6 More Ways to Keep Your Copy Visually Exciting

Remember when we said the worst thing your copy could be is “boring?”

Not too long ago, we covered 5 ways to keep your copy from becoming a bland block of text that looks more at home in an academic journal than a blog or email. Today, we’re looking at even more techniques to spice up your copy.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to use these methods. Anyone with a word processor can try these hacks to keep their copy from looking blah, bland, or just plain boring.

Are you ready to learn 6 more ways to keep your copy eye-catching and fresh?

1. Subheaders.

One of the biggest (and hardest) truths of copywriting is this: most readers will skim. So how do you make sure all readers, even the skimmers, read what you want them to read?

Easy! Add subheaders to a landing page, blog post, or long-form email.

Subheaders are lines of text in a larger font size that help divide your copy into sections. If you imagine your piece of copy as a book, subheaders are the chapter titles. You might use a different font altogether to make your subheaders stand out even more.

Not only do subheaders break up the monotony of a length page of copy, they also help readers find relevant information faster.

You already know some of your readers will skim—make it easier for them to find the info they want!

Tip: Experiment with H1, H2, and H3 styles in your word processor to find a subheader style that fits your brand.

2. Pull quotes.

Pull quotes are exactly what they sound like—quotes from your copy pulled out of context.

Like subheaders, they’re larger pieces of text that break up a boring piece of copy. But instead of being miniature chapter titles, pull quotes are a highlight reel of your best writing.

You’re seen these before. Just scroll through a thinkpiece from an online magazine, and you’ll find some quotes from the article in big, bold letters in between paragraphs.

Pull quotes are most effective in narrative copy, like testimonials, case studies, articles, and blog posts. Use your most intriguing, compelling lines, the kinds of copy that will get a reader curious about what you have to say.

Tip: Don’t overuse pull quotes, or you might distract from your body copy. Limit yourself to one or two pull quotes per page.

3. Highlights and color.

The font color and highlighting tools on your word processor have the power to grab attention and add some extra layers of meaning to your copy.

Say you want to tell a case study about a past client. You want to use numbers to show how your business helped this client, but an unfamiliar reader might not know if those numbers are “good” or “bad” in your industry.

Color the before numbers red and the after numbers green, and the meaning becomes clear.

Even a reader with no context for benchmarks in your industry can tell that the red number is disappointing, and the green number is ideal.

You can also play with the highlight tool similar to the way you might bold or underline a section of copy. A yellow highlight draws the eye and tells your reader to pay attention.

Tip: Be sparing with your use of color and highlights. Too much of either can be off-putting, confusing, or hard to read. A splash of color here and there can do a lot of heavy lifting.

4. Em dashes, ellipses, and parentheticals.

Looking for a more subtle way to spice up your copy? Maybe you’re limited by space, page layout, or printing capabilities—but that doesn’t mean your copy has to look boring.

Punctuation can do a lot to liven up your visuals.

Em dashes (the extra long dashes) and ellipses (three periods in a row) can add space between phrases or sentences. Plus, they give your copy personality.

Are you the kind of fast-talking person who can’t help but interject extra comments—like this—into your own sentences?

Or maybe you want  to slow down, trail off, and imply something not worth saying. . .

Punctuation can do that.

Parentheses pull double duty. You can use parentheses to define a word or phrase that may be unfamiliar to your readers. (Parentheses are also great for adding asides, like you’re letting a reader in on a secret.) No matter how you use them, they break up the visuals of your copy.

Tip: Not sure how to use these punctuation marks in your copy? There’s a Sigl blog post for that.

5. Alignment.

Alignment is how the edges of your copy are lined up with the margins.

Most copy is left aligned because we read from left to right. Your reader knows they can find the start of a new line at the leftmost edge. But throwing in some centered or right aligned copy can be a very effective statement.

Centering a line of copy, like a subheader or a CTA, makes it stand out from the copy around it. Centering works best for short sections of copy. It can be difficult to read anything more than 3 lines of centered text because the edges are so uneven.

Right aligned text is rare in languages that go from left to right. But there are ways to pull it off.

Alternating alignment can give the illusion of a conversation.

Like two parties texting back and forth.

Want to show two sides of a story?

Try a couple of short, snappy lines in alternating alignment.

Tip: Avoid using justified copy (where the edges are straight on both margins, like a newspaper article). Justification can lead to some unusual spacing or even mid-word breaks to maintain the even edges. Justified text doesn’t have much place in the world of digital copy.

6. Different styles of bullet points.

In our last post about keeping copy visually exciting, we talked about how great bullet points are for giving readers easily-digestible lists.

But that was just the beginning.

The style of bullet point you use can keep your lists from looking too same-y, and you can add flair and meaning to your copy while you’re at it.

Here are a couple examples:

image of text showing different bullet point styles

Each style of bullet point implies something about the list. Is it a to-do list? A list of accolades your brand has won? A sampling of the benefits your customers can expect to receive from your products? The style of bullet point should match the content of your list.

Tip: Stick to one type of bullet point per list. (We used several kinds in the above list to show you examples.) Using the same type of bullet point tells your reader that all those list items are a cohesive set.

Even with all these tricks up your sleeve, writing and designing your own copy can be tough. We know how it is! But you don’t have to do it alone. If you could use a hand with all things digital marketing, schedule a call. We’d love to help your business succeed through clear, exciting online communications.

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