and see what words can do for your soul.

11. Stephen King — 20 Rules for Writers

I hate seeing the words rules and writing put together, but King’s top 20 — let’s call them guidelines — can help to get you on track, or back on track depending on where you left off.

Stephen King

12. The Electric Typewriter

Feed your soul at The Electric Typewriter. Possibly the internet’s most delicious collection of articles, essays and short stories from the world’s best journalists and authors. This is online reading for connoisseurs.

13. Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

Here’s something for when you need some downtime. Science-fiction author Ray Bradbury’s brilliant collection of short stories, The Illustrated Man. I’m a big fan of short stories, and I believe that reading and understanding them can help you to craft more potent copy. Why? Check out this post “For More Meaningful Copy, Think Like a Fiction Writer”’ to find out.

14. The short stories of O. Henry

Henry is considered a legend amongst short story authors. His command of simple language, and how he used it to offer incredibly short, but always poignant ideas makes his work a good body to study if you’re trying to learn how to be more economical with words.

15. Brain Pickings with Bob Dylan

A little off the beaten track here, but in this interview with the singer-songwriter, Dylan muses on the value of new ideas and what it takes to create something with real meaning. Lofty, for sure, but like I said at the start, it’s good to know what’s going on in the world.

16. Stephen King, On Writing

In relation to my last point, if you’d like some advice on writing fiction, then Stephen King’s On Writing is a fabulous resource.

17. How To Format a Screenplay

Here’s a fine example of stepping outside your comfort zone. Writing exists in so many formats, and screenplays for TV and movies are one of the most technical and, in my opinion, difficult examples of the craft. Approach this as a pencil illustrator might approach drawing with ink for the first time, and enjoy it, it’s an interesting read.

Journalism

To-the-point advice from leading journos and editors at The New York Times.

18. The Opinionator blog, NYT

Plenty of musings on the technical and metaphysics of writing from opinion writers at The New York Times. Interesting reads, and the occasional gem of inspiration or practical advice to be had.

19. Writing rules and advice from the NYT

If you really want to write well and effectively, then taking heed of how (arguably) the world’s best newspaper does it is smart.

20. After Deadline blog, NYT

A more technical, nerdy look at The New York Times’s approach to copy and editing. An interesting blog to scan over in your lunch break. Keep it bookmarked and build up a vast knowledge of copy-related wisdom from seasoned writers and editors, which might come in handy one day.

Video

Talks and interviews with linguistics experts, authors and journalists from around the world.

21. Charlie Rose interviews

Charlie Rose is arguably the greatest interviewer of all time, and he’s had some of the most famous and influential people at his table over the past 25 years. I’ve linked here to his segments with key journalists, but you’ll also find talks there he’s done with well-known authors, including David Foster Wallace and Stephen King.

22. TED playlists

Inspiring talks from authors and linguistics experts on how to tell stories, how language evolves and even the origins of words themselves. Look out for The Mystery Box talk from Star Trek director J. J. Abrams, in which he talks about how to effectively draw your audience into a world of possibilities — exactly what you want from your landing pages, right?

Typography

Get to know the letters which form our words and shape our world.

23. I Love Typography

You click, you change the font, you click, you change to another font. Typography affects readability, emotional impact, tone and whether people stick around long enough to click, or buy. Take a dive here into the completely nerdy world of typography.

Advertising

When words become household sayings.

24. Fast Company, “The Best Advertising Slogans of All Time”

My all-time favorite slogan has to be the one Toys R’ Us used for a period in the 1980s — “You’ll Never Outgrow Us.” Creepy as hell, right? Here’s Fast Company’s round-up of the most popular advertising slogans of all time.

Bonus

25. 10 books For copywriters

Unbounce veteran contributor Aaron Orendorff recently tweeted this top 10 list of copywriting books by copywriters. I’ll confess that I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but Aaron knows his stuff, so you should check these guys and girls out.

That’s it for now, but we’d love for this list to grow. If you have an awesome resource that you’d like to share with your fellow writers, drop it in the comments below, and we’ll add it to the list.

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Check Also

Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look

Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look

The Hipster’s Guide to ROI [Infographic]
Marketing lingo has expanded and with all of the acronyms, it’s hard to decipher and differentiate combinations of letters. This infographic will show you the most common acronyms and esoteric language related to marketing ROI, giving you an explanation of what they are and why they matter. (LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog)

SEMrush Ranking Factors Study 2017
Google ranking factors constantly updates with every major algorithm change. In this report, the 12 most substantial and controversial factors (including website visits, pages per session and content) were chosen to show what impacts search results and to identify consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism that could be helpful to the SEO community. (SEMrush)

Check Out Our New Look!
Twitter has listened to the feedback from its users and have made some updates to the design. Some of the new features include: Typography has been refined to be more consistent with bolder headlines and rounded profile photos, Tweets are now updated instantly on the mobile app with replies, retweets and like counts so you can see real-time conversations and links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in iOS so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into. (Twitter Blog)

LinkedIn Adds Images in Comments, New Opportunities for Job Listings
There have been many small yet impactful new updates to LinkedIn recently, due to audience demand. One new feature is you can now add images into comments on posts within the LinkedIn platform. Another boost for LinkedIn is Google’s new tool which helps people find jobs directly through Google search, which sorts through various listings, including LinkedIn. (Social Media Today)

Instagram Stories Now Has 250 Million Daily Active Users, Heating Up Its Rivalry With Snapchat
Instagram Stories is the section of disappearing posts, which recently pulled ahead of Snapchat with an increase of 50 million users in just two months. Instagram also announced that users are now allowed to replay live video instead of it immediately disappearing. (AdWeek)

Google’s Job Listings Search is Now Open to All Job Search Sites & Developers
Google is now offering a formal path for outsiders to add job listings in Google search. Although it doesn’t have an official name, it’s part of the Google for Jobs initiative. You can also track how well your job listings are doing in Google search with a new filter in the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. (Search Engine Land)

Oh, How Pinteresting!
Pinterest rolled out a fresh new look for Lens, and instead of only being able to recreate your favorite restaurant dishes at home, Lens can now recognize and recommend outfit ideas including shoes, shirts, hats and other styles. The new interface and built-in tools make it easy to Lens the world around you. (Pinterest Blog)

The Most Important Skills for B2B Tech Marketers
B2B technology marketers rely on many skills for their niche market. The most important skills among Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were soft skills, including communication and people management and writing skills. Others included digital media marketing and content marketing. (MarketingProfs)

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more top digital marketing news stories. Craving more news in the meantime? Check out TopRank Marketing on Twitter @toprank!

The post Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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