Get the Right Tool for the Job
Writing good email copy isn’t easy.
Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. There are an abundance of tools that will help you upgrade your email copy. There are tools that analyze your headlines. There are tools that verify your grammar. There are tools that explore whether you’re overusing a word.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Here are 12 epic tools that will improve your email writing.
“The Shortest Answer Is Doing the Thing” – Ernest Hemingway
The Hemingway App is the most complete tool on this list. What makes it great? Writers at every level make four common mistakes. The Hemingway app corrects those four types of oversights.
- Hiding Weak Verbs- Compare the following three sentences. She moved quickly out of the way. She sprinted out of the way. She jumped out of the way. Options two and three give more details with less words. Unassertive verbs often hide behind adverbs (in this case “quickly”). The Hemingway App highlights adverbs in green, so you can verify your copy for this mistake.
- Overusing the Passive Voice- The active voice makes your writing clearer. Think about the sentence, “The bed was jumped over by the dog”. Now compare it to, “The dog jumped over the bed.” The latter sentence is clearer and simpler. Clear prose is essential for emails. You want to identify the passive voice, which is highlighted in green. Many times you’ll be replacing it with the active voice.
- Reduce Complex Wording- Einstein once said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.” The Hemingway App highlights words in purple that have simpler alternatives. It may help you shave down a headline to that perfect length. The words highlighted in purple have simpler alternatives.
- Shorten Long Sentences- People open email on mobile. Oftentimes, they are scanning, simply browsing, your content. Long sentences will turn them off. The Hemingway App highlights long sentences in red and yellow, so you can break them up into shorter sentences.
The Hemingway App has amazing tips. Yet, it’s still imperfect software. Learn when to disobey the app’s suggestions.
2) 750 Words
Excellent writers are in the habit of writing. It’s hard to compose great emails if you’re not in the writing habit.
750 Words is a private place to put down words and thoughts. This site helps your business idea flow, getting you in the habit of writing. Moreover, the site rewards you with points. You get points each day you write, and points for going on streaks. It’s a marvelous way to accelerate your writing habit.
Creating a good blog topic is hard. Creating an original blog topic is harder. That’s where the Hubspot Blog Topic Generator comes in. All you have to do is fill in three nouns. They’ll combine those ideas, giving you a brand new subject. The idea generated will be raw; you’ll need to edit a bit.
“A Wise Man Can Learn More From a Foolish Question, Than a Fool Can Learn From a Wise Answer.” – Bruce Lee
There are questions on Quora that aren’t addressed in other places on Google. Yet, Quora hides answers behind a sign-in wall. Make an account to discover the answers to the questions. Then you can share this hidden information with your email subscribers. You can also follow topics in your industry to view the latest chatter.
Interviewing an expert is a shortcut to creating elite content for your emails.
Otranscribe takes the pain out of recording interviews. You don’t have to switch between VLC/Quicktime and Google Docs/Word. You can pause, rewind, fast forward all in the browser, all on one page. The easier it is to interview, the more you’ll want to do it.
6) Tomato Timer
Why are so many people talking about a time management technique used by programmers in the early 1990’s?
Well, first of all, it’s called the Pomodoro technique. It splits workloads into 25 minutes, followed by short/long breaks. It’s proven to help you get the most out of your brain. With Tomato Timer, you can get desktop notifications in Chrome, Safari, etc. Effective writers don’t only work hard, they also work efficiently.
Tap Into the Wisdom of the Crowd.
Take a look at the success of Quora. There’s something fabulous about a crowdsourced site.
The rule rings true with Power Thesaurus. You’ll notice it has crisp recommendations, and is constantly improving. It’s crafted via expert recommendations and user suggestions. Many people find it a pleasant alternative to Thesaurus.com. It also has a Google Chrome extension.
Why does all good writing have to stem from you? Why not borrow from the masters of the craft? As Oscar Wilde once said, “Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.”
There are masters of language on Brainy Quote. You have Charles Dickens, Robert Pyle, Shakespeare, and many more. Take advantage of them and liven up your emails. A quote is a pleasant opener for your email copy.
