13 Copywriting Tips & Tricks from the Pro
I am happy to provide you with these 13 Copywriting Tips & Tricks taken from my 35+ years as a Master Copywriter and now Head Madman at Write Like A Madman University.
I think it’s helpful to segment these copywriting tips into four categories:
- The View From 30,000 Feet
- Headlines and Such
- Cautionary Technical Copywriting Tips
With this in mind. Let us proceed.
The View From 30,000 Feet
In this section, we’ll concentrate on those tips and tricks related to the overall mindset and goals of the copywriter.
1 Copywriters Educate, Inform, and Influence
Your main focus as a copywriter is to educate your customers and prospects. When done correctly, this leads to an increase in trust…and remember, people buy from people they like and trust. Get yourself into the mind of your reader and stay there. It’s not about you. It’s about your customer. (Also see my article, “I Am A Copywriter”)
2 Be Believable
Copywriting legend (and Original Madman) Bill Bernbach stated “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth. So don’t fudge, don’t obfuscate, don’t misrepresent, and don’t lie. It doesn’t do you or your client any good. (Also see my article, “Copywriters: Be Believable Or Be Gone”)
3 Tell a Good Story
People like stories and respond to them well. Your story can be as short as one sentence or as long as your arm, as long as it is personal, interesting, and true. (Also see my article, “How To Sell With A Story”)
4 Write Like Your Customers Speak
Listen, I don’t care how educated you are, or are not. Why? Because your job is to write in the voice of your ideal reader. What words and phrases do they use? How “perfect” is their grammar? Do they occasionally speak in industry “jargon”? If so --- copy them.
Headlines and Such
The copywriting tips in this section deal with the part of your copy that gets read the most – Headlines, Sub-Heads, and Crossheads. Most people skim websites, articles, emails, or ads first to determine whether they want to read the whole thing. By having good, attracting headlines, even the 80% who don’t read your whole piece will read the most important parts. You will have gotten into, at least, one slice of their brain.
The ad for your ad. This is the most critical element of your piece, so take the time and care to write it right. In Write Like A Madman University, we devote an entire toolbox and portions of four courses, to headlines.
Most headlines have a sub-head “attached”. The job of the Sub-Head is to add facts to the headline that increase the chances of the prospect reading the body copy.
This copywriting tip concern one of the most neglected elements of writing strategy: how to keep the reader reading. Crossheads introduce the next concept to the reader. Crossheads are used in websites, emails, ads, and reports when you don’t want to risk the reader’s eyes and attention waning so they may stop reading. Look at the words Headlines, Sub-Heads, and Crossheads, above. They are perfect examples of a crosshead used in longer copy.
Wordsmithing Copywriting Tips
The copywriting Tips and Tricks we’ll discuss here are used to make an impression and awaken the mind of your reader. Additionally, they serve to make your writing more memorable…and that’s something that’s very important to the copywriter and his or her client.
8 Triples (or the Power of Three)
I don’t know precisely why people recall things better in groups of three than any other grouping. Think of all the “Triples” you’ve heard and may remember.
- “Snap, Crackle and Pop” (Rice Krispies)
- “The Few. The Proud. The Marines”. (USMC)
- “Just Do It” (Nike)
- “Complete – Easy – Effective” (Write Like A Madman University)
Why were there 3 Stooges? Why did Donald Duck have 3 nephews? Why did Daisy Duck have 3 nieces? And Popeye, 3 nephews?
Next in the line of memorability after Triples, comes doubles…two words or short phrase.
Double-Ups are a Copywriter tip to exponentially increase the power of one word by adding a second word with the same meaning. Which of the following sentences (for American Express) sounds more powerful, confident, and trustworthy to you?
“When it absolutely has to be there overnight.” -or-
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
10 Alan Adores Alliterations
Alliterations are a group of words starting with the same sound. “Genuinely Great Grapefruit”, etc etc etc.
Cautionary Technical Copywriting Tips
Our first ten Copywriting Tips and Tricks were all positives. Do this…and you’ll succeed. Now, I come to the part of this article where I must caution you NOT to do something or three.
11 Eradicate Polysyllabicism Immediately
How about this crosshead title?!? I use it to make my first caution. DO NOT use long 5, 6, 7 or more syllable words – unless they’re generally understood (like Delicatessen). DO NOT use unusual words whose meaning are not generally understood words by your target readership – unless you’re using it for memorability or emphasis – and the exact meaning is not important. Examples: would be “rigamarole”, ‘Huckleberryfinn-sh”, or “gobbledygook”.
12 Watch Your Margins
On a piece of paper, this warning would not be necessary…but…since much of the copywriter’s work goes on to the internet, websites, emails, etc. the margins become something to consider. Most readers generally learn to read from, newspapers, magazines, and books. Newspaper and magazine columns contain 30-45 characters, books average about 50-60. Why then, do people put lines of type (copy) on their websites from one side to the other…sometimes 80, 90, 100 or more characters. People and their eyes are not used to reading lines that long. And when they tire, they stop reading – and you are the loser.
So, move the margins in, or increase the size of the font until you have no more than 60-75 characters per line.
13 THIS SENTENCE IS A NO-NO FOR COPYWRITERS
Ditch ALL CAPS for most writing. Caps are great for emphasis (see preceding sentence) or for SHORT Headlines. Otherwise forget it. ALL CAPS are harder to read than the traditional mixed upper case-lower case sentences. If you want to keep your readers reading, lose the “all caps”.
Well, my friends, that’s all lucky 13 Copywriting Tips. Nothing earthshaking; nothing startling. But good, solid, tried-and-true advice for emerging writers and reminders for us “experienced” practitioners of this wonderful art/science of copywriting.
Want To Know The Secrets Of The World’s Best Copywriters?
Many budding copywriters and business owners need help in crafting branding statements, advertising, online web copywriting and content, press releases and the like. I encourage you to find a good branding strategy consultant/professional copywriter who can take what’s in your heart and your head and put it in a way that will let you reach your goal of educating your prospects, allowing them to conclude they would have to be raving lunatics if they didn’t do business with you. If you're looking for a good online digital copywriting course, kindly check out Write Like A Madman And Make Money Like Crazy, my 13-Video, 30-piece multi-media Signature Course. I invite you to sit in on video Session 1, just to get a feel of it.
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