Over the next several weeks, most people will attend a variety of holiday parties. That means lots of cocktail conversations with people other than your BFFs. To me, one of the primary elements that separates a nice discussion from a conversation in which you want to quickly escape is how the other person talks about himself or herself. That doesn’t mean I expect the conversation to be all about me, but rather a discourse that is comfortable and interesting to each of us.

Marketing copy is no different. If print or digital copy is focused solely on the brand without regard to what the consumer seeks to read, it is more likely that the consumer will make a quick exit from the page or screen.

On her blog Success Works, copywriting and search engine consultant Heather Lloyd-Martin offers three free tools to help diagnose your copy to see if will stand the test of the customer conversation:

  • Wordle: The Wordle tool is a free resource that allows users to create a Word Cloud that shows, by the size of the word within the cloud, which are the most prominent words in your copy. Lloyd-Martin created Wordles for landing pages for two similar technology products and noted that one was filled with technical terms and features, like “processor” and “Bluetooth,” while the other had more fun and informal words like “play” and “creative.” Comparing the two landing pages in a Wordle showed a clear difference in the copy for the two.
  • Customer Focus Calculator: Plug the URL and the name of your company into the online Customer Focus Calculator and the site will instantly return a calculation on how self-focused vs. how customer-focused the copy is. This tool is a good test for whether the copy is focused on you or your visitor’s needs.
  • Show Readability Statistics: There is a tool in Microsoft Word that calculates the readability of your copy. Once you enable “Show Readability Statistics” and run the Spell Check function (ignore everything and get to the end of the Spell Check), Word will tell you the reading ease and grade level for your copy. Any text scoring at the eighth-grade level or above is considered advanced and might need to be simplified.

Uh-oh, this post scored at a tenth-grade level. More PCT coming your way on Monday.

Source: Described by Forbes as pioneering SEO copywriting, Heather Lloyd-Martin has been writing copy for websites since 1997 and works with companies all over the world on copywriting, SEO and Search Marketing.