Writing Crystal Clear Copy: Copywriting Basics for Beginners | Ruth Clowes | Skillshare

Writing Crystal Clear Copy: Copywriting Basics for Beginners

Ruth Clowes, Professional Copywriter, Writing Trainer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
12 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:16
    • 2. Know Your Reader

      3:50
    • 3. Short, Sharp Sentences

      3:50
    • 4. The Active Voice

      4:27
    • 5. Trash the Adverbs

      2:27
    • 6. You and I

      4:48
    • 7. Find the Right Words

      2:50
    • 8. Don't Nominalise

      2:43
    • 9. Be Direct

      2:42
    • 10. Polish Your Copy

      3:05
    • 11. Tips, Tricks and Tools

      3:22
    • 12. Next Steps

      2:03
39 students are watching this class

About This Class

If you want to write clear, persuasive copy but struggle to communicate your message plainly, this class is for you.

Learn how to ditch the drivel, wave goodbye to waffle and polish your copy until it’s crystal clear. As a professional copywriter and marketer, words are my bread, my butter and my passion. In this super-practical copywriting workshop, I’ll teach you 10 simple and effective ways to transform your copy from boring to brilliant.

In this class you’ll learn:

  • The simple principles behind clear, concise copy.
  • How to clean up and clarify messy, imprecise text.
  • The power of the active voice and how to use it.
  • Practical tools and techniques to improve any piece of writing.

By the end of this class, you’ll have the skills and know-how to polish up a short piece of your own copy so that it’s crystal clear.

This class is for you if:

  • You lack confidence or experience when writing English.
  • You’re new to writing persuasively or want a refresher.
  • You need simple and effective techniques for improving existing copy.

USEFUL WEBSITES

Plain English Campaign - http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/

