Below is a selection of tools you can use to help hit the high notes with your copy.
American Grammar Checkups – This is where Susan Rooks, the “Grammar Goddess” and author of our GRAMMAR MATTERS column, helps business professionals strengthen their communications skills. This should be your first stop if you’re seeking to polish your English composition skills.
Grammarly — This is a free and simple extension that is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers and can be installed on Mac OS and Windows. Grammarly not only checks your spelling and grammar but your vocabulary too. Its context-specific algorithms work across platforms, making that all-important tweet, intro, or headline get attention for all the right reasons.
Hemingway App — Do you find that your first paragraphs run over 30 words? Are you being too garrulous and convoluted, overly dense, and meandering, so that your readers need a dictionary to decipher your words? Is your copy rife with split logic, junctions, and subordinate clauses? The Hemingway App is what you need to write clean copy: unadorned, direct, active, and to the point. Hemingway honed his style as a journalist for many years before becoming a novelist.
Emotional Value Headline Analyzer — This free tool will analyze your headline to determine the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score. As you know, reaching your customers in a deep and emotional way is a key to successful copywriting, and your headline is unquestionably the most important piece of copy you use to reach prospects.
Wordcounter — This nifty little app doesn’t just count how many words you’ve written; it counts the use of individual words to highlight repetition and redundancy. It’s also a good way to track keywords.
Calmly Writer — Let’s face it: There are a lot of distractions on the Internet: cats, Facebook, Twitter… cats. The team behind Calmly Writer aren’t monsters. They love cats that can’t spell just as much as we do. What they don’t love are things that make it difficult for us to focus, and those include all the formatting options your current writing program prides itself on. Calmly Writer removes all these, so you can concentrate on the words you’re writing and the sentences you’re building, without tinkering with the fonts, indents, colors, and sizes. It comes with a dark mode for those who prefer white on black. And for nostalgia-lovers, it has an optional typewriter sound.
Wordifier — The Wordifier will tell you whether you should stop using a word, use it with caution, or use it all you want!
The Up-Goer Five Text Editor — One of writing’s challenges is taking complex ideas and making them easy to understand. Think you’re a master?
The Shorter Thesaurus — One of the keys to great writing is simplicity. Often a perfectly good little word is pushed aside for something fancy. That’s a mistake. Try this tool to find a better, shorter synonym.
Word Frequency Counter — Do you have a tendency to, like, write, like the same words, like all the time? This tool can find out for you. They also have one to check phrase frequency.
TTS Reader — One great way to test your writing: read it out loud. But sometimes, it’s even better to hear someone else read it. You can even ask it to read to you in different accents!
Tone Analyzer — This service uses linguistic analysis to detect joy, fear, sadness, anger, analytical, confident, and tentative tones found in text.
Cliché Finder — This is an oldie (it’s been around since 2007), but a goodie. It’s a really simple, yet intuitive tool that searches the Associated Press Guide to News Writing for clichés in your copy. We’re all guilty as sin of committing the heinous crime of writing those overused, lazy and eye-rollingly tedious phrases. With Cliché Finder, there’s no longer any excuse.
Headline Analyzer — Have you ever wondered why the Mail Online’s headlines are so long? They’re more than double the length of a usual headline. Well, it’s a simple trick they’ve used to dramatic effect. By including so many words, they’ve increased their chances of being picked up in relevant and, crucially, irrelevant, searches. Conversely, the Sun’s headlines are usually very short, but incredibly creative, and do the same job. Regardless of what you think of either publication’s politics, their headline-writing skills are second-to-none.
‘Style to be good must be clear. Clearness is secured by using words that are current and ordinary.’
Guardian & Observer Style Guide This is the guide to writing, editing and English usage followed by journalists at the Guardian and Observer.
BuzzFeed Style Guide aims to provide a prevailing, and evolving, set of standards for the internet and social media. This style guide is updated regularly to ensure it remains relevant and responds accordingly to changes in language and common, casual usage.