Working With a Designer? Here’s How to Structure Your Copy in Google Docs
Writing just isn’t all the time a solo act. Whenever you work within the sphere of digital advertising and marketing, writers usually work intently with designers to carry web sites, pamphlets, ebooks and graphics to life.
Essentially the most expert writers inside digital advertising and marketing should enter each venture with design in thoughts. Which means rigorously structuring your copy, contemplating how textual content will seem beside pictures and understanding the bigger targets of the completed venture.
Throughout my profession as a contract copywriter, I’ve acquired many compliments from designers about how straightforward my copy is to work with. Typically designers are used to seeing partitions of textual content and their job is to translate that textual content right into a construction that appears like a traditional web site or book. When you can fill in a number of design gaps as you write, you’ll impress your purchasers — and get designers to completely love working with you since you make their job simpler.
On this article, I’ll break down a handful of straightforward design methods you are able to do inside Google Docs to construction your copy to impress. Let’s dive in.
Take a step again
Earlier than we dive into the precise ways, let’s identify one of the vital widespread issues beginning writers face when studying to write down for enterprise.
Except for writing weblog posts, most stuff you’ll write for companies shouldn’t seem like an extended wall of textual content by the point you’re achieved. Earlier than you place your fingers on the keyboard, all the time take a look at examples of completed copywriting tasks. Pay cautious consideration to construction. The way you construction your copy impacts the way you write, so it’s essential to grasp the final construction you’re aiming for earlier than you get began.
A couple of examples
Let’s faux for a second that you just’ve been assigned a web site copywriting venture. Earlier than you place a single phrase on the web page, go click on round your favourite web sites. How do they use phrases on the web page?
Possible, your favourite web sites aren’t a wall of textual content. They’re structured with clear, quick headlines and minimal physique copy.
Take into account the simplicity of a web site like Intercom.
Your aim as a author needs to be to get your copy as near an look of the completed web site as potential. Which means discovering methods to showcase pictures. It means distinguishing headings from physique copy utilizing totally different measurement fonts. May you make your calls to motion really seem like buttons — even in Google Docs?
Or maybe your consumer has requested you to write down an book. Ask: How do probably the most inventive, well-designed ebooks seem as a completed venture?
Earlier than leaping into the writing, you may scroll a number of ebooks from HubSpot for inspiration.
Discover that HubSpot’s content material isn’t structured as a wall of textual content with lengthy paragraphs in a single column. The book is simple to scroll. It’s visible and colourful. The copy is compartmentalized into small blocks of textual content.
You possibly can observe that instance… and even construction the book in Google Docs in order that it seems much like that completed product earlier than the designer sees it.
Writing copy for web sites or ebooks means first taking a step again. Determine in your thoughts that you’ll write copy in such a approach that the designer understands your aesthetic decisions the second they open your Google Doc.
Find out how to construction your copy in Google Docs
You’re in all probability already utilizing a number of Google docs hacks for finishing freelance writing assignments —from Google docs add-ons to tracking changes in Google docs — now you can also make designers fall in love along with your work by following the following tips for structuring your copy in Google Docs.
Make it clear the place pictures belong
Google Docs makes it straightforward so as to add pictures. The issue is, the way you construction these pictures beside your copy isn’t all the time best. Pictures can bump your textual content far and wide, making it onerous to indicate designers what construction you’re going for. Fortuitously, there’s a easy workaround that provides you extra management over pictures.
Earlier than dropping any pictures into my doc, I’ll add a Desk after which regulate the scale of that desk to suit the proportions I’m going for.
Hover your mouse over Insert > Desk > Choose the variety of containers you want. (I often simply want two: one facet of the desk is for copy, the opposite for my picture.)
As soon as you choose the field, you may regulate the press and drag the perimeters of the desk to alter its dimensions. Then simply add your copy in a single field and your picture within the different.
Right here’s an instance from one among my recent ebook projects. The Earlier than picture is how I structured the textual content in Google Docs. The After picture exhibits what my copy appeared like as soon as the designers had an opportunity to work their magic.
