Advanced Copywriting Techniques: 9 Steps To Powerful Copy
Advanced Copywriting Techniques is for copywriters who have mastered the fundamentals, and who are looking to enhance their current skills and take a quantum leap into the world of top-tier copywriting.
In this overview, we will discuss eight ways to reach the goal of advanced copywriting and one example about how to apply these ways across the broad spectrum of copywriting tasks. The topics we’ll be discussing are:
- The Methodology of Marketing
- How To Eat An Elephant
- How To Write In Thought Bites
- My Headline Methodology
- The Value Proposition
- The Curiosity Factor
- The Specificity Advantage
- The Hook – How To Get It & How To Set It
- How To Write Max Impact Emails & Sales Letters
So, buckle up…you’re in for a whirlwind of information to start you on your way to being a professional-level copywriter.
The Methodology of Copywriting
First, we need to tackle the age old question of whether copywriting is an art – rooted on the creative use of words and images, or a science – rooted in formulas, structure, and discipline. (Hint: it’s both!)
Copywriters and marketers are asked to work through three steps of a four-step process before writing word one.
- Determine the size of the Demand or Desire for products like yours.
- Draw on the Intimate Knowledge of your client (or your) about the product.
- Know Your Market and write your copy accordingly.
- Employ Connectivity and Logical Thought Sequencing
Once you complete this self-examination, your chances of success have increased significantly.
How To Eat An Elephant
In the last section, I mentioned “Logical Thought Sequencing” – so what is that?
The old riddle, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”, moves us to study and master not only what words you write, but in what order they appear. By employing a logical sequence of thoughts and concepts down the page, you will be able to bring your reader to the logical conclusion that, “I’d have to be a raving lunatic NOT to do business with you.”
So, take the time and put in the mental effort to plan the order of your concepts – and address only one concept or thought in each “Thought Bite” you write,
How To Write In Thought Bites
As you plan your attack on that blank page in front of you, please remember one thing – people react adversely when confused (even a little) so do not introduce more than one concept per section (or “Thought Bite”).
Thought Bites are the building blocks of Logical Thought Sequencing (LTS). It is your job as one who understands advanced copywriting techniques, to discipline your writing so you can present the concept in a 3-part Thought Bite.
- Part 1 – The introductory sentence.
- Part 2 – The “Meat” of the concept or thought you want to communicate.
- Part 3 – The “Outro” that moves the reader seamlessly down the page to your next thought bite…connecting your string of Thought Bites into an easy-to-read sequence.
You may have noticed by now, that this entire article is written using the advanced copywriting techniques of Logical Thought Sequencing and Thought Bites.
My Headline Methodology
There have been a million things written about headlines – and I’ve contributed a dozen or so myself.
When starting a piece (webpage, email campaign, ad, letter, report, etc.) and preparing to write a headline/subhead, I first ask myself these “Who-What-Why” questions.
- Who is my ideal reader/listener?
- What is the aim, or purpose, of the piece?
- Why will this piece be of benefit to the reader?
Until I fully answer them, I can’t write my incredibly effective, grab-their-attention, memorable headline – and you probably won’t be able to either.
The Value Proposition
I really should have put the above crosshead into bright, blinking lights; it’s that important.
The Job Of The Marketer is to make the Perceived Value of the offer so far outweigh the cost, that the choice to buy becomes inevitable. The Job Of The Copywriter is to clearly convey that idea to the prospect in three to five seconds. The Value Proposition (in a nutshell is):
- Am I in the RIGHT PLACE? Do I see what I expected to see?
- WHAT is being offered or sold? Is it immediately clear?
- WHY should I buy it? What’s in it for me? Give me your best reason and make it fast!
Follow the arrows and you’ll get more prospects, with more time on site, producing more results.
The Curiosity Factor
People have been curious since time immemorial; and those of us fluent in Advanced Copywriting Techniques, have been tickling that curiosity almost as long.
Recently I looked at the cover of four top-selling magazines. Almost 90% of their promoted articles left you curious as to what was on the inside. Curiosity theory has worked for decades – and not always with just headlines and titles. Include the following (not all, just a FEW) in your headline or subhead and you’ll be on the road to being known as a Curiosity Pro.
- HOW MANY? 1,3,999?
- WHAT? How many What?
- HOW TO… do what?
- WHO? Students, Dentists, Women, Athletes?
- FEEL… What are they feeling or experiencing?
- SUCCESS! The promised Outcome
If you want more prospects tuning in to your podcast, email, website, landing, etc., make’ em a little curious.
The Specificity Advantage
Prospects are turned into customers, not just by any old claim…but by specific claims meaningful to them.
Stop wasting your time and money spouting trite, overused, meaningless and – frankly – unbelievable claims. They only thing they accomplish is lumping you (an honest, knowledgeable copywriter or business owner) with the multitudes of hacks out there saying things that don’t matter. Things like, “Best ____”, “World Famous ____”, “In business since 1991 B.C., “We Do It All”, “5 Star Customer Service”, or “You have a friend in the business”. Sloppy, sloppy thinking.
Tell then in plain, easily understood words and/or images, SPECIFICALLY what you will do to make their lives better.
The Hook – How To Get It & How To Set It
Everyone – okay – virtually everyone who listens to music is familiar with the Hook.
A “Hook” is a memorable word or phrase within your headlines, subheads, crossheads, copy, or all four. Fine…but what makes it memorable to the reader or listener? It’s that undefinable something, that people latch onto – which I shall now define.
- Your hook must be relevant to your product or service.
- Your hook should contain certain word plays, such as
- Triples – a 3-part phrase like “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”, or “Five Buck Book”. People recall groups of three more than any other number.
- Alliterations – Alan Adores Alliterations (get it?)
- Rhymes – “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet”.
- Cadence or Tempo – The beat in your head as your saying it. Say Bounty’s “The Quicker Picker Upper” to yourself ---and you’ll hear the 3 beats. Or Alka Seltzer’s – “Plop-Plop-Fizz-Fizz (Oh What A Relief It Is)” (8 beats).
Now, go and try to create some for your business or client. Let me know how it turns out.
How To Write Max Impact Emails & Sales Letters
Many businesses and non-profits use email marketing campaigns, but only the top-tier writers employ Logical Thought Sequencing and Thought Bites to emails – and that’s too bad.
It’s important to understand the foregoing Advanced Copywriting Techniques (ACT) can help you in everything you create as a copywriter, especially emails. As a test, I recently sent emails to two random groups of 400 prospects. The content of the emails was identical. The only difference was one group was written using the advanced copywriting techniques discuss in this article, while the other was not.
The 400 non- ACT group was opened by 102 recipients (a 25.5% open rate) while the other group was opened by 205 people resulting in an open rate of 51.2%.
What Now For These Advanced Copywriting Techniques?
This overview should help whet your appetite, or even spark your curiosity.
Being an overview, I had to condense 161 pages of my “How-To” guides into some 1400 words. I wrote this article after getting a suggestion from one of my coaching clients. His idea? Put together a package of my best advanced copywriting techniques specifically for people who have the basics and would like to really crank up their skill levels fast but at an affordable price. FYI - you can see all the details at Advanced Copywriting Techniques. I believe this will help succeed, and at a price anyone can afford.
Josh…this is for you buddy. Thanks for the tip.