When I wrote a list of my favourite copywriting tools, I had over five.
But then I looked at the list and decided to split them into two posts.
So today, I’m sharing the five tools that help me with writing copy.
And next week, I’ll share some other tools, which are more focused on productivity and collaboration.
Are you running a copywriting business, writing as part of
your day job or working with a copywriter? If the answer is yes, you’ll be able
to use all five of my favourite copywriting tools.
It can feel like someone is sharing a new favourite tool or app every other day. There’s a risk of getting distracted by the next ‘shiny new thing’.
But the tools I’m sharing below are now part of my day-to-day copywriting kit. Most of these are free.
So, here are my 5 favourite copywriting tools, in no
I first used Visible Thread on a big government project last year. The first thing we did was to take measurements for each page via Visible Thread.
Visible Thread scores your passage of text:
- A percentage score for Long sentences (as well as the number of long sentences used)
- A percentage score for passive voice (as well as the number of sentences containing passive voice)
- A reading grade level
- A readability score out of 100
It is free to use and I have to admit, I get competitive trying to improve my score.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide any suggestions for improvements. And if you’re using place names or technical terms with over three syllables, it will mark you down.
But otherwise I find this a useful program. It’s often the first thing I use to review my copy or work that I am editing.
Cost: none. Sign-in via Google, Facebook or LinkedIn and
then cut and paste your text.
A lot of my work involves sharing documents with many people. So I find sharing via Google Drive easy, especially to share documents via Slack or Trello. This removes the need to re-save various versions.
While Google Docs and Sheets are handy, I find that editing,
especially using track changes doesn’t work well.
So I’ll download as a word document. Then I work on it and
then upload it to Google Drive. make sure I’ve set the sharing permissions
correctly. I like that there are various options for sharing. I can give anyone
with the link access to edit or just give a few people access to view.
Ok, so I know this is not an app or a website. But please,
for the love of every writer’s sanity, please use it.
If you’re reviewing a document from your copywriter, and you
don’t use track changes, it makes their life difficult.
Often I will send a client a clean document and the marked-up document. I also save a clean document to run it through apps like Visible Thread.
I know it looks messy, but trust me when I tell you to use it.
I have to thank one of my fellow copybeasts Angela Denly for sharing this one.
Word Hippo is better than any thesaurus.
It’s a lifesaver when you feel you’ve used the same word too many times in your copy.
It’s a free website that will help you freshen up your copy.
And your expanded vocabulary will come in hand the next time you head to trivia.
Pro writing Aid
Last but definitely no means least is Pro Writing Aid. There are two reasons I have left this one until last.
First, it’s the one I started using most recently. When a couple of my writing mentors recommended it, I knew it was worth looking at. It also was around the Black Friday sales, and I got a very good offer.
I have ProWritingAid set-up on as an extension on my computer. So it checks pretty much anything I am writing online. Facebook posts, emails and website updates are all scanned, and it makes suggestions about changes I could make.
It doesn’t work while I am working in a word document. I
just cut and paste my text in and check it that way. You can also import the
document and then export it back with changes.
The basic set up checks spelling, grammar and style (which includes passive voice). But there are so many other checks you can do.
ProWritingAid looks at overused words, structure, length, readability and clichés.
I have recently signed up as a ProWritingAid affiliate, which means I get a commission when you sign up. They’ve also given me a 20% off code. So if you’re interested in using it, you can purchase it here – just add the code CH1H2EXTKK to get 20% off.
So how do I use these apps and websites?
I’ve been editing a lot of blogs written by people who speak English as their second or third language.
So my process starts with checking the text in Visible
Thread so I have a benchmark score. It’s also a good visual interpretation of
the long sentences and passive voice.
I edit the document (using track changes) and save a clean version and run it through Pro Writing Aid. Depending on the document, I might just run the basic reports. If I’ve got lots of repetition, I use Word Hippo. When I’m finished with, I upload it to Google Drive and share the link.
Let me know if you test any of these apps.
Are there any other writing apps you’d recommend?
If you haven’t already, sign-up to my newsletter. And make sure
you come back next week to read about favourite productivity and collaboration