✍️ Writing Exercises

These exercises come from the book From Reads To Leads. Make sure you get the book to learn the writing rules before you do the exercises. If you want to share your responses, click on the exercise and post your story in the comments! Get feedback from other copywriters.
Exercise #1
Come up with ideas for content that aligns with your reader’s journey

Come up with one content idea for each of three B2B buying jobs in Gartner’s B2B buying journey (identify a problem, explore solutions, select a supplier). The goal of your content is to attract a reader who wants to hire a web developer abroad to build a product for a startup. Assume that you’re working for a recruitment company that assists clients with hiring software developers.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 1 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise # 2
Connect with your audience

Write a small paragraph about your new fitness app for people who want to get in better shape but hate gyms. Use one of the three techniques mentioned in chapter 2 to create a bond with your audience:

  1. Share an experience that your readers can relate to. 
  2. Write about your own struggles (or successes) and how your readers can learn from your mistakes (or achievements). 
  3. Create a common enemy.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 2 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #3
Persuade all four types of readers

Drive home the idea that “DevOps results in increased revenue” using a unique message to target each of your four types of readers: charismatics, skeptics, thinkers, and followers.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 3 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #4
Conduct voice of the customer research

Create a spreadsheet with the following columns:

Source

Wants / Needs

Pains

Barriers / Objections

Values 

Conduct voice of the customer research. Copy the phrases your customers use that reflect their wants and needs, pains, objections, and values in the corresponding columns. Then analyze these phrases considering what your customers say, how they say it, and why they say it. Highlight your most interesting insights.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 4 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise # 5
Create jobs to be done

Write jobs to be done for readers searching for these keyword phrases:

  • Roles in a SaaS company
  • How to sell jewelry online 
  • Average software developer salary

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 5 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #6
Plan your reader’s actions

You’ve been given the assignment to write an article about how to monetize a mobile app for a company that provides mobile app development services. What might be your goal for this article? What action do you want your readers to take once they’ve read it?

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 6 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #7
Insert your experience

Assume you work at a product development studio whose services include analyzing product growth metrics. You’re writing an article about what product metrics a startup should measure. Insert your experience into your intro to make the reader understand who you are and trust what you say.

Intro:

At the heart of any successful product lies thorough analysis and some luck. Measuring startup metrics plays a key role in creating a successful product. In this blog post, we’ll reveal what metrics a startup needs to measure at different stages of their lifecycle and what insights they can gain from those metrics. Let’s get started.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 7 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #8
Change self-centered copy into customer-centered copy

Rewrite the following sentence so it talks about your customers and not about yourself:

We provide pricing analytics solutions to improve the profitability and market share of retail companies by defining optimal prices and pricing strategies.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 8 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #9
Change negative framing into positive

Rewrite the article title below using positive framing:

Stop Wasting Time on Diets That Don’t Work

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 9 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #10
Change features into outcomes

Rewrite this message that talks about features into a message that talks about outcomes:

Our software can handle multiple data streams at the same time.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 10 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #11
Use formulas to talk about pains

Your readers fear that their data might get lost or fall into the wrong hands. Use the eight formulas you’ve learned to persuade your readers to buy your company’s backup software. The eight formulas are:

1. If–then…

2. If you don’t do anything, it will just get worse…

3. What most people do…

4. Imagine this…

5. If the only thing you get is…

6. Don’t let this happen to you…

7. What if…

8. You’re standing at the crossroads…


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 11 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #12
Create a key message

Assume you’re writing an article on how online marketplaces have changed the world. The company you work for sells a white label software solution for building online marketplaces. Create a key message that includes the following components:

  • Supporting arguments
  • Proofs
  • Relevant experience unique to your company

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 12 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #13
Map your content

Do you already have a bunch of content on your blog? It’s time to map it! Here’s how:

  1. Collect links to all your existing content assets in one spreadsheet. 
  2. Review your existing assets and map them to relevant phases of the reader’s journey.
  3. Include CTAs in your existing content that move readers to the next stage of their journey. Make sure these CTAs are connected with your key messages.
  4. See if there are any gaps you can fill with new ideas.


At Kaiiax, we’ve created a template for a content map built around the reader’s journey (using Schwartz’s stages of awareness). You can download it and use it as a starting point for your own projects.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 13 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #14
Analyze the hero’s journey

Watch the “Televerde Customer Story” made by LinkedIn about Televerde, a B2B lead generation agency that uses LinkedIn’s solutions. Then answer the following questions:

  • Who is the hero in this story?
  • Who is the mentor?
  • What role does the sales navigator play?
  • What event is the call to adventure?
  • How does the hero transform?

