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Here are some Basic Copywriting Tips that will help you sell more Copy!

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by contentboss, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. #1
    The more experienced members should feel free to contribute to this thread as often as they like.

    Tip 1: ENGAGE!

    From the title to the last sentence, you should always aim to ENGAGE your audience. You ENGAGE someone by rousing their INTEREST, and KEEPING THEM INTERESTED. No matter how fascinating your material, if you lose them before they hit the payload, YOU LOSE!

    TIP 2: DON'T MAKE ME WORK!

    If it's hard to read, hardly anyone will read it. Sloppy spelling and confused grammar always KILL an article stone dead. How can you write in such a way that you don't make people WORK?

    Tip 2A: KEEP IT SIMPLE!

    People aren't impressed by 70-word sentences full of techno-babble. In fact, the opposite is true. There's no faster way to lose someone than by alluding to quasi-normalistic jargotisation or self-contrivicated non-words which may or may not relevantise their expectorisation. Geddit?!

    Tip 2B: SPELLCHECK!

    Especially if English isn't your first language, for the sake of all the Gods out there, SPELLCHECK before you publish. If you can stretch to it, get a Mac - EVERYTHING you type, be it in a browser, word-processor, email program etc will be highlighted in red if it isn't a proper word. The tip 2A, for example, shows all the made-up words as 'wrong' in my browser. Handy or what?!

    Tip 2C: GRAMMAR!

    Only drunken Irishmen use phrases such as 'If you want to avail of this great offer...'. Note also that the cats do NOT sits on mat. If you have a pro word-processor, it probably has a built-in checker (spellchecker, at least!). If you don't, watch for the BloggerHIgh Wordpress plugin coming soon that 'does it all' for you.

    Tip 3: ... coming soon.
     
    contentboss, Oct 12, 2011 IP
  2. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #2
    TIP 3: LONG IS BORING!

    Keep sentences short and to the point. Too many 'and's, verbs or commas will reduce your potential audience dramatically. This is especially true if you are targeting people who don't have English as their first language. The only exception to this is in certain >ahem< 'adult' themed movies, where longer is apparently definitely better :)

    Jokes aside, the more concise you can make it, the better it will be received.
     
    contentboss, Oct 12, 2011 IP
  3. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Here's two of my biggies that I see so many newbies fall victim to...

    TIP 4: Use Flowery Language and Fancy Metaphors Sparingly

    If you want to write poetry or a novel do so. Copywriting is about explaining a product or service, telling people why they have to have it and convincing them to buy it. Use metaphors to aid in understanding, not to show off your writing abilities.

    TIP 5: Avoid Superlatives that you can't back up

    Proclaiming that you are the number one salesman in the world is simply idiotic. Proclaiming that you are the number one salesman of red widgets in Southern California is both defensible (assuming it's true) and a powerful marketing tool. Things like 'best', 'biggest', 'greatest' and 'revolutionary' when not backed up with facts are likely to cost sales rather than generate them.
     
    YMC, Oct 12, 2011 IP
  4. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #4
    That tip 5 is a killer. Overuse of superlatives seems to trigger an instant 'off switch' in people's minds. Or should I say it's 'the world's greatest killer bar none'.

    Presumably this is because the previous overuse of such words in advertising copy lead to an evolutionary arms race designed to attract attention.

    TIP 6: A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

    It really is, but never forget that a good copywriter is actually 'painting with words'. You're 'painting a picture' that the reader can visualize. This is why examples are so important - one simple example can replace bucketfuls of words because people can visualize it. For example 'A car that only needs refuelling every 10 weeks?!' beats 'New engine widget leads to an incredible 40% efficiency saving in small to mid-sized vehicles'.

    If they can see it in their minds eye, you're halfway to selling it to them.

    TIP 7: ALWAYS BE CLOSING IS ONLY FOR TELESALES.

    People reading your copy are more sophisticated nowadays, so treat them with more respect and don't try to ram your 'offer' down their throats every 3 words.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
    contentboss, Oct 12, 2011 IP
  5. RunningRunners

    RunningRunners Peon

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    #5
    Tip 8: Keep the article short and concise.
     
    RunningRunners, Oct 19, 2011 IP
  6. sweetcrabhoney18

    sweetcrabhoney18 Well-Known Member

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    #6
    Tip 9:

    Always be polite to clients. Saying Hi how are you? Is the best way to introduce yourself and to show that you are a real person. Saying thank you is also important.

    Tip 10:

    Don't assume that the person you are sending a message to is a man. Addressing people by their screen name is better than calling them "Sir" when they are a woman.

    Tip 11:

    Don't spam for work. Instead market yourself effectively and work will come to you. Create amazing samples and building a great website are keys that can lead to clients searching for you.

    Tip 12:

    Pick a niche that you can master and excel at over time. It can be any kind of niche you can think of. Picking a niche can quickly turn you into an expert.

    Tip 13:

    Have a wonderful dictionary and thesaurus always ready for you. Using the same words in a number of articles is a common issue so using a thesaurus can help a ton.

    Tip 14:

    Take your time researching a project that you know nothing about. Instead of just guessing, the content will be a lot better if you take the time to really find out more about the subject.
     
    sweetcrabhoney18, Oct 19, 2011 IP
  7. Mike Inkster

    Mike Inkster Member

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    #7
    Only drunken Irishmen use phrases such as 'If you want to avail of this great offer...'.

    Be careful when you insult the Irish, and the Scots with that statement.
    We are not the only ones that use this phrase, sober or drunk.

    And we are not drunk when we do business.

    Also like another said, non-native people are a lot better at writing english, than many english writers.
     