Oxford Dictionaries - https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

Hemingway - http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

Counting Characters - http://www.countingcharacters.com/

Connect with me: Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello, My name's Ruth. Welcome to my class on writing. Crystal clear Copy. This class is full of tips and techniques from my career. Is a professional copywriter. I'll be teaching you how to improve your writing and get your message across clearly and persuasively. You'll then use your new skills to improve a piece of your own copy and make it crystal clear the techniques. I'm going to show you a very simple, but they're also very powerful. Ah, now I know that you're going to be astonished at how much you can improve your own writing just by using the skills that you will learn during this class. This workshop is aimed at students who want to improve their basic copyrighting skills. You don't need any prior experience or knowledge. You just need an appetite to improve your writing. You'll find this class particularly useful if you want to improve your writing, but you struggle with concepts like using the first and third person or using the active and passive voice. Many people find those terms confusing, but don't worry. That's why I'm here. I'm gonna talk you through them using completely practical examples so that you can see exactly how they work and how you can apply them to your own copy. The skills you'll learn in this class are gonna be useful for all of the writing you do, but they're particularly helpful if you do a lot of online writing. So if you write blog's or social media posts or copy for websites, that's where brevity and clarity are especially important in writing. So if you write those kinds of things, you'll find this class particularly useful. Writing clearly and persuasively is easy when you understand the active and passive voice. The power of direct commands and how to use the first and third person on when you understand things like nominal is ations and adverbs, what they are and how and why you should avoid them. I'm going to take you through these principles of good, clear writing and show you how to put them into action quickly and effectively on the best thing. As you start using these skills for yourself, you'll quickly find that they become second nature and everything that you write will be clearer and more persuasive as a result, So shall we get started 2. Know Your Reader: has a writer. There are a few things you need to consider before you even put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. It's impossible to write clearly and effectively. If you're unsure who you're writing for or what the purpose of your writing is. That might sound pretty obvious, but it's amazing how many people start writing something like a Web page or a social media post without a clear idea in their mind of who it is they're writing for and why. So for each piece of copy that you write before you start writing, ask yourself, Who am I writing this four. Who is my reader? Why are they reading it? What's their motivation? What do they want to achieve? And finally, how can I help them? What is it that I'm offering that's going to help them achieve their objective? You might find it helpful to visualize an actual person who is going to be reading your copy. So, for example, if you're writing the about page of the website, you might imagine a potential customer who's reading that and how they might be feeling on what they might do next. This is a technique that I use and I find it incredibly useful. I know that some copywriters even have photographs of people in front of them when they're working to keep their mind fully focused on the end user. The reader At this point, I'd like to introduce you to the clarify your copy worksheet. You can download this from the resource is section of the class project tub. You'll use it to complete your project for this class, and I'm going to work through an example project during the class so that you can see it in action for your projects. I'd like you to choose a piece of copy that you've written and you'd like to improve. It should be about between 50 and 200 words. Your social media bio or the about page of your website would be ideal for this. For my example, I'm going to use some website copy sent to me by my client. Lois. Lois owns a local flower shop called the Flower Yard. She sent me some draft text for the about page of her website, and I'm going to edit it so it's as clear as possible using the same techniques I'll be teaching you in this class. Now Lois has done her homework well. She's identified her readers as existing and potential customers of her flower shop. She knows they're motivated by their need for professional flowers and flower arrangements on that, she can help them achieve that by selling them a range of beautiful value for money flowers . With all that in mind, the content of her about page text is looking good. Overall, she talks a little bit about the history of her business and her own experience. Then she gives an overview of the services the Flower Yard office on what makes them unique . She then goes on to talk about the company's customer service ethos, and she ends on a call to action. There's just one thing that's not right here in terms of content, and that's this sentence about Lois's puppetry business. That's nothing to do with her flower shop, and it's information that just isn't relevant to the readers of this page. So the first thing we're going to do to improve this copy is get rid of that irrelevant sentence Now that might seem like a really obvious error to you, but it's amazing how often people include irrelevant information just like this in their own copy. That's why it's so important that you answer the three questions of who, why and how to focus your copy on what's relevant. And it all starts with knowing your reader. So now that we've got the basic content of our piece of writing, correct, let's work through the clear copy principles to make the copy itself as clear and concise is possible. 