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The Page Is Blank. Now What?
By: Jerry Northup
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That’s the question I asked myself when I first thought there could be value in trying to put into words what copywriters do to put concepts into words. There isn’t just one answer. But my goal is to provide insights that will help writers at every level generate better copy while providing greater understanding of the job itself (what copywriters do and how they do it, etc.) to those who employ and work with them.
Ideas on paper are never a waste of paper.
I’ve often heard it said that, “Great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.” That may be true, but generally they don’t. If your job is to populate a page with text, sorting through every available thought is where you start.
  • Like what you write, but don’t love it. Not everyone is going to love what you write. It’s also true that some read superficially, while others read far more into the text than was intended. Be mindful of both extremes without churning out copy blocks chock full of vanilla.
  • A little bit you, a little bit me. The most powerful urge known to many is the desire to rewrite what they just read. This can be a bitter pill. My suggestion is to swallow it and use both positive and negative feedback as fuel to create better copy.
  • The more you know, the less you need to say. Most readers demand clear, concise messages that get to the point quickly. Complexity can be persuasive in some circles or as a self-fulfilling exercise in intelligence in others, but generally it’s dismissed without a second thought. 
Reflect the input of others and it will improve your output. The great idea doesn’t usually come from just anywhere, but the seed of one always does. 

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About the Author
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Gerald Northup has written professionally in the fields of advertising, marketing, social media, and corporate communications since the early ’90s. For a look at his blog posts and social media articles, as well as TV, radio, print, and website samples from his online portfolio, visit gnorthup1979.wix.com/44words.

Jerry is also a talented guitarist, an avid tennis player, and a lifelong student of linguistics.

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