Our favourite tools to help improve writing skills

February 17, 2020


Content marketers need to ensure that their copywriting is 100% accurate – typos and grammatical errors are simply unacceptable and damaging to the image that a brand needs to convey. While there is no substitute for a second pair of eyes and systematic proofreading, writing tools are a great way to review copy and spot most errors.

There are a number of reasons we use these. You might be stuck for the perfect word or phrase (read our blog on overcoming writers block); you might want to polish your writing – perhaps English isn’t your first language; you’re struck by ‘editor’s blindness’ and missing errors because you’ve been looking at a page for so long; or you might just want to ensure that you’ve put your best foot forward. Content marketing insiders will tell you that it’s a myth that we should all know exactly what we are writing about all the time and always have the perfect grammar and sentence structure to match.

So, we spoke to the Isoline team to find out which writing tools and referencing websites ranked top for providing that little extra something for them, when it comes to creating epic content for our client’s marketing campaigns.

1. Grammarly

Now, everyone has likely already heard of Grammarly, and for good reason. It’s a comprehensive solution to check grammar and spelling and it detects plagiarism, too. It’s a completely customisable experience, so you can choose exactly how and what you edit, to ensure you get the results you’re looking for. You can also upload documents to the platform for editing, alongside setting language preferences and much more. Preferences can also be set to provide a very granular goal-related experience, from the intent of your content, to your audience’s expertise and the emotion you want to evoke in them.

Grammarly is particularly useful for junior members of the team, and non-native English speakers seeking to improve their overall writing skills and improve grammar – this will hopefully save time in the long run, as the time allocated for quality control should gradually decrease.

2. Hemmingway Editor

The best feature of Hemmingway Editor is that it simplifies your writing. Take Isoline for example, we have an array of telecoms, tech and media clients with a wealth of industry knowledge. However, sometimes it can be challenging to relay a client’s thoughts on a specific topic in a way that your target audience will understand, or become passionate about. There are a lot of industry-specific terms and the technical detail can sometimes alienate your audience. Hemmingway is great for taking technically-complicated copy and suggesting simpler ways to convey your key messages to the market. The platform helps to ensure you write short and bold sentences, by flagging observations such as passive voice, adverbs and offering alternative phrasing. One useful feature from the platform is the hassle-free writing tool, which allows you to write and then choose to view the suggestions made – a lot of red underlines can be off-putting if you’re in the writing zone, so this is a welcome benefit.

3. Webster or Roget’s Thesaurus

Old school but still going strong, we can safely say that most of – if not all – content marketers have used an online dictionary as part of their writing process at some stage. Whether we’re not 100% sure on the spelling of a new industry term, or can’t decide if ‘signalling’ is one or two l’s in traditional English versus American, online dictionaries and thesauri are always a helpful referencing tool – they are the hidden weapon in a content marketer’s arsenal. They are also perhaps the best way to find other ways to convey a message, in case you’ve got into a rut or are using ‘steady growth’ too much in that management report. Synonyms are our best friends and there is nothing more satisfying than finding the perfect fit for your writing when you’re trying to replace ‘advanced technology’ 10 times throughout a piece of work.

4. Colleagues

Your colleagues are likely to be the most reliable proofreaders you will come across in your career. You all work at the same company and with the same clients, so there’s an existing reputation to aim for in your writing, and everyone will want to keep that up. Whether you’re an Account Executive in your first role or a Director who has been writing for 10+ years, getting a second pair of eyes on your content is crucial. What one colleague may pick up, another may not, so keep it varied, get others to review your content and provide feedback for your improvement, and do the same for others. We’re all gifted writers, but we all need a nudge in the right direction – even if we don’t think we need it!

We have only covered a few of our favourites here, but there are a whole host of tools out there to help you improve your content writing. It’s important to not rely on these tools, but use them as a writing aid or to help give your work a proofread prior to sharing with a colleague for their feedback. If you have any other writing tools that you use that the world should know about, get in touch, here: [email protected]


Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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