3. Short, Sharp Sentences: long, rambling sentences are a feature of bad writing. They're difficult to read, and they're confusing for the reader. You should aim to have an average sentence length of around about 15 to 20 words. That doesn't mean that all of your sentences have to be the same length. In fact, it's a good idea to vary the length of them. It makes the writing more interesting, but you should really get rid of any sentence that's longer than around 30 words. That's generally going to be too long. The good news is that long sentences a relatively easy to spot and eliminates one good way of spotting. If a sentence is too long, is what I call the take a breath test. If you read your copy out loud and you find that you're running out of breath at any point , that's a surefire sign that's a few full stops wouldn't go amiss. Another warning sign is if when you read your copy, you see a lot of connecting words so words like Andi and Butz or if you see a lot of commerce finally, most word processing programs will count your words for you. So if you can see a sentence and you're wondering if it's too long. You can highlight that, and it'll show you the word count somewhere on the screen. So you found those long sentences. Now how do you go about shortening them? Well, let's take a look at that copy from the flower yard. As an example, I'm going to try reading this first sentence out loud. Feel free to join in the flow yard is a flower shop in Leicester, conveniently located in the city's vibrant and colorful cultural quarter that was established in 2014. Buy local florist and entrepreneur Lois Spiers, who had her education at the Institute of Professional Flores Tree and already had over a decade of experience in the trade few. That sentence is definitely too long. Not only am I running out of breath saying it, but I'm also getting confused, for example, was at the Flower Shop or the Cultural Quarter that was established in 2014. It's not clear. Let's add some four stops at natural points between ideas. And now let's amend the words of the beginnings of our new sentences so that they make sense. That's better if we read it through again. It's already much clearer if we carry on reading through the text. We get to this sentence on alarm bells start ringing because we've got a lot of connecting words we've got. So Andi, Andi, Andi again, let's try getting rid of that middle and replacing it with a full stop on. We'll just adjust the start of the sentence so it makes sense. That was easy, and that passage is now much easier to read. The one way of finding long sentences we haven't tried yet is using the word counts function on Microsoft Word. So let's give that a go on this final paragraph. If I highlight the words up to the 1st 4 stop, it tells me at the bottom here that it has 10 words in it. That's fine, well below our maximum 30 word threshold. This next one is 13. On the next 1 20 they're all OK. But then we get to this sentence, which is far too long at 51 words. Let's break that sentence up and tweak the beginnings of our new sentences like we did before. So we've used three methods to spot over long sentences, reading out loud looking out for connecting words and checking using the word count on our computer are sentences are now all below 30 words. Time to move on to the next clear copy principle. 4. The Active Voice: using the active voice makes your writing more direct and impactful. The active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. It follows a simple subject verb object formats. Using the passive voice, on the other hand, makes for murky, roundabout sentences. On over use of the passive voice is another one of those surefire signs of unprofessional writing. With the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. Now. Don't worry. If you're not 100% sure on the whole subject verb object thing, it's gonna become really clear as soon as I show you a few examples. Here is some sentences written first in the passive voice, then in the active voice with the passive voice. The duer comes after the thing that was done. Another way to spot the passive voice is to look out for forms of to be followed by a past participle. So to recap, toe identify passive voice. Look at what happened on look at who was responsible for doing it. If the person or thing responsible for doing the action is either not there or turns up in the sentence after the thing that happened, Andi, If you see a past participle straight after the form of to be, it's the passive voice. So in the first example, it's the company that won the award. But the company comes after the award in the sentence. There's also the past participle of to be in the form off Watts one by. So that's the passive voice Now. What's wrong with it? Well, you can see straight away that the active version comes across as much more natural and straightforward. On the other hand, the passive examples more bureaucratic and long winded, writing more complex sentences. Using the passive voice can also become really confusing for the reader locally. Once you've identified the passive voice, it's really easy to fix. I've highlighted where the passive voice has been used in the example Text. Now it's just a case of working through each sentence and reworking it so that the Duer is at the start of the sentence, then the action, then the thing being done. This sentences in the passive voice. The Duer is