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 14 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #15
Write a question lead

Write a lead for an article titled “Want to Be the Next Zoom? Here Are 3 Secrets Behind Zoom’s Growth.”

A hint: When Zoom was built, video conferencing was a crowded market.

What might your question lead sound like?

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 15 of the book From Reads To Leads.


Exercise #16
Improve the flow of ideas

Rewrite the following paragraph to improve the flow:

Booking a table at a restaurant can be a painful experience. Restaurant managers accept calls about reservations and cancel orders. Usually, this approach to table reservations doesn’t allow a manager to see how busy the night will be. There will either be numerous open tables or scheduling overlaps. With a restaurant reservation app, such misfortunes can be successfully avoided.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 16 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #17
Add transition words

Connect the following sentences using transition words:

This job is monotonous. It’s boring. People don’t stay here for more than a year. There are ways you can make boring tasks more interesting.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 17 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #18
Write a focused paragraph

Write a short paragraph where the first sentence makes a clear point and all other sentences support it with proofs and examples. The point you need to make is that many local trucking businesses are unprofitable. Here are some facts to support this statement:

  • Truckers often drive back empty.
  • 15.63% of all miles driven by truckers are empty. 
  • Shipping companies need to pay brokers up to 20% commission.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 18 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise # 19
Analyze the punches

Pull out your favorite book and write down the chapter endings for every single chapter. How does the author keep you reading? Where is the author choosing to end the chapters? What are the author’s techniques for endings? Write down your thoughts.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 19 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise # 20
Put these formulas to use

Pick out two or three formulas you like most (or pick all of them) and try using them to communicate this message: 

Build your website in an hour using our intuitive website builder. 

These are all the formulas you just learned:

  • AIDA
  • PAS
  • Before–After–Bridge 
  • PPPP
  • AICPBSAWN

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 20 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #21
Write an outline

Create an outline for your next blog post following the steps in the Chapter 21 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #22
Make it simple and clear

Rewrite the following sentence to make it clear and simple.

Media organizations are facing obstacles when it comes to leveraging an economically sustainable course given the widespread nature of commodity journalism that has become entwined with social media ecosystems.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 22 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #23
Substitute academic linking words

Rewrite the following sentence using simple transitional phrases:

Protecting business-critical data should be a primary concern. However, when your business migrates to the cloud, data protection consequently becomes more difficult. This is due to the fact that native controls and protective mechanisms are simply not found in the native Office 365 tools.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 23 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #24
Spice up your titles with power words

Rewrite the following article titles using power words that trigger emotions:


100 Online Marketing Strategies for Everybody

How to Sell Art Online: The Ultimate Guide

10 Awesome Mobile App UI Design Examples 

How to Start a Business: A Checklist on How to Go from Idea to Success

Why Becoming a Manager Is the Right Step for a Software Engineer 


Check out the list of power words for ideas.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 24 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #25
Kill the weasel words

Rewrite the text below so that it doesn’t contain weasel words:


Using our leading customer relationship management platform, you can expect significant growth in the number of sales-qualified leads in your sales funnel. Better still, our numerous clients usually experience a substantial increase in conversions.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 25 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #26
Use specific words

Rewrite the sentence below using specific words: 


We ensure an effective end-to-end testing process by developing purpose-built solutions that simplify traditional methods.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 26 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #27
Transform a sentence using sensory adjectives

Rewrite the following article title using sensory adjectives:


10 secrets for creating an addictive and beautiful mobile app 


Replace “addictive” with a word that describes touch and replace “beautiful” with a word that describes sight. Use sensory adjectives from this list.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 27 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #28
Ditch clichés

Rewrite the sentence below without using clichés (“next-generation,” “paradigm shift,” “the next big thing,” “today’s fast-moving world”): 


Our next-generation voice commerce solution offers a paradigm shift in the way we shop. It’s the next big thing for today’s fast-moving world.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 28 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #29
Turn passive into active

Rewrite the following sentence in active voice:


In the event that services are required in addition to those already requested, send an email to the SoftMagic team.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 29 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #30
Write with statistics

Write a small paragraph providing evidence that the US is a global hotspot for data breaches. Find data from reliable sources to support your claim.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 30 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #31
Explain a complex term using a metaphor

