Copywriting

Articles courtesy of Steven Smith

Copywriting - All The Information You Need On Copywriting

3 Steps To Great Copy


Copywriting

Nothing irritates me more than being told that there are '3 Secrets' to great copy. Worst still are those marketing promises that say something like, "3 Secrets that the copy gurus don't want you to know".

Here's an example I received just the other day...

"Just imagine... a report with the *exact* words to use to maximize your influence and communication effectiveness..."

For me to believe that I could write good copy simply by having access to these *exact* words, I would also have to believe that if I had access to the *exact* set of brushes and paints used by Picasso, I could become a great painter.

It's all nonsense.

However, there are some simple steps you can take which, when taken in the right sequence, can improve your copy.

Step 1: Figure out WHAT to say

A great deal of copy, for site pages, emails and newsletters, fails simply because the writers didn't pause long enough to figure out what they should be saying.

When you miss the 'what to say' stage and jump straight to the 'how to say it' stage, you usually end up with very vendor-centric text. You end up re-wording the brief, highlighting the great features and benefits of your client's products and services, and telling your audience that they really should buy everything right now.

Adding rouge and powder to the brief doesn't result in great copy.

When you make yourself spend time on 'what to say', you'll find yourself thinking more about the people to whom you are writing. Your copy becomes more reader-centric. What do they bring with them when they open that page or email? What are their expectations? What do they want from you? What are they hoping for? What can you say that will make them think, "Yes, I'm in the right place. These guys might be able to help me."?

Achieve that, and everything else becomes a great deal easier.

For myself, I try to spend as much time figuring out what to say as I do on the actual writing of the copy. I have a scrap of paper on the wall in front of me, on which I have written, "What is it that I am really trying to say?"

Step 2: Write well

Again, don't get all bent out of shape over 'how' to write great copy, or which 'power words' to use. Simply focus on taking 'what to say', and saying it well.

Here's a simple tip that you might find useful.

When you are writing the first drafts of your copy, write it in a program like Notepad, which has no formatting features - no bold, no underline, no color.

All too often, we format our copy to make up for poor writing.

For instance, if you write a sentence and then immediately feel that you need an exclamation point at the end and a couple of words emphasized in bold... what does that tell you? Very often, what it should be telling you is that you didn't write that sentence very well in the first place.

Good writing, through its own structure and rhythm, already places emphasis in the right places. If you feel the need to format a sentence for emphasis, take that as a warning that you should, instead, be rewriting that sentence until it works a little better.

Good writing can stand alone, without the crutch of formatting to make up for the deficiencies in the writer's craft.

Step 3: Now you can add the final touches

I'm not a rabid purist when it comes to writing copy online. And because of the nature of the online experience, you will need to take note of the formatting of your copy.

Online, readers are becoming more and more impatient. So you really do have to say, "Look! Here's the copy that answers your questions."

Work with your designer to make sure that the layout of the page throws emphasis on the key messages. Check out the column widths, and make sure none of your paragraphs look too long. Add those bold headings, and maybe some bold words within the body, here and there.

And yes, even pay attention to those 'power' words and phrases - like Free, Buy Now, Click Here.

In conclusion...

I'm not preaching that you never use formatting and particular words to help your readers get the information they need.

I'm simply saying that these finishing touches should be just that, the final, finishing touches to a great message that is written well.

Good copywriters say the right thing well, and then add final touches to make the copy work online.

Mediocre copywriters skip the part about the right message and writing well. They simply jump to the part about 'power' words and formatting.

Like any other from of writing, online copywriting is about connecting with your audience and expressing your message clearly.

No short cuts. No secrets. Just lots of hard work and a love for your craft.

Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author, speaker and advocat of good writing. You can access all his archived newsletter articles on copywriting and writing for the web at his Excess Voice site. You'll find more articles and resources on how to make money as a freelance writer at his Freelance Writing Success site.







Car Insurance Rates   |   Dental Insurance   |   Health Insurance   |   Home Owner Insurance   |   Life Insurance Quote



| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |











How To Write Direct Mail That Really, Really Works!
So, you have something you want to sell. It may be a product, a service, or a cause. It could be a membership, a subscription, or a motor car. It might be paper, health products or the idea that the humane society or the Alzheimer's association is worth giving money to. It could be comput...(related: Copywriting)


Writing Effective Sales Copy
Whether you run a home-based business or Microsoft, one thing is always true: products do not sell themselves. So what makes customers buy? Words.Marke...(related: Copywriting)


