See filter

The sparkly C’s of writing copy

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 08:42

The process of designing a diamond engagement ring is different for each client, but two aspects are always the same: One, someone will start sweating profusely when it comes to calculating the price; and two, at some point during a diamond viewing I would have to explain the four C’s.

For those of you who have never visited the impressive world of diamond shopping, the four C’s are the contributing factors for pricing a diamond: Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat Weight.

Since writing is what I’m learning and engagement rings is what I know, I thought I’d give you a little rundown of what I’ve discovered about copy writing based on the four sparkly C’s… Here goes:

Cut

In diamond terms “cut” would refer to not only the shape of a stone, but also the symmetry and accuracy of its angles. If a diamond is not cut correctly, it reflects light wrong and loses a lot of its potential lustre. Often a lot of the rough gem has to be sacrificed to attain these perfect proportions.

Similarly in writing a ruthless trim is sometimes the best thing for an article. At times I’m particularly proud of a paragraph, comment or sentence that just won’t fit into the piece I’m writing. William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” I’ve learnt it’s best to get rid of awkward content before it gets pointed out to you.

Clarity

Inclusions, murkiness or any form of crack depreciates a diamond quite significantly. Just as with diamonds, clarity in writing adds value and improves quality

I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m a waffeler. When reading over my work, my most common adjustments are rewriting long waffely sentences into clear, concise ones. Keeping writing to-the-point is especially important for online copy as internet readers soon lose interest in content that isn’t clear.

Colour

Diamonds are generally more valuable the whiter they are. However, the truly unique and memorable sparklies are the fancy coloured ones. These colourful beauties are rare finds and often fetch the highest price.

Jean Tang made a surprisingly obvious point in a TED talk entitled Declaring War on Bland. In the talk she highlights that copy is in fact meant to be read by humans.

When reading web content, especially the technical aspects of a business, it is often difficult to relate to the tone. Businesses tend to talk extensively about their products and services using impressive industry jargon. Often they neglect to convey a true sense of what motivates them or why they are different from all the other service providers in their field.

What’s wrong with adding a bit of colour to your words?

Personally I am much more inclined to read relatable web content written in a personable tone. I try to keep this in mind when writing my articles.

Carat Weight

A round, one-carat diamond is equal to 0.2 grams and measures about 6.5mm in diameter. Yet, a one-carat diamond is considered a very large and impressive stone.

Like diamonds, copy is short, impressive and valuable. Internet browsers rarely read more than a few lines in one go, so there is no point in writing articles of more than 400 to 500 words. Yet, these articles have to be jam packed with valuable information to grab the reader’s attention.

Since my little comparison has already exceeded the recommended word-limit. I’ll end it right here to continue my quest for sparkly writing.