Direct Response Copywriter

A 4-letter word that gets you out of legal “hot water”

CarlineA 4-letter word that gets you
out of legal “hot water”

 

Hiya CopyStar,

If this hasn’t happened to you yet — I promise you, it will…

… You write kick butt copy — in fact it’s the best stuff you’ve EVER written. You just know it’s going to BLOW THE ROOF off the results for your client and guarantee you a slam dunk, home run control!

You polish off the copy, make last minute edits — dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s — then you hit the send button and deliver it to your client.

Then you wait.

A few days (ok, sometimes WEEKS) later, you get an email from your client saying, “We’ve received your copy back from our legal department and attached are the changes.”

You open the file and there’s a sea of red lines running through your perfectly positioned prose, and then you read comments such as “not compliant”. Or even worse…

Your copy is completely REWRITTEN by the legal department! Factual, yeah. Compliant, yeah. But the copy SUCKS!

Like I said, if it hasn’t happened to you yet – your days are numbered. But fortunately, I’m going to share with you how I handle the delicate balance of writing copy to make the sale and staying compliant so you or your client won’t end up on the FDA, FTC or any other “Big Brother’s” hit list!

Ready?

Here we go…

First of all: Don’t take it personal. The legal department is not your enemy. You’re actually on the same team: Your client’s!

You got hired to write killer copy. The legal eagle got hired to stay within the guidelines of the ever-changing laws. Somewhere in the middle is Utopia you seek.

So the legal department isn’t the bad guy — even though you’re going to feel like they’re trying to put you in the poor house when they strip away your phenomenal — and sometimes over-the-top promises in your copy.

When you start a relationship with a new client — make sure you understand his legal comfort level

Not all clients are alike. Some have rigid guidelines, others are more lax. Your job is to understand your boundaries and PUSH IT to the limit!

A few of my clients give me a list of “no no’s”: words I absolutely can’t say in my copy… promises they’re not comfortable making… or euphemisms to replace actual disease names.

Here’s what I do: I print out the list — and then I IGNORE it until AFTER I’ve written my copy! Why?

Because if I read it in advance, I experience “deer in the headlight” syndrome. Those “no no’s” keep popping in my head and all I can see and stare at is what I CAN’T say!

That really screws up with my creativity. So, I write my copy the way I want — and when I’m done, I’ll review the “no no” list and make necessary changes.

Right now, you’re probably wondering: “Hey Carline, what if I write my entire package and then find out all the good stuff I’ve written is on the “no no” list?” My reply:

Don’t be a dumbo!

If you don’t have a grip on your market and already have an idea about what you can or can’t say — then go ahead and read the list FIRST. But if you’re in your niche and really know your market — you won’t have that problem.

For example, I’m not going to write a promotion using the theme of how a nutritional supplement cures cancer.

Cancer claims are a major RED FLAG in my niche and I know to avoid it. So instinctively, I won’t go that route.

But I will use the word “cancer” in my initial draft and then later change “cancer” — usually a “no no” word for most of my clients — to an approved euphemism when I finalize the copy. Get my drift?

Right now in the health market, you can’t make disease claims — so here are a few of the generally accepted and approved euphemisms. But keep in mind — this list can change at the drop of a hat:

• Alzheimer’s Disease → Age-related memory loss
• Arthritis → Joint stiffness
• Cancer → Abnormal cell growth
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome → Low energy
• Diabetes → Blood sugar imbalances
• Heart attack → Heart problems
• High blood pressure → Blood pressure imbalance
• High cholesterol → Cholesterol problems
• Osteoporosis → Bone loss
• Stroke → Brain attacks

Second of all: Don’t roll over and take the legal changes. Put your big boy pants on and stand up for your copy!

Getting changes from the legal department can feel intimidating. After all, you don’t want to get your client (or yourself) in a legal mess. And words like “non-compliant” or “challengeable in a court of law” can make you antsy. But there are ways to make your copy compliant without the legal department deleting, rewriting or ripping it to shreds!

In fact, I tell my clients this:

“I won’t give your lawyers legal advice if they don’t give me copywriting advice.” In other words…

I ask the client to have the legal department highlight problematic areas in my copy and feel free to make suggestions. But DO NOT make changes to my copy!

I’ll take the time to revise the copy to make it compliant. That way I maintain control over my copy! Here’s a real life example…

… Left to the legal department, the following copy would’ve been stamped “non-compliant” and deleted:

Discover how this 1,000-year-old
Japanese “cheese” can…

Dissolve dangerous blood clots FAST! Study shows clots start to thin in just 2 hours!
Boost blood circulation! Put an end to unsightly varicose veins!
Help prevent painful hemorrhoids and varicose veins! Boosts vein health and encourages healthy blood flow!
Clean out toxins from your blood! Reduces dangerous fibrin that clog up arteries!
Improve blood pressure fast! Regulates blood flow –and keeps blood thin and healthy!
Eliminate joint and muscle aches! Bend… flex… and point without out pain!
Boost energy levels to new heights! Infuses oxygen-rich blood to every part of your body!
Keep you mentally sharp! Put an end to foggy thinking… “senior moments”… and even memory loss!
Keep fingers and toes warm! Boosts healthy blood circulation throughout your entire body!
Avoid heart, brain and lung disaster! Maximum protection — yet completely safe and natural!
And much more!

But this is some good stuff — and the copy is critical to setting up my sales message. So my client informed me of the problem — and I fixed it with just one 4-letter word!

In fact, this 4-letter word is a godsend to keeping you out of legal “hot water”. Did you figure out what the word is yet?

It’s “help”!

You see, my bullets were making over-the-top claims for the product. But by prefacing the bullets with the word “help” — my claims now become compliant and actually even MORE believable! Now look at the final product:

Discover how this 1,000-year-old
Japanese “cheese” can help you…

Dissolve dangerous blood clots FAST! Study shows clots start to thin in just 2 hours!
Boost blood circulation! Put an end to unsightly varicose veins!
Prevent painful hemorrhoids and varicose veins! Boosts vein health and encourages healthy blood flow!
Clean out toxins from your blood! Reduces dangerous fibrin that clog up arteries!
Improve blood pressure fast! Helps regulate blood flow — and keeps blood thin and healthy!
Eliminate joint and muscle aches! Bend… flex… and point without out pain!
Boost energy levels to new heights! Infuses oxygen-rich blood to every part of your body!
Keep you mentally sharp! Put an end to foggy thinking… “senior moments”… and even memory loss!
Keep fingers and toes warm! Boosts healthy blood circulation throughout your entire body!
Avoid heart, brain and lung disaster! Maximum protection — yet completely safe and natural!
And much more!

That’s it! That’s all I had to do to satisfy compliance! Phew!

That was a huge lesson learned for me — and I hope it can help you too!

I used to think “help” was a weak word — but the truth is, in this skeptical market, “help” is probably one of the strongest words you can use in your copy! For example, which would you really believe on a gut level:

Are you ready to discover a phenomenal nutrient that can put an end to your health problems?

Or

Are you ready to discover a phenomenal nutrient that can help put an end to many of your health problems?

Come on, can one nutrient REALLY put an end to ALL of your problems? By qualifying your big claim with help — you can bypass your prospect’s “B.S” meter and get him to believe your more realistic promise.

So when you need to stay on the right side of the law — and even boost your credibility — put the power of “help” to work for you!

Yours for stellar results,

carline

Carline Anglade-Cole
Carlinecole.com

 

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