Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
I hate to be “that guy,” but most music that gets played on the radio makes me want to repeatedly shove pointy objects in my ears until I can no longer be subjected to the garbage polluting the airwaves. However, despite how much I disdain pop music, I have to admit one thing: copywriters can learn quite a bit from it.
What am I talking about? Here are a few lessons pop music can teach us as writers.
- Have a hook—The best pop songs have a strong hook that gets stuck in your head for days. I go to these fitness boot camp classes, and of course, they play horrible pop songs. Even worse, these songs get stuck in my head for days, and nothing can be done to scrub them away. Recently, I’ve had some song stuck in my head that has the refrain “I’m glad you came.” I have no idea who the artist is, but what I do know is that they have a simple, memorable hook.
Copywriters should strive for the same. If you want to suck readers in, get their attention, and make sure they never forget about the product or service you’re pitching, you need to have a clear, strong hook in your copy. Make your words memorable.
- Keep it simple—You don’t hear a lot of 4-syllable, SAT words in pop music. No, for the most part, the language is simple enough that a child can understand it. Sure, there might be some clever wordplay and double entendres, but the words are simple and clear.
Take the same approach with your copywriting. Just because you have a huge vocabulary doesn’t mean you should use it. Ditch the corporate jargon and buzzwords in favor of simple, easy-to-understand language.
- Connect with your audience—Music has the power to move people. One of the biggest reasons a song goes popular is because listeners can relate to it on some personal level. Whether the song is about love, heartbreak, or just getting drunk and having a good time, it forges a personal connection with the listener.
Your copy should connect with readers in a similar manner. You need to show them that you understand their pain points and have a product that provides benefits they care about. The better you understand your customer, the more effective your marketing efforts will be.
What are some other things copywriters can learn from pop music? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Want to instantly improve your sales copy? Whether you’re writing a landing page or an email, here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself before you write a single word of sales copy.
- What am I selling? No, I’m not just talking about the name of the product or service you’re selling. I’m talking about what you’re selling on an emotional level. How does your product benefit the customer? What does it make them feel? Are you selling happiness? Self-confidence? Comfort? Pride? Safety? Buying is an emotional decision, so you need to understand what you’re really selling.
- Who am I selling it to? Who do you think you’d have an easier time trying to persuade: someone you’ve never met and that you know nothing about or someone who you know every single detail about them, from the way they think to their likes and dislikes? The better you know your target audience, the more precisely you can tailor your sales copy, allowing you to connect with the reader more effectively. Check out this post I wrote about defining your target audience.
- What objections might the reader have? It’s rare that someone instantly decides to buy something without having at least some initial doubts. Consumers are more skeptical than ever before. They have their objections…those things that cause them to hesitate when considering making a purchase. It’s your job to anticipate these objections and to address them head on in your sales copy, so you can turn every “no” into a “yes.”
- What questions might the reader have? I don’t know about you, but before I make almost any purchase, I have some questions that I need answered. It could be a question about which features the product has, or it might be about the company’s money-back guarantee. You need to do your best to address any questions customer might have about your products, because questions can lead to second thoughts about doing business with you.
- What do I want the reader to do? This is the most important question you can ask. If you don’t motivate your readers to take action, your sales copy serves no purpose. It’s just a waste of words. You have to figure out where the customer is at in the buying cycle and tailor your sales copy accordingly. If they’re still researching the products, you may just wish to have them contact you for more information. If they’re at the point that they’re considering making a purchase, the next logical step would be to encourage them to place an order now. Figure out what you want the reader to do, and tell them to do so as clearly as possible.
Are there any other questions you like to ask before writing sales copy?
Friday, July 1st, 2011
In most cases, if you want to sell something, you’ll need to write up some compelling sales copy for the prospect to read. Whether it’s a landing page or a direct mail sales letter, there are certain steps you can follow that will help you create copy that’s focused, effective, and error-free.
- Create a plan—Before I start writing, I like to have an idea of where the piece is headed. I don’t create overly-detailed outlines, but I do like to make a list of things that will help me stay focused and on track, such as identifying the main problem, outlining a solution, addressing objections, making an offer, and having a strong call to action.
- Let the writing flow—I like to crank out the initial rough draft for the copy in one sitting. I find that my copy flows better when I write it all at once, rather than taking breaks and putting it together piece by piece. This allows me to get into a zone, and often times, new ideas will pop up as I write.
- Leave your copy alone for a day or so—Never finalize copy that you just wrote. You need to step away from it for at least a day so that you can come back and look at it with a fresh set of eyes. I promise you’ll see mistakes that you didn’t notice before.
- Edit for maximum impact—When you come back to edit your copy, don’t worry about grammar and typos just yet. The most important thing is the effectiveness of the sales message. Is it clear? Does it really speak to the reader’s problems? Does it answer their questions? Is any critical information missing or have you included things that don’t need to be there?
- Proof for errors—After you’ve fine-tuned the sales message, now you can proofread your copy for errors. Check out these 5 tips for proofreading your copy more effectively.