Lois, and she comes after the verb established to change it into the active voice. I'm going to swap it around so that we have Lois establishing the business. Can you spot the next one? It's this sentence here on. I'm going to swap it around in the same way. Notice how the words themselves change only a little. It's mainly just the order there in that changes. There are two sentences in this last paragraph that to written in the passive voice think about how you change them. You'll be able to see how I fix them when we revisit the text in the next lesson. Before we finish with the passive voice. I do want to add in a disclaimer, because the passive voice isn't always bad. There are times it can be quite useful. One of these is if the do of a particular thing is unimportant. For example, if you wanted to say that a book had been published, the book itself might be the most important thing in the sentence on the name of the publisher on Important. So you might say the book was published instead of Oxford Press published the book, for example. Similarly, if you don't know who the do is, you can avoid mentioning them completely by using the passive voice and Finally, it could be helpful. Toe have the occasional sentence in the passive voice to break up text and stop it from getting too monotonous. So you don't think that the passive voice always equals bad writing. It's just a handy general rule to stick to the active voice whenever you can. On average, aim to make 80 to 90% of your sentences active. 5. Trash the Adverbs: So what is an advert on? What have I got against them anyway? Well, an adverb is a word that modifies and objective or reverb. It tells you how someone does something on. They're not always bad news. But if you struggle to keep your writing clear and concise, then chopping out a few of those adverbs is probably gonna be really helpful and is going to improve your writing. So let's go on a little adverb call of our own. There were a few different types of adverbs, but the type that it's most important to check and consider deleting a easily identified. That's because they almost always end in the letters L why I've highlighted all of the L Y adverbs in Lewis's text. Have a look at him. Remember what I said about adverbs, modifying the word after it to tell you how something was done? Do you agree that these adverbs are weakening the phrases their part off on making them vaguer and more long winded? Let's go through them and see if they really need to be there first. We have the word conveniently to describe the location of the shop. I don't think this is needed. We've told our readers where the shop is. They can decide for themselves whether or not it's convenient for them. That's delete it. In this paragraph, we have the words enthusiastically and proudly to describe the way the flower yard works again. I don't think these words ard anything or tell us anything new, I think the flower yard communicating their enthusiasm and pride effectively and subtly, without having to overtly tell people that they all those things. So for the sake of clarity, I'm going to delete those two. Now we have this phrase continuously tries. This is a good example of where we can strengthen the original verb in this case. Tries on doing so. Make the adverb that comes before it unnecessary. So what's a stronger word for tries? How about strives? And with that nice, strong verb in place, we can get rid of the adverb without losing any meaning. Getting rid of those adverbs was easy, and it's made our writing feel much more direct, unprofessional. With the next principal, it's time to get personal 6. You and I: your words will be read by human beings, not by machines or organizations or demographic groups. Now that sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it? But how often have you read a form or a letter or a bit of Red Web copy that it sounds like it's been written by a robot for another. Robots. I've read plenty on one of the things that can make your writing stilted and overly formal and dull. And robotic is if you overuse the third person. When you write from 1/3 person perspective, you writers, though both you and your reader are removed from the events that you're describing you, right, as though you were an entity separate to yourself and your reader is an entity separate from themselves. Now that's pretty weird when you think about it. Imagine if I was Sattar saying Ruth wants her student to stop writing in the third person. No, I want you to stop writing in the third person on your going to do it by learning how to identify when you're doing it and then killing it with three very simple words. You, we and I take a look at these examples. The sentence is on the left are written in the third person. They talk about people and things as if they were remote from both the writer and the reader compare them with the sentences on the right. They speak directly from the writer to the reader there warmer and feel more direct and personal. Let's take a look at how this works in practice. Using the flower yard copy is an example because, as you'll see, you can't just ditch the third person completely. You need to use it carefully to keep your writing clear. At the moment the entire text is written in the third person. It makes sense in this first paragraph. We're introducing the flower yard very broadly. We want to make sure that people know what we're talking about, but it gets very tedious later on, when we see this constant repetition of the flower yard, this in the flower yard that what we need to do is switch at some point to the first person we and there's a clever trick we can employ to do just that without confusing. People. Look at the start of this first sentence the flower yard creates. Let's rephrase that so