What A Ghostwriter Can Do For You
Do you ever have brilliant ideas for articles, books or a website, but never get around to doing anything about them? Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Trust and credibility are vital in creating consumer confidence. Being able to tell the world who you are, what you do and how you do it is the best kind of confidence-building free publicity?producing results rivaling those of standard advertising. But even if you could crank out passable copy yourself, most businesspeople should be spending their time doing what they do best?minding the store, not staring at blank sheets of paper!If that's you, and your marketing plans inclu...(related: Copywriting)


How To Write An Effective Ad
A letter or postcard allows you to "talk" one-on-one to your prospect. That means you should use "I" and "me" and "you" in your sales letter. Don't use the corporate sounding "we".Remember just one person is reading your letter or postcard at once. So don't write in the plural, even if your mailing is going ou...(related: Copywriting)


Deciding What Voice To Use In Copy
You have to choose a character or an angle that you, the copywriter plays. Copy is interactive. There's a copywriter and a copy reader. As soon as one is gone, the relationship is over (at least for the time being). Readers don't have to stick around. There's no locked door. And they won't?if you don't keep them interested. So you need to write as if you are talking to that person directly. How do you do this? Nine ...(related: Copywriting)


Designing For A Non-english Audience
Having worked as a digital publishing specialist at a large corporation at my previous job, I did not think being in charge of foreign language typesetting would be too difficult. After all, the layout and the images are already prepared ...(related: Copywriting)


Headlines That Pull, Persuade And Propel!
When writing direct response copy, there are a few things that can maximize the responsiveness of your message. The first and most important element that can turn any website, salesletter or ad into an action-generating mechanism is the headline.A headline is meant to do two vital things.First, it needs to grab your reader's attention. Realize that people surfing the web are click-happy. They tend to scan web pages quickly, even many of them simultaneously. Your site is but a blur. So, your headline must be prominent and effective enough to stop them.Second, your headline needs pull the reader into the copy and compel her into reading further. To do that, it must cater to a specific emotion or ...(related: Copywriting)


On Copying And Stealing Designs
The notion on the great artist, Pablo Picasso's quote, "Bad artists copy. Good artists steal" is lost on many. And revolving around the graphic designer circles is the quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal" known as Picasso's quote, still. Anyway, it might just be safe to assume that Picasso have not quoted this words exactly but he did have an "expert's assessment and statement" regarding copying and stealing art styles and techniques.The artistic world was widely influenced by Picasso, being the first living artist to be featured in the Louvre. M...(related: Copywriting)


How To Find A Copywriting School
Have you heard the good things about the field of copywriting? If you have, then you know that a qualified copywriter is an invaluable asset to those looking for them. Becoming this asset means going to a copywriting school. Turn this to your advantage. First, most copywriting schools can be found throughout the internet ...(related: Copywriting)


5 Ways To Instantly Improve Your Copy
1. Isolation techniqueIt doesn't matter how good your copy is if they don't read it. Put blinders on and read each line (including the headlines and subheads) as if they exist in total isolation. Ask yourself if it makes sense on its own. For example, I was looking through Esquire Magazine and saw...(related: Copywriting)




Google




Headline Writing Can Lead To Fortunes: Here Are The Basics Of Writing Headlines
Headlines attract attention. Headlines generate interest. The time spent writing headlines can pay you back many times over.Do you have a product or service to sell? How do you attract new customers, clients, prospects, leads or patients?Most likely you attract them through the written word in some sort of advertising, articles, or press release. In each case you need a headline.In fact, every printed document you publish should have a headline on it. Yes, even including your business card, if you have one!So, what shoul...(related: Copywriting)

No-holds-barred Conversation With Dan Lok - Part 1
Question: If you were starting out and had no references or a substantial resume, how would you go about finding paying customers for your services?To answer your question, I'll assume you're a junior copywriter or marketing consultant.When I first started out and didn't know a soul, I'd open the yellow pages and cold-call the business owners. I'd go to networking events and try to get business. (Sucks!)Sometimes I'd do a little 'switchcraft' and call the companies who sent me direct mail letters.Before I had a track record, I wrote a lot on a results-oriented basis. This is also know as a 'sink or swim' or 'thrive or starve' approach....(related: Copywriting)

Should You Use Testimonials When You Create A Web Site?
You've probably seen web sites with testimonials - they can add legitimacy. But sometimes they are believable, and sometimes they are not. Are testimonials worth the effort?The answer is "Yes" if they are done right.When done correctly, testimonials can help you establish credibility and give you an opportunity to prove the claims about your web site.However, when done incorrectly, testimonials aren't believable and honest, and can cause more harm than good.Here are some ideas on how to use testimonials effectively:1. Do not fake itYour testimonials should be believable. The best way to make them believable is to not make them up...(related: Copywriting)

site-map - Copyright © 2006 | Contact Webmaster | All Rights Reserved. | Copywriting