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:
With this in mind. Let us proceed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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“Know Your Audience”
“They” say Content is King and it may well be true. As a Master Copywriter with over 35 years in the trenches, I’d like to modify this adage to, “Great Content Writing is King”. I make this change because – especially in the last few years – I have read lots of mediocre content and some God-awful samples of content writing.
Please take these content writing tips in the spirit they are given – to help Wannabe Better Writers and Business Owners succeed in their businesses or careers. God Bless all writers for without them where would we be?
Most folks start doing Content Writing as a way of reaching out to engage with their selected audience.
If you’re a dog owner, dog lover, and/or professional dog groomer, you will want to connect with like persons through the internet. So, you set up a website or blog and start filling it with content to… what? I hope your answer is “to help”. Use your expertise to help your readers with what most interests them most – in this case, the welfare of their pet.
We will start with talking about how to approach content writing to help, and then move on to discuss how to do content writing so it gathers for you, loyal readers (and new friends).
The first step is the sharing of relevant, significant information. Information that many in your audience may not have.
Your job as a content writer is to present that information in a clear, concise, and conversational way, as if you were having a discussion while sitting across your kitchen table from a friend. This is not (if you’re in business) a time for selling…it’s a time for helping.
For a more in depth look at this subject, see my article, “The 3 C’s of Copywriting”.
While you inform, there is time to educate. The difference between supplying information and helping to educate the reader is the ability for application.
Remember, you are the expert, the teacher. You must be able to find an easy, simple way to help your readers take the information you’ve given and apply it in their personal situations. Let’s go back to the case of a dog groomer; readers probably will not have access to the same equipment that professionals do. Keeping in mind that good content writing requires you to give them acceptable workarounds as well as suggesting basic equipment they could get for themselves that would make their job easier. (Also see my article, “Continually Educate Your Customers And Prospects”)
Now we come to how content writing can be used to influence (not a bad word).
I’m expecting that your motives are honorable. The vast, vast majority of content writers I know fit this bill. I know you fit it as well.
With that “caution” out of the way, you – as an expert – are in a unique position to help your readers by pointing (or influencing them) in the right direction. You want to help them make the best decisions and take the best actions for them. And although this is where you can begin to talk a little about what you do and how you help others…please keep it to a minimum. (also see Tip #9)
As a content writer, I happily give away over 180 different articles, guides, videos, and audios that will help my readers and friends do a better job of writing and succeeding.
This is the area where many of the poor content writing exists.
Writers that simply spout off about their ideas, techniques, and/or preferences, too often fail to validate their statements with:
It’s somewhat like giving the reader a “second-opinion” to buttress – or reinforce – your claims.
You probably noticed the links in sections two and three; these are helpful “giveaways” the reader can use to get more information.
If you are serious about content writing, it is, once again, your job to help readers make the best decision for them, not you. And if you are in business in your area of expertise (as I am) you should view your content writing as a “contribution” to the general welfare of your clients and prospects.
It’s not about YOU, it’s about your CLIENTS.
Look, we all have egos…if we’re good at what we do we all can become arrogant at times.
BUT, it is important we keep these traits out of our content. Why? Because our content writing is a giveaway designed to help our readers. To test your writing, do this:
Remember, It’s not about YOU, it’s about your CLIENTS.
I would suggest this formula for all your Content Writing and giveaways.
Follow these suggestions and many of your readers, customers, and friends, will come to the conclusion that they’d have to be a raving lunatic not to consider doing business with you when the time comes.
[NOTE: In this article, the number of third-party words is 11, and the number of first-party words is 59. The percentage of I, me, and my is 15.7%, well in the acceptable range.
Most content writers want nothing more than to engage with their audience.
Engagement, however, includes a means of communication with them outside the content channel. The best (and least expensive) way of doing that is to “capture” the first name and email address of as many of your readers as you can.