that it reads at the flower yard we create. Now that we've announced that shift in perspective, we can use we in the place of the flower yard throughout the rest of the text. The only other thing we need to bear in mind is that the flower yard is singular, whereas we is plural. So we need to make sure we tweak the other words in the sentence is to reflect that. So, for example, it utilizes within s of the end becomes we utilize without the s. Now I'm going to fast forward through the next bit as I update all of those third person the flower yards to First Person wee's. That's already made a big difference. Now, remember, at the beginning of this class, when we identified our reader in this case, we know that the readers of our copy will be customers and potential customers. So instead of referring to customers as if they were somewhere and someone else, we should use you whenever we refer to them. One final thing for us to consider is how lowest refers to herself in this copy. Things can get a little confusing if you use I and we in the same piece of text. That's why I'm not suggesting that we do a similar transition to the first person I from the third person, Lois, in this first paragraph. There are ways around this. So one would be to have a separate boxed off biography section where Lois could talk more directly to her readers using the first person. Another would be to have a quote from Lois with her name underneath or Lois said, and then her words is a direct quote as it is the simplicity sake. I think we're best leaving this section alone in this case, however, if we isn't getting in the way. So if you're writing from your own point of view or on your own personal blawg or you're writing your social media bio, for example, are strongly suggest using the first person I throughout, I hope you'll agree that this one simple rule has had a dramatically positive effect on our copy, and the next one is going to help us even more 7. Find the Right Words: If you only take one thing away from my class, I'd like it to be toe always right with your reader in mind. It's something that I go on about a lot. It's the golden rule for good writing, and it will improve your writing. No end if you just keep that one simple principle in mind. And it's something that applies to the words that you use when you're writing as well in the kind of language that you use every career or industry or hobby has its own specialist language, its own jargon on If you're writing for other people within that specialist group, it's fine to use that kind of language because they're going to understand exactly what you're talking about, so that's appropriate. But one mistake that a lot of people make is when they're writing for a broader audience, they continue using that insider industry jargon, and it's not appropriate because that read of the general public isn't going to understand it. And if we look again at that copy from the flower yard, we can see that this is a mistake that Lois is made on her about Paige. Do you know what a baton er is. How about Tunica Ballona? I have no idea on. I bet very few people outside the Flores tree business know either. Lois has forgotten her reader here and is using industry jargon when she's writing for the general public. I'm going to replace those words with some more every day once. So that's my first tip on using the right words. Avoid industry specific jargon, and if you are writing about something, you know very well and you're not sure if a word or a phrase is jargon or not, The best way to find out is to ask someone who's unfamiliar with whatever it is you're writing about. I'm pretty sure that if Lois had asked any non florist if they knew what to Baton Jarawas, they would have told her they didn't is not just jog and words that you need to eliminate from your writing language. Tip number two is don't use complicated words When there's a simple alternative that means the same thing. Here are some examples to show you the kind of thing I mean, you might think that using a fancy sounding word makes you seem like a better writer. But I'm afraid the opposite is true. Dressing up standard business writing with fussy words is like dressing up a pig in a pair of frilly pink knickers. It's not big, it's not clever, and it confuses people. Let's what these silly formal words that Lois is used for some much simpler ones utilize becomes used. A short become sure purchase becomes by exigent becomes urgent. Require becomes need and affable becomes friendly. That's a lot better. Let's move on to the next principal. 8. Don't Nominalise: a nominal ization is a noun that isn't a physical object. It might be a process or a technique or an emotion, and it's formed from a verb. Now. This is one of those occasions where seeing a few examples is going to be much more useful Teoh than hearing they explain it. So let's take a look. See what timing the words in the left hand column announce their static things. The words in the right hand column of verbs, their active doing words nominal is ations often end in either T. I O N or N e. Anti nominal is ations are very common and very useful. In fact, the English language would be lost without them, so there's nothing wrong with them when they used sparingly. However, too many of them in a piece of writing can make it sound academic, stilted and dull. Often things could be livened up by rephrasing the sentence so that you replace the nominal ization with the original verb. He refuse examples. See how the sentences that use the original verb easier to read, clearer and more vibrant than the ones that use the nominal ization. Let's look at Lois's text I've highlighted the nominal is ations. This phrase Lois had her education is already quite clumsy. We could improve it and replace