Generate buttons and arrange web site copy
The Desk function can also be highly effective for organizing copy for a web site. Because the desk parameters may be adjusted up, down, left and proper, you should utilize the Desk to put copy wherever on the web page. This makes it straightforward so as to add components like buttons or small pictures with out something pushing your copy out of the way in which.
Facet word: Within the instance above, my spouse included a screenshot from a web site that impressed our copywriting and design decisions. That’s why there’s a screenshot above the copy. Including screenshots offers the designers much more perception into the way you visualize your copy.
The Desk instrument in Google Docs will probably be your finest pal. You can even use it to prepare copy neatly into columns or place graphics or emojis beside or above textual content.
And if you wish to do away with the black border, merely: proper click on the desk > Desk Properties > Change the border coloration from black to white. The traces disappear however you continue to preserve the construction.
Use the Drawing function
One other useful instrument in Google Docs is the Drawing function.
Don’t fear, the designer and your consumer gained’t count on you to draft footage or graphics for them. I take advantage of this instrument to shortly create photograph or graphic placeholders after I actually need to convey how a selected area on the web page needs to be used, even after I don’t have all the pictures I would like.
You possibly can entry the Drawing instrument by clicking: Insert > Drawing > New
With the Drawing instrument, you may create bare-bones visuals as placeholders for future designs. I often simply go along with a plain X. When seen throughout the context of my writing, most designers will shortly perceive that I count on some picture or graphic to fill the area containing my drawing.
Within the instance under, the designer will simply see that every X needs to be a headshot that lives above every skilled bio.
Present your spacing
Completed web sites and ebooks don’t seem like a Google Docs. For one factor, the spacing is totally totally different. As a author, you want methods to speak with designers about how massive or small a piece of copy is supposed to be.
For this, I depend on one easy instrument.
If I would like to indicate a piece is ending, I often use Google Docs’ horizontal line. You will discover it by clicking: Insert > Horizontal line.
A skinny black line will seem and divide the web page high from backside. This helps you distinguish when one part ends and the following begins.
My commonest use case for this line is to outline every thing that needs to be included above the fold on a web site. Above the fold is outlined as every thing a web site customer sees on a web site earlier than they start scrolling.
When writing web site copy, every thing written above the horizontal line is supposed to look above the fold.
Further structuring instruments and design methods
There are dozens of further methods to make use of Google Docs to convey your design intentions. Not all of them require their very own part. Here’s a fast listing of some further instruments I recurrently use to construction my writing.
- Bullets & numbering (Format > Bullets & numbering)
- Columns (Format > Columns)
- Charts (Insert > Charts)
- Use totally different font sizes to differentiate chapters and subchapters, headings and subheads.
- Editable define (View > Present doc define)
- This generates an computerized Desk of Contents based mostly in your headings.
- Header / footer
- When writing white papers, I usually insert my consumer’s emblem into the header in order that it routinely exhibits up on each web page.
- Google fonts
- If I do know what font my consumer will use on their web site for headings and physique copy, I’ll usually write utilizing that font or an analogous one. Google affords a whole bunch of free fonts that you would be able to add to Google Docs.
Make designers fall in love along with your work
Designers expertise most of the similar complications as writers. Their abilities are chronically undervalued. Each new project is anticipated to be achieved yesterday. Designers usually should defend their charges and thoroughly handle scope.
If you can also make their life simpler by incorporating easy design components into your copy, designers will bear in mind your work without end. As a result of copywriters and content material writers seldom suppose twice about construction and design. Designers should interpret a author’s construction prefer it’s a brand new language. Whenever you do the translating for them, you shortly rise to the highest of their “favourite writers” listing.
Keep in mind: designers and writers usually work hand in hand. When designers obtain thrilling new tasks, you need to be the author they suggest for that subsequent gig. By utilizing good design practices in your writing, you may change into the #1 referral of a number of expert designers.
Differentiate your self from most of your competitors by writing for design. It’s only one extra approach so as to add worth to each venture — and differentiate your self from most different writers.