Out there, in the big bad world, there are countless examples of both good copy and bad copy. It’s true. I’ve seen a few examples myself. I’ve also read about such examples and been ‘told’ through the power of word how to spot good and bad copy.
Some believe that good copy is easy to spot and bad copy isn’t. Really? Because I’d disagree and say it was the other way around. Now, of course, I’m not suggesting that my train of thought is the only credible one here – that would be ridiculous. But I thought I’d share that thought train with you nevertheless.
For me, good copy does what it should – it informs, it entertains, it describes, it paints a picture. Bad copy, on the other hand, has been known to send me running for the hills, skirts aloft. OK, so that’s a little extreme, but it has seen me closing a book, clicking the back button on the Interweb or discounting a particular company as a result of a desperate need to fall asleep on their literature.
For me, bad copy stands out a mile. It may be full of grammatical errors, typos and bad spelling. Or, it may just be so snooze-inducingly boring or difficult to read that I give up the urge to battle on through until I reach the conclusion (if there even is one…). It can be so clumsy that it literally has me reaching for the hand brake and performing a U-turn in an attempt to work out what the flippin’ heck it’s trying to say. Bad copy throws obstacles in my way as a reader. Obstacles that literally stop me in my tracks and prevent me from finishing my journey to enlightenment. It has no flow, no humour, no rhythm. Quite frankly, it can have no point at all.
Bad copy, in my opinion, stands out a mile and can do untold damage to the reputation of the company, group or person it represents.
On the other side of the coin, good copy can sneak up on me when I’m least expecting it. It can flow so beautifully that it draws me in, makes me want to carry on reading. And I’m not just talking about novels here. I’ve read articles and websites that have literally had me hooked from ‘hello’. Good copy reads well, it entertains me, it makes me laugh, makes me cry and gives me great pleasure to read. It embraces my mind and takes me away on a journey so that the words no longer matter; it’s the imagery, the message that I’m absorbing and the words are merely a means of transport to my destination.
What I’m saying is, I can concentrate on the subject, enjoy the subject or learn about the subject without bungling sentences and incorrect spelling spoiling the view.
For me, good copy is much more unobtrusive than the bad kind.
I love good copy.
What do you think? Does the way in which words are written have an impact on how much you enjoy a piece of writing? Don’t be shy, leave a message and let’s get a discussion going…