the nominal ization with the verb by saying, Lois was educated, but I think we can improve it. Even MAWR. By using a synonym and saying Lois trained, that's much clearer and simpler. I'm gonna jump forward to this sentence with the nominal ization discussion in it. What if we use the verb instead of the nominal ization and say It's why we take the time to discuss what you need in detail? That's better. But the word discuss is still a bit fussy. How about we replace it with talk through that sounds more informal and friendlier. The other nominal is ations in the taxed. I'm going to leave alone there, no hindering the clarity, and there's no straightforward way of replacing them with their original verb. And that's nominal ization. In a nutshell. Limit your use of them, but there's no need to get rid of them completely. While our copy is getting clearer and more concise all the time, we've just got a few more steps to go to make it crystal clear. That's not waste any time because our next principle is all about being direct and to the point 9. Be Direct: Nobody wants to come across as rude or Kurt or abrupt. And that's why we often slow our copy down with a lot of fussy, polite filler words that don't need to be there and that just end up clogging or park copy when actually would be better off getting to the point. The Politis thing we can do from our reader's point of view is get our message across is quickly and succinctly as we can rather than wasting their time. That's rude. So right confidently. And don't be afraid to give direct instructions. Let's look at a few examples. I'm sure you recognize a few of these from official letters and forms have been sent. Isn't it better when people get to the point and say exactly what they mean? It's especially important in situations like these when you're asking someone to do something and a good example of that call to action, I'm sure you know that you should have one clear call to action at the end of each webpage . If we look at Lois's copy, we can see that there is a call to action. She wants people to visit her services page, but it's wrapped up in this polite Farsi language. It's not necessary, and it's also not expected in Web copy. In particular, let's clear it up by getting rid of the unneeded words. There's another way that the necessary extra words can get in the way of your message. That's when you say the same thing twice. So you make your point. And then just to be on the safe side, you say it again in a slightly different way. Now people do this in conversational the time, and it doesn't matter too much. But when you do it in your copy, you risk your reader getting bored and going off to do something else before they even get to your all important call to action. Lois has been guilty of this in a couple of places, but only on a small scale. She hasn't repeated phrases, but she has used more than one word that means the same thing. If we pick either vibrant or colorful, this sentence will be quicker to read and clearer, and the same goes for taste, inclination and preference. They will be more or less the same thing. Let's make life easier for our readers by picking just one of those words and deleting the others. Just Aziz. Using more complicated words where simple ones will do doesn't make you look clever. Neither does using more words that mean the same thing. It'll just makes your writing fussy, long winded and tedious to read. Isn't our writing looking better? There's just one small but important step left before we're ready to publish it. 10. Polish Your Copy: Nobody likes a smug grammar pedant. If you're getting your message across. Clearly, the old little typo, or grammatical faux pas, is not going to ruin your writing. However, nothing interferes with clarity, like a confusing or funny typo. And there's nothing worse than suddenly realizing that a piece of copy that's being on your website or your social media bio for months and months has an embarrassing typo in it. So let's look at how we can avoid that. Well, what you shouldn't do is rely on your computer spellcheck, because often a word is in the dictionary. But it's not the word that new amendments and your computer spellcheck isn't going to pick that up, so you need to try a little bit harder than that. The answer is all about proper proof free day. So here are my top three tips for proof reading your copy, check the spelling of proper noun. That's the names of people, businesses and addresses, particularly carefully. These won't be picked up by a spell checker either, so you need to double check them yourself. Print it out. There's something about reading your words on paper that makes errors jump out of the page at you and finally ask a friend to read it. Having a fresh pair of eyes on your copy is really invaluable. I've done a careful check of the flower yards about page copy, and I spotted three errors that would never have been picked up by a spell checker. Firstly, I've looked at this organization, the Institute of Professional Flores Tree, just by doing a quick Google search and finding their websites. And it turns out that it's not the Institute of Professional Florist rate at all, but the Institute of Professional Florists. That's a really easy mistake to make. But getting the name of your professional membership body incorrect on your website has the potential to make you look very unprofessional. So it's good that we've spotted it on. We did so just by paying a bit of extra attention to a proper noun to make sure they were correct. You can probably see the problem with the other two highlighted words male and flora of both valid words, but they're incorrect. In this context, Male should be spelled n a I l on Flora needs an L on the end. These are the most common kinds of errors you'll