How to make copy sound 'punchy'


It's the feedback we all loathe...

"Can you make it more 'punchy'?"

I mean, WTAF?


In the interest of preventing countless client murders, here are some quick ways to add a bit of punch to your copy.


1. Make it bite-sized

First thing's first—let's look at the length and format of your copy. If that shit looks like War and Peace, ya'lls gonna need to chop it up. Make your sentences smaller, make your paragraphs smaller, break long lists up into bullet points. Anything that makes it easier to get through. 'Punchiness' is all about being concise (or so I've been told).

2. Limit your punctuation

When something takes ages to read, that shit ain't punchy. Excessive punctuation is the enemy of fast reading—commas cause a slight pause in the sentence, em dashes cause an even longer pause and brackets add an aside which slows reading even further.

This means that sentences with several commas or several different kinds of punctuation are adding friction to your copy.

Go back through and see whether your sentences can be rewritten to avoid excessive punctuation. Keep them short and sharp with no added fat.


3. Go for single syllables

Long-ass words make long-ass sentences (and you can quote me on that). Instead of using longer, more advanced words, make like a red top tabloid and slash the reading age of the piece right down by using short words with single syllables.

For example:

Purchase your products before Friday to receive your discount

We can massacre some of the words and syllables in this sentence to make it sound more punchy...

Buy before Friday to save


4. Pile on the impact

For some clients, 'punchy' copy is ballsy. Try substituting some of your words for more impactful ones. For example:

8 tips for choosing the perfect pair of underpants

If we punched this up, it might sound a lil' something like this:

Total pants: 8 tips for picking the perfect pair

Emma Cownley