9) Paper Rater
Perhaps you’ve heard of Grammarly? It’s a marvelous service. It fixes over 250 types of errors. These are many errors on there that Google Docs and Microsoft Word can’t find. Professional publications have people that read over copy just to catch mistakes. That’s because they don’t trust writers to catch their own mistakes. If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely in want of that second proofreader.
Paper Rater gives you that second person. It’s not as robust as Grammarly. Yet, unlike Grammarly, it’s has a vigorous free service.
10) Cliche Finder
Give Your Subscribers Garden-Fresh Ideas!
fresh You want your emails to stand out. You want to give your readers fresh ideas, to infuse them with new thinking. Cliches are metaphors characterized by overuse. By identifying them, you can insert fresh and memorable metaphors in their place.
You don’t have to erase all cliches. Some cliches are really popular. For instance, “all’s fair in love and war” is a common cliche people like. In certain circles, certain cliches are trite and vapid. Cliche Finder replaces those mundane words with vigorous ones.
11) Title Cap
This is an extremely useful service for people who want accurate email headlines.
The rules for capitalization can be muddy. At the very least, many people are in need of a refresher course. Typically, most people capitalize words with four or more letters. Additionally, you also capitalize the first and last word of the email headline. Knowing when to capitalize words with three or less letters is tricky. As a rule, short verbs are capitalized, while conjunctions and prepositions are not.
Title Capitalization lets you double check your work. Paste your sentence in the field, and it will autocorrect with AP or Chicago style.
Do you remember the famous copywriting quote from Dan Ogilvy, the master copywriter? He said, “80% of people will read the headline, but only 20% will read the body copy.” The idea behind this quote is that you need to impress people with the headline. If it’s not an attention-grabber, you’re in trouble.
This is high-quality software. You have to enter no small amount of data to get this headline analyzer. For instance, you must put your name, email, website, and company. Then they’ll ask you three related questions. The robustness of the tool makes it worth it. Here’s some of what the headline analyzer offers.
- Character Count
- Word Length
- Sentiment (Positive, Negative, Neutral)
- Keywords Identified
- Email Subject Line Preview
- Common Words Highlighted
- Uncommon Words Highlighted
- Emotional Words Highlighted
- Power Words Highlighted
This headline analyzer is a fantastic place to boost your headlines. For instance, many people don’t write headlines that are emotional enough. They don’t portray a psychological benefit in their headlines. An example of an emotional headline is, “When’s the Last Time a Cute Girl Gave You a Wink?” That headline taps into the emotion of you feeling attractive. Diagnosis the emotions (among other things) that your headlines solicit with Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer. You can read more about emotional headlines on Copyblogger.
Once you know the problem, it’s much easier to fix it. That’s why this review is invaluable.
13) A Soft Murmur
A study by Oxford University shows that white noise will improve your creativity. This will help you crank out the top-tier emails you’re capable of producing. You need to keep the noise at moderate levels. If it’s distractingly loud, the benefits are erased.
A Soft Murmur is available on your desktop for free. You can also download a mobile version in case you lose internet access.
At a glance, a simple word counter seems superfluous. If you’re using Google Docs, you can get a total word count by pushing CTRL + SHIFT + C. That thinking is a bit off track. Wordcounter gives more than a total word count. Wordcounter tallies the most commonly used individual words in your copy.
Are you using the same words over and over again? Did you use the word “improve” six times in your email? Did you use the word “value” 12 times? Every writer falls into a pattern of overusing certain words. Once you’ve diagnosed your word usage, employ the Power Thesaurus to make your copy more appealing.
There Are Powerful Tools Available For Your Email Copy
Charles Dickens once said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
That statement rings true for email writers. In one way, it’s the worst of times. There’s more competition than ever. People have short attention spans. It’s difficult to craft emails that people love.
Yet, it’s also the best of times. You have access to powerful tools that weren’t available in the past. Many items on this list weren’t available 5 years ago. Rise to the top by squeezing the most out of these tools.
Do you use any tools on this list? Have they improved your email marketing? Share your experience in the comments.