Tweaking (Not Twerking) for Response
15. Contractions can be controversial, but they're also conversational. Which means they'll make your copy/content look and sound more approachable. Contractions also use fewer characters, which makes them attractive for Twitter, text messages and subject lines. If you want your copy/content to sound more formal, proper, sometimes stilted, do not use contractions. If you want your writing to have a friendly, conversational voice, use 'em appropriately. And use 'em correctly. For example, do you know when to use they're vs. their, it's vs. its, and you're vs. your?
Check out the handy infographic to the left from the writers at Divine Write, titled "Contractions: When Can I Use Them?" It ranks contractions into least formal to most formal, then provides example situations when a particular contraction would be used.
One final comment: Editing and proofreading are separate tasks. When you're worrying about the spelling of a French phrase or placement of a comma, you're not focusing on the task of developing and connecting ideas that connect with your reader. Edit first and leave the proofing for last.
Pat Friesen is the author of the best-selling Direct Marketing IQ report, "The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook." She writes for direct mail, email, blogs, catalogs, the Web and other direct response media. She's also a sought-after copy coach, workshop presenter and columnist for Target Marketing magazine. Contact Pat at (913) 341-1211 and Pat@PatFriesen.com.