find when proof reading. And they could be found and corrected with the three step plan I told you about earlier. Check proper noun, print it out and ask a friend to read it for you. Now our copy isn't 100% perfect, but it's a huge improvement on what we started with in less than 10 simple steps. We've taken a piece of text from unclear, confusing and rambling to clear and concise and using the same straightforward process, you can transform your own copy. We'll finish by looking at some free online resource is and tools that will help you even further on your quest for crystal clear copy. 11. Tips, Tricks and Tools: in this class, you've learned how to improve your copy and get your message across clearly and persuasively. I hope what you've learned is giving you the confidence to spot those warning signs of bad writing and to correct them. But sometimes we will need a little help. So I've put together a list of free online resource is that you can use as you're practicing the skills you've learned in this class. You confine them all in the resource is section off the class Project top. Andi, These air tools that I use myself in my career is a professional copywriter. I use them every day, so I'm sure you're gonna find them useful as well. The Plain English campaign is the ultimate guardian of clear, concise language. Since 1979 it's been campaigning against gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information. It's helped many government departments and other official organizations with their documents, reports and publications on. They can also help you. Their website has downloadable guides on everything from how to write in plain English, toe eight hours, ads of financial terms and legal phrases. There are tips for how to write a bibliography or a form and special guidance on writing letters and emails. There are also a selection of grammar guides that explain complex grammatical terms in a simple, easy to understand way. To sum up. This is definitely a website you need in your bookmarks bar. And here's another the website of the Oxford English Dictionary. This is my go to dictionary when I need to check the spelling of something, but it's much more than that. There's also a comprehensive the sorest under grammar guide, and if you're interested in word origins or geeky word facts, Bad Blogger is well worth a read, too. Next up. And this is the big one. Meat Hemingway. This is the number one big daddy of copyrighting tools, and it's completely free. If you copy and paste your text into Hemingway, it will check it for common writing errors. The aim is to make your copy as bold and clear is possible. You can see the things that checks for on the right hand side, and some of them are going to look very familiar. So we've got adverbs, passive voice and simple word alternatives. Hemingway also flags up one sentences are hard to read, something that can usually be remedied by breaking the sentence up into shorter ones. If you only remember two things from this class, make it these always right with your reader in mind. Andi. Use this website to tidy up your writing in double quick time. Finally, an honorable mention to counting characters. This handy little website counts the characters and words in a piece of text. There's also a tool that checks the number of characters in a Web page, and there's even a chrome Web app that you can download handily. There's also a section that tells you the maximum word count for the most popular social media channels. I find it very useful to have all of that information in the same place you can find links to all these resource is on the class about Paige. Now that you've got all the tips, tricks and tools you need to perfect your writing, it's time to look at the next steps and how to get started on your class project. 12. Next Steps: thank you for watching my class on writing Crystal clear. Copy. Now you understand what the active voice is, how to use the first person and the power of direct commands. You also know all about nominal is ations and adverbs. What they are on, why you should avoid them. The techniques that I've shown you a really simple. But they're also very powerful. So I'm really excited to see how you're going to use them to improve your own writing. So now it's time to start your class projects. You're going to be using the skills that you've learned in this class to improve a piece of your own copy. Start by downloading the Clarify your copy worksheet from the class project tub. Choose a piece of copy that you've written on would like to improve. It should be between 50 and 200 words. Your social media bio or the about page of your website would be ideal. Copy and paste your text into the before and after sections of the worksheet work through the clear copy principles to find and destroy the causes of unclear foresee copy. Amend the after version of your copy as you go along, your writing will become clearer with every step. If you get stuck, share your worksheet with me and the skill share community and will help you work things out. Your new copy does enough to be 100% perfect, but you should see a huge improvement in comparison with what you wrote before. Remember to upload your worksheet to the class project page when you're done, so that other people can see the difference you've made to your copy. If you use the writing online, you could also upload a screenshot off it in situ. I'd love to hear your feedback about this class, and I would also love to hear the positive feedback that you get on your new crystal clear copy. Keep practicing the skills you've learned today, and you'll find they soon become second nature, and all of your writing will be vastly improved. As a result. Thank you again for watching my class enjoy the rest of your day.