Copywriting is a fine art that can take years to perfect but here is everything you really need to keep in mind in less than 500 words.
1. It pays to have a bit of a folksy, down-home style to your writing. That’s a very good thing! Using phrases like “chewing the fat” and “that’s a head-smacker” is the exact opposite of corporate-speak so it will resonate with readers. They won’t feel like you’re selling to them.
2. Tell stories rather than trying to make a sales pitch. Make use of humor and the unexpected.
For example, I was at a networking event recently. A few days earlier I’d severely cut my left forefinger. Several people noticed the very obvious bandage and asked about it. I answered by telling a true, but unexpected story of how it happened.
“It was a tragic oatmeal accident.” (Stunned silence.) “Seriously. I was cutting up dried fruit to put in my oatmeal and it fought back. Oatmeal is dangerous stuff. Consequently, I’m not allowed near oatmeal anymore.“
That was as much as I told. The people I was talking to (your readers if you were writing that in a promo) can figure out for themselves what really happened. They may also be left wondering how much truth, if any, is in your story. A little mystery is a good thing for building interest.
3. In situations like that, the truth is unimportant in most instances. The purpose of copywriting is to elicit a response, not to educate or inform. (Though sometimes that’s necessary in order to make the sale.)
4. It’s also important to write to an audience of one. When you are speaking, say mingling at a conference or during happy hour, even if you are telling a story to a small group of eight or ten people, you tell it in a personal way. Not as if you were addressing an impersonal audience of thousands.
Write the same way!
5. It’s a good thing to have a large vocabulary but don’t feel compelled to trot it out for every paragraph you write. No one’s going to consult the dictionary just to understand what you’ve written. They will simply toss it into the ol’ round file instead.
You are not writing to impress. In fact, your writing should be mostly invisible. Like the light switch on the wall.
When you walk into a room, you flick the switch without giving it a second thought. You don’t think about all the parts in that switch or the route the electricity had to take in getting from the power plant to your light bulb. You flick the switch, you get light. End of story. Everything else just fades into the background.
Good copywriting should do the same.
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