Explain what “the blockchain” is using a metaphor.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 31 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #32
Analyze visuals

Assume you’re writing an article called “How to Start a Dropshipping Business.” Analyze visuals included in other articles on the same topic: 

  1. Type in “how to start a dropshipping business” on Google.
  2. Open the top 10 articles that rank for your keyword phrase and check out their content. 
  3. Pay attention to tables, images, quotes, videos, and other visuals and how they relate to the contents of the articles. 
  4. Take screenshots of the visuals you like and add them to a Google Doc.
  5. Write down why you think the authors included these visuals in their articles.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 32 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #33
Communicate a message with different tones of voice

Your task is to ask your client to pay for your services. Do it in three different ways:

  1. Formally
  2. Politely but straightforwardly
  3. Commandingly

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 33 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #34
Rewrite using a conversational tone

The paragraph below is boring. It uses a formal writing style with lots of clichés, passive voice, and long-winded sentences. Rewrite it using a conversational tone of voice.

A large number of websites are built based on what looks good rather than by focusing on functionality and design that converts. The solution is to use a conversion-centered design on your website, which entails using established design principles to persuade users to tackle a single business-driven goal, helping to increase conversion rates and drive more leads.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 34 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #35
Spot inconsistencies

Read the following paragraph and write down any inconsistencies you notice:

The Ukrainian IT industry is expected to reach $10 billion by 2020. The local software development community grew by 27 percent in 2017 and currently employs over 185,000 IT specialists. Ukraine ranks fourth in the world by the number of tech workers after the United States, India, and Russia. Moreover, its IT workforce is expected to surpass the 200K mark in 2020. The vast majority of Ukrainian IT specialists—67%—live in major Ukrainian cities, like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Lviv. Many companies prefer hiring Ukrainian developers, as they rank 5th among ratings of the best software developers in the world. 

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 35 of the book From Reads To Leads.


Exercise # 36
Format content for readability

Rewrite the paragraph below to it’s easy to scan and read:


SaaS products have plenty of advantages compared to conventional software from the user’s perspective. First of all, they’re available through a subscription that lowers the barrier to entry and allows more potential customers to purchase them because people are more likely to pay $25 per month than give $500 at a shot. What’s more, the SaaS model provides more flexibility to the customer. With usage-based pricing, the customer only pays more for the product when they receive greater benefit from it. Next, SaaS products are regularly improved, which means users don’t need to buy, install, or update their software by themselves. Another advantage is that people can access SaaS applications from any device and at any time (as long as there’s an internet connection). Last but not least, SaaS applications are already installed and configured in the cloud, so companies don’t need to spend time on software deployment. 

All of these advantages make Software as a Service the best business model today.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 36 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise 37
Write a parallel bulleted list

Fix the structure of the following bulleted list:

A great marketplace creates the following benefits for both buyers and sellers:

  1. Convenience. Selling and buying online has never been easier.
  2. Safe environment. A reliable marketplace performs a thorough background check on users.
  3. More accessible for both buyers and sellers. Anybody can become a seller and sell from anywhere. And anyone can become a buyer, even if they are also a seller.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 37 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #38
Trim the fat

Edit the text below, which is supposed to explain what the customer experience means for hotels.

Hotels do not simply provide a generalized customer experience that rests upon a website, guest services, and a manager who will address guests’ concerns—they think about the big picture, from booking to a branded hotel app to new ways to amaze their clients in the face of competition from market disruptors.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 38 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #39
Find an expert and ask questions

Assume you need to write an article titled “Why Ruby on Rails is the best framework for web development” for a company that provides web development services. Who will you need to talk to so you can include their expertise in your article? Make a list of people (job roles) to interview and prepare a list of questions to ask them.

Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 39 of the book From Reads To Leads.

Exercise #40
Respond to criticism

This is going to be a bit intimidating. But uncomfortable, anxiety-inducing situations are often necessary for moving forward in life. 

Once you’ve finished your draft, find the most unfriendly reviewer you can think of. This should be somebody whose opinion is valuable but whose feedback may come across as harsh. This person could be your manager, a subject matter expert, or maybe even your client. Ask them to give you their honest feedback on your writing. 

After they review your work, respond to their criticism using the tips in this chapter. Pay attention to how you feel when reading negative feedback and how you feel after you respond to it calmly and constructively.


Don't know how to do it? Read Chapter 40 of the book From Reads To Leads.

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