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If you’re a copywriter who works with web designers, there may come a time when you’re asked to send the document in HTML format. The bad news: you don’t know HTML. The good news: thanks to the many HTML editors available for use on the web, you don’t need to know HTML. Learn how to produce quick HTML coded copy drafts in Ten Easy Steps.
Step 1. Type the article as you normally would, using your word processing program of choice. For most people, that’s Microsoft Word. For others, it’s Microsoft Works. Wordpad, WordPerfect, and any shareware word processor all work fine for this purpose. Save the file as you normally would, in a spot that’s easily accessible.
Step 2. Locate your text editing program. The easiest way to do this is to open a web page… any web page at all is okay, and then go to the top and click VIEW, and then SOURCE. The page that opens up is your text editing program. For most users, that would be Notepad.
Step 3. In that text editing program, click FILE and then NEW. Go back to the file that contains your client’s copy, and hit Control-A (highlight all) and then Control-C (copy). Return to the Notepad or other text file and do a Control-V (paste). The article text will flow onto the page. Go to the top and label this copy as “Plain Text Version.”
Step 4. Visit a networking site, such as Ryze.com, or an article distribution site that you’re familiar with, that offers an HTML editor. If you normally post to the Ryze network, you should go to one of the forums you’re familiar with there.
Step 5. Start a “fake” post in the network forum of your choice. (Or, pretend you’re entering article text if you’re in an article site.)
Step 6. Paste the client’s copy into that box where you’d normally type your post or article. Click PREVIEW and then EDIT POST, or else click the HTML icon if there is one.
Step 7. Once you see the text appear in HTML format, with all that nifty code, highlight and copy the entire contents of the box using the method described in Step 3. Go back to your Notepad file that contains the Plain Text version of your copy, and scroll down past it. Paste the HTML code you picked up from the HTML editor box after the Plain Text version. Label the second version of the text as “HTML Version.”
Step 8. Save the text file on your desktop as a .txt file. Go back to the “fake post” and close it up (obviously you don’t want to post your client’s work on a public forum or as an article by accident. If for some reason you hit the dreaded POST button, delete your post immediately.
Step 9. Make sure that you communicate with the designer your plan to do this with the copy. Ask him if this HTML is something he can use. You may find that in talking with him, it’s not what he needs after all. If he plans to use style sheets to design the site, then you definitely do not have to go through this needless process… the HTML code that is generated with a text editor will be useless to him.
Step 10. Offer the designer an alternative: That you will use basic HTML code such as < b > for bold, < i > for italics, < br > for line breaks, and so on. If you do not know this code, make it your business to find out about it. I suggest you read this article:
Above all, you should maintain open communication with your web design collaborator. If he finds you easy to work with, guess which copywriter is getting a call back? That would be you. Good luck and happy coding!
Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.
Dina Giolitto is a copywriting consultant and ghostwriter with 10 years of experience writing corporate print materials and web content. Trust her with your next e-book, article series or web project, and make a lasting impression on your audience of information-hungry prospects. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for more information.