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Word of the Week: “copywriting”

October 19th, 2015

Texts play a vital role in day-to-day business if you want to be successful in the professional world. Is writing more difficult for you than you would like? Prof. Dr. Daniel Perrin, head of the Institute of Applied Media Studies at the ZHAW in Winterthur, has some copywriting tips for you.

rof. Dr. Daniel Perrin, head of the Institute of Applied Media Studies at the ZHAW

rof. Dr. Daniel Perrin, head of the Institute of Applied Media Studies at the ZHAW

TRANSLATION-PROBST Ltd.: Why are accurate texts vital in the professional world?
Prof. Dr. Daniel Perrin: Because it is easier to reach your target if you can hit the bull’s-eye. In other words, if you want to reach your target group and stand out from the crowd, you must accurately match its specific tastes and language. This can only be achieved with accurate texts.

Writing is often done under pressure during a regular business day. What is the best way to deal with this?
The important thing is to concentrate exclusively on the writing assignment and not be distracted by the umpteen other tasks that are waiting. This merely causes additional stress and is not helpful. Create a window of time for yourself in which you can write without being interrupted. In short: Organise your time well – and keep calm.

How can you tell if your own text is well written?
A text is well written if it moves test readers from the target group in the desired direction. You can test this by giving your text to a person to read who represents the target group or is very closely connected to it. If this is not possible, give it to somebody who is capable of putting themselves in the shoes of the target group. In any case, the more people who read it and give you feedback, the better.

Are there any tricks that can help while copywriting?
Know what you want and read a short sample of excellent writing beforehand to get yourself in the mood. It’s contagious. And what is excellent writing? In my opinion, it is using common words to express unusual things.

What is the best way to overcome writer’s block?
Many people, when they have writer’s block, keep rereading what they have already written. This doesn’t help. A change of scene, on the other hand, can work wonders. You have to choose what works best for you. My own method, for example, is to eat an apple and then return to my computer, cover up what I have already written and keep writing just where I left off.

Would you like to add anything else?
Being able to write something clearly and simply means that you have already understood it. Thus, writing is a tool not just for communicating but also for thinking. This makes writing research and writing for purposes so exciting for me – and very significant for everyone who wants to write well and enjoy it.

As you can see, a clear focus and an apple could work wonders when writing. If you still do not feel completely confident, you can find many more helpful tips in Prof. Dr. Daniel Perrin’s book, “Schreiben im Beruf” (www.danielperrin.net).

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