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I recognise the importance of good copy, but this is an area I often struggle with when working on my prototypes. I tend not to have to write large blocks of copy that often, the majority of my work is with microcopy.

So I'm looking for ways I can improve, apart from the obvious practice (I write a blog and like the constraints of twitter) - does anyone have some resources, books, guidelines or even courses that they'd recommend?

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Are you talking about micro-copy or more full length articles? Each has a very different set of skills. – JohnGB Oct 5 '11 at 12:46
I mostly need to write microcopy, so I think that's what I should focus on for now. But I'd also like to improve my writing skills overall. – Khal Weir Oct 5 '11 at 12:51
@JohnGB Really? Would you mind weighing in on the meta question about copy vs. microcopy? I'm not clear on the difference. – Patrick McElhaney Oct 5 '11 at 12:57

It helps to have basic grammar and prose skills, but that's only part of it.

As for resources, pick up "The Elements of Style" by Strunk & White. That will give you a good insight into writing only what is necessary. Try studying some of David Ogilvy's work, or even pick up a copy of "Confessions of an Advertising Man." I have read a few kitschy books like "Cashvertising!" which actually proved to be quite helpful in describing the ins and outs of effective ad copy.

Just remember that the main purpose of ad copy is communication. You need to get your point across without misleading or confusing your audience.

You can also improve your copy by improving the way you go about writing it. I personally believe anyone can become a great writer. Identify what you want to communicate and who you want to communicate it to. For the same reason that design is only effective if it truly serves the user, copy is only effective if it truly speaks to the reader.

It might seem obvious, but keep your basic message and your audience in mind at all times and the words will come easily.

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Also, there's a lot to be said for just studying effective copy. Check and get to reading! – Joel Salisbury Oct 5 '11 at 13:27
+1 for keeping the focus on communication an audience – JohnGB Oct 5 '11 at 13:28

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