What’s your writing process? Share it with me by leaving a comment.
Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
You can have all the right words. And they can be laid out in the best possible way. But just because the words are correct and the copy looks great, doesn’t mean it flows properly and funnels readers toward conversion.
Flow is an important, but often overlooked, part of effective sales copywriting. Great flow creates a conversational feel, and it transitions logically from one point to the next.
Want to make sure your copy has proper flow? Here are 6 tips for making it happen.
- Write the way you talk—Why is it that when people start writing they immediately change their voice, getting all formal and rigid? They completely strip away their personality and go into term paper, corporate communications writing style. It’s boring, and readers don’t get engaged by it. Just be yourself. Write the way you talk so your copy will flow like a real dialogue.
- Read it aloud—There really is a big difference between reading the copy silently on your computer screen and printing it out to read aloud. When you read aloud, you get a true feel for the flow of your copy. You can easily identify clunky passages and awkward transitions.
- Have your friends read it aloud—Of course, as the writer of the copy, you may be able to read it more smoothly than a new reader. To see how customers will be reading the copy, try asking a few of your friends to read the copy aloud. They will have a fresh approach, so pay attention to any parts of your copy they struggle with as those could be troublesome spots that demand extra attention.
- Let your copy breathe for 24 hours—Here’s a trick I’ve picked up over the years. After you write your copy, step away from it for a day. This break allows you to come back to the copy with a totally fresh approach, and you’ll probably find that you see new things you didn’t notice before.
- Proof for different things—It’s hard to try to tackle everything all at once. Try going through your copy a few different times. One time, you could read through it for grammatical mistakes. Another time, you can go through to make sure there aren’t any poor transitions or illogical progressions.
- Read it slower—Be tedious. Go through your copy slowly and meticulously. Force yourself to read it at a slower pace so you can catch every little detail to make sure it flows properly.
What are some of your tricks for making your copy flow better?
Friday, April 23rd, 2010
As you may already know, I am doing a multiple post series on how to research keywords without buying software. If you haven’t already read the first post, then I recommend doing so. After you read it, I encourage you to stay tuned for the second post in the series coming up in the next few days. In the mean time, I want to offer some advice and guidance on building blogs and websites for profit.
Before I begin, I want to be clear about something. There are multiple reasons why people do keyword research. And as mentioned in my first post, the reason why I do keyword research is so that I can successfully build profitable sites that earn money. So, providing you with tips on building websites for profit go hand in hand with my multiple post series. In other words, it’s kind of pointless to learn how to research keywords unless you can successfully build sites off the topics you have researched.
That said, I have done quite a bit of digging in the SEO Hosting blog archives, and I have come up with a list of articles that will teach you some vitally important skills that you’ll need to learn if you want to be successful with building websites for profit. I have broken them down into two categories: Web Design Tips and Copywriting Tips. It’s important to understand that lacking strong skills in both web design and copywriting negates the whole purpose behind researching keywords.
Years ago, people were able to profit from building low quality sites. However, that is not the case today with the increased levels of competition and new sites being launched, as well as the constant adjustments search engines make towards fighting spam and controlling quality. Below are references to 16 articles previously published on the SEO Hosting blog that will provide you with concrete tips with copywriting and web design.
Copywriting Tips – The content you create has a huge impact on the overall success of your site. Writing the content can be tricky because it has to be written in a way that captures the attention of people, keeps them on the page, and delivers what is expected. It also has to be optimized so that the page can appear in search engines above other competing sites the cover the same topics.
- The Importance of Research in the Copywriting Process
- Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Content
- How to Write Better Headlines
- How to Improve Your Headlines Instantly
- Tips for Using Bullet Points in Your Copy
- 23 Copywriting Rules To Live By
- How to Make Sure You Aren’t Keyword Stuffing
- 5 Simple Tips for Proofreading Your Copy
Web Design Tips – Just like the content you create, your web design also plays an active role towards the success of your site. The inner workings of a properly coded website fortify the optimizations made to the content you create. It also captures the attention of people with the use of appealing colors, graphics, and styles.
- The Anatomy of a Website: Which Pages Should Be on Your Website?
- How To Be a Successful Web Designer
- 5 Tips for Overcoming Web Designer’s Block
- Tell-Tale Signs Your Homepage Sucks
- Don’t Let These 8 Web Design Mistakes Kill Your Website
- 23 Web Design Rules to Follow
- How To Increase The Performance of Your Website
- 8 Essential Website Maintenance Tasks
I believe that if you are serious about learning how to research keywords, then you will have a strong interest in developing, enhancing, or strengthening your copywriting and web design skills. I encourage you to read the articles referenced above. They will provide you with the highest level of advice and guidance.
Additionally, I invite you to ask questions and voice your concerns with past experiences. And lastly, I want to remind you to stay tuned, because in the next day or so I will publish my second article in the multiple post series that teaches you how to research keywords without buying software.