Bust through boring like the Kool-Aid Man: 3 free tools to write copy that pops
As a child, I consumed the written word the way I now consume brownie batter: in small, rapid bites, each flavor distinct but devolving quickly into a flurry of blurred indulgence.
The pleasure never gets old, even though I seem to.
After devouring all the text on a cereal box, in a library book, or a Sears catalog, I lingered over last sentences with the same kind of remorse I feel while circling a spatula in a mixing bowl.
Gone so fast, and yet so sweet. Is it too soon to get some more?
It wasn’t until many years later—as I aced essay-writing assignments and scored ridiculously high on standardized tests—that I realized my reading had given me a gift, namely: a mondo vocabulary.
For my money, NOTHING beats actually reading your way into new vocab—you get context, metaphor, imagery, and awesome plots to boot!
But when you’re an entrepreneur with a partner who needs you, a dog wanting a walk, and a call in 45 minutes OH EM GEE, you don’t always have time to read the collected Penguin Classics just to brush up your new sales page.
Fortunately, we live in an age where you don’t have to live in a library to get access to amazing word choices.
So here are 3 FREE awesome tools you can use to pump up our copy with some fresh new words.
The Gold Standard: Thesaurus.com
Everyone’s favorite go-to word site has a hidden functionality you might have overlooked…until now.
Let’s say you’re a coach that helps women find the rhythm of life in retirement. You might want to talk about how you make their lives easy—but you’re so over “easy” (and ease-y, too, for that matter).
As you rummage around thesaurus.com, just click the little “common word” checkbox.
When you do, the website will highlight “words that appear frequently in written and spoken language across many genres from radio to academic journals.”
In other words, you can see which words tend to be overused…and play around with something else!
The Secret Weapon: PowerThesaurus.org
Sick and tired of the fact that every health coach uses the phrase “sick and tired”? Discover a catchier alternative…or several hundred.
Power Thesaurus is like thesaurus.com on crack. (Or maybe not. My awareness of crack is all hearsay.) For every word you input, you’ll find HUNDREDS of synonyms and antonyms, too!
Feeling overwhelmed because “easy” has 1000+ synonyms? Select from one of several filters, including parts of speech (verb, adjective, idiom, etc.), subtopics, or similar.
A true playground for word nerds. 🙂
The New Perspective: Words-to-Use.com
Unlike a dictionary or thesaurus, this extensive word database searches for words categorized by genre or field such as apparel, occasions, business, and people & appearance.
When you search for a word, you’ll uncover new and different usages for many common words.
Try using this tool to create unexpected and interesting contrasts rather than simply swapping one word for another.
For example, let’s return to our life coach. When she searches for the word “easy” she turns up a list of genres that include friends, hair care, skin care, summer, sweets & desserts, and video games.
Instead of pulling new word ideas from “people & appearance,” which seems like the most obvious choice given her field, she can choose some verbs from, say, “sweets & desserts.”
So instead of writing, “I make retired life feel easy,” she might get inspired to write, “I make retired life feel like a gourmet, fresh-from-the-oven experience.”
Hear how the second concept pops (especially when compared to the first)? That’s the power of unexpected contrast!
The next time you need a word to replace a worn-out phrase, use one (or all 3) of these resources to jazz it up.
Now it’s your turn.
Do you have a favorite word resource online? Post about it in the comments!