    Mike Inkster, Oct 22, 2011 IP
  8. geekgoddess

    geekgoddess Member

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    #8
    Tip 15: Keep it short and sweet. Online readers only engage in scrolling down through a very long article if it was able to tickle their interest. However, if you're working on a series of write-ups and would want to keep your audiences engaged, then a short but totally informative article will do (with a length that fits just in front of the screen without the need of scrolling). This will get readers looking for more of your articles and subscribe to your upcoming posts.
     
    geekgoddess, Oct 23, 2011 IP
  9. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #9
    Why? What are you going to do? Come round my house and drink all my beer?
     
    contentboss, Oct 23, 2011 IP
  10. RedHelper

    RedHelper Peon

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    #10
    Well, i'm not a native, and it's going to be a big problem, when it comes to launching my site in English. Usually i do NOT make any mistakes in spelling, but sometimes not everything is OK with grammar. And writing a good promoting text is pain for my brain, however, in my own language i cope with this well. I still can add some more to the topic.

    # Neither offer too many choices, nor too little. People too lazy to check all the genious variants you have, but they're getting annoyed if there's no choice at all.

    # Make simple usability tests - at least, ask your users\colleagues\friends, if they easily can do things you require them to do on the site( e.g. make a purchase or so). Make sure, that your texts help to reach this goal.

    # Discuss your texts with others. If you are sure that you're a brilliant copywriter, your users may have other opinion.
     
    RedHelper, Oct 24, 2011 IP
  11. pex7

    pex7 Peon

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    #11
    Definitely avoid keyword stuffing. I have read articles that do not flow at all because of how much they overuse keywords. Keep it natural.
     
    pex7, Nov 16, 2011 IP
  12. seriousbsnz

    seriousbsnz Peon

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    #12
    These are good tips and i agree on every one. However there is a lot more to copy writing and a couple of good books i would suggest is scientific advertising and adweek:a guide to copywriting
     
    seriousbsnz, Nov 16, 2011 IP
  13. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #13
    Good point. You also never pass Google if you keyword stuff.
     
    contentboss, Nov 17, 2011 IP
  14. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #14
    Trying to get your post count up in this way will get you banned.
     
    contentboss, Nov 21, 2011 IP
  15. simon101

    simon101 Peon

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    #15
    There‘s some solid advice in this thread. I’d like to add something I learned some years back which I think is a terrific insight into writing (or critiquing) copy. It is simply to ask yourself this question:

    What is the main emotion that this copy is aiming to tap into?

    All products are aimed at fulfilling human needs/desires of some kind - and this need will usually boil down to one or more basic emotions, such as:

    Greed (which isn‘t as derogatory as it sounds - it‘s simply the desire for more rather than less)

    Fear/desire for security.

    Desire to love/be loved.

    Pride/vanity.

    Laziness/desire for instant gratification.

    Wanting to belong.

    So an investment product, for example, trumpeting it’s claims of big returns, would obviously be appealing to greed. A belly-flattening exerciser on the other hand, would be appealing to vanity - the desire to look fit and trim.

    Top-notch copy will usually tap into several of these basic emotions, but it will usually focus on one main emotion that the writer will weave like a thread throughout the sales piece - and in so doing trigger an almost irresistible desire on the part of the prospect to pull out the plastic and BUY NOW.

    It’s quite an eye-opener to look at the copy you see online or get in the mail; try figuring out what emotions the writer is trying to tap into - and especially the MAIN emotion that is being targeted.

    Even if you don’t want to write your own, analysing sales copy can only make you a better, more savvy marketer (and give you a clearer insight into human nature and the art of persuasion to boot).
     
    simon101, Nov 21, 2011 IP
  16. MagicMonkey

    MagicMonkey Member

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    #16
    @Simon 101 This gives us anoher good insight tip;

    Tip 20 : Don't be an emotiional bully.

    Clever sales text is a neccessity in most of the content we write but there is a fine line between writing emotional triggers and being an emotional bully. Playing too much on people's emotional triggers has 3 real problems. Firstly; a lot more people are savvy to it than you might think. Secondly; you can often end up sounding like you are putting your readers down rather than lifting them up and.... Thirdly; emotional trigger led sales text makes you into a door to door salesman which is not a recipe for long term client success in my book.

    So the moral is - use emotional triggers but carefully and selectively whilst focusing more on the solution than the problems.
     
    MagicMonkey, Nov 22, 2011 IP
    YMC likes this.
  17. simon101

    simon101 Peon

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    #17
    Yes, there is a danger when selling certain products of laying it on too thick (whipping up a sense of fear when promoting a self-defence product, for example). A good copywriter will have respect for his prospect, and take his problems seriously.

    That said, emotions are a copywriter’s stock in trade. People buy for emotional reasons, they then justify their purchases with reason and logic. A copywriter should always provide good logical reasons for his prospect to justify his purchase to himself (a solid guarantee, for example), but his main focus should always be on the key emotions that underlie his prospect‘s predicament.
     
    simon101, Nov 22, 2011 IP
  18. condra

    condra Member

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    #18
    Just finished reading everything on this thread. Great collection of tips.

    I think the 2C tip was a bit understated.
    I've lost count of the amount of times I've cringed, reading phrases like "if you want to avail of this great offer", or "I'm sure you'll agree, this is a sensational product"...

    People need to know when to be subtle.
     
    condra, Nov 22, 2011 IP
  19. Bananaprod

    Bananaprod Peon

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    #19
    I agree that it is important to SPELLCHECK, but more than that, read your copy a few more times to be sure it's good to go as spellcheck may overlook some mistakes, ie. it's vs its, their vs they're. Also, take a break between writing and reviewing your copy - don't do it immediately after the other.
     
    Bananaprod, Dec 8, 2011 IP
  20. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #20
    That's sound advice (no pun intended). If you read it out aloud and it sounds OK, it probably is.
     
    contentboss, Dec 9, 2011 IP