• Hannah Duncan

The (Totally Free) Copywriter’s Secret Toolkit

Updated: Apr 11

Becoming a freelance copywriter was the best decision I ever made. By far. After years of working in investment banks, with their mediocre coffees and early starts, I feel so liberated. Sometimes I miss the banter and jostle between meetings. Or sashaying through the City of London in office heels looking busy and important. But I’m happy to trade it all for cosy mornings in, and being abroad so often.

I’ve always loved writing, but along the way I’ve learnt a few sneaky little tricks. Some extras. These will help you to boost your content writing up a level. Make it pop, sizzle and dance. And best of all… they’re free. If you want to enter this lovely universe of lattes and wordplay, read on. All you need is a laptop and a passion for writing and the world could be your catwalk.


1. Thesaurus.com https://www.thesaurus.com/


Sounds obvious right? That's because it's SO GOOD. Good. Lord. How I love it. Transforming your good text into marvellous passages. Your bland business write-up into a delicious market commentary. It takes the mundane and makes it magnificent. Every copywriter must have a thesaurus at their side. It is a best friend, a trusty companion. When you're struggling like you've never struggled before, its a beacon of hope. Nobody wants to masticate through dull text, like a cow chewing grass. Your clients want to soar through exhilarating reads like a falcon accelerating through the mountaintops. Be bold. Be naughty. Use that full vocabulary unapologetically. Create the atmosphere. Even if it’s about finance. That’s my niche. And believe it or not, it can be breathtaking stuff. Grab your thesaurus with both hands... and get those spines tingling with your intriguing adjectives.


2. Moz Pro https://moz.com/products/pro


Search Engine Optimisation is a blessing and a curse. An art and a science. It guides you to what your people most want to read about. But it can also make you want to rip your hair out in frustrated clumps on the floor. Moz makes it easy. No, I'm not being paid to say this. They give you a solid breakdown of the keywords, difficulty and traffic in your chosen location. Lovely. The nice thing is that they will give you a free trial for one month of their all-singing, all-dancing platform “Moz Pro”. Get yourself on there and glean as much information as you possibly can. After all, what’s the point of writing online content that nobody is googling? Don't let your work gather dust on the shelf. It's not your grans' forgotten, back-of-the-cupboard tin of 1978 Baked Beans we're talking about. This is your livelihood. Your work! Give yourself a chance to get discovered.


Do you remember when Susan Boyle took the leap from singing on her own into a hairbrush to auditioning on the X-Factor? That's the difference SEO will make for you. Use it, embrace it, cling to it. With Moz Pro as your Simon Cowell, you'll be singing all the way to the bank. Or to your next latte.


3. Hemingway App http://www.hemingwayapp.com/


Chances are you already know who Hemingway is. His writing style was iconically simple, yet extraordinarily effective. He kept his work accessible and readable for all ages. As copywriters, we should aim to do the same. Mostly. Luckily there is a really fantastic tool to help. Easy to remember, it’s called the Hemingway App. It will change your life. Again, nobody is paying me to say this. That would be lovely. But it's not true.


Just copy and paste your text into the tool and it will tell you how to improve it – Hemingway style. Even if you’re not a copywriter, it’s a good one to have in your back pocket… it will keep you on your toes. There are a squillion rules for copywriters. Limit passives, check your grammar, keep a seventh grade reading level, avoid really long sentences, keep it simple. On and on. It's enough to bore you senseless. These rules are so important, but also quite uninspiring. This app combines everything and fixes your work. Like a real editor. Honestly, I’m surprised it’s free.


Your complete online toolkit.


There you go. Your toolkit. You’ve got your beautiful vocabulary, SEO and editor all sorted. Totally free of charge.


Now whip on your heels, grab that next coffee and go write some first-rate content you wondrous wordsmith!





© 2020 by Hannah Duncan