10 Copywriting ACTION TIPS to BOOST your success!
I’ve been working with a few junior writers lately — and I’m starting to pull my hair out! Why?
Because I keep repeating myself! Telling these folks the SAME thing! Seems like they all keep making the SAME mistakes. Sooo…
… I wondered…
… hmmm… maybe YOU — my CopyStar reader — are falling in the same copy traps too?
So — I’m going to share with you the tips I’ve been saying OVER and OVER to my junior writers — to help YOU kick your writing into high gear — and create winning controls!
Here they are…
1. Don’t skimp on the research! REPEAT. Don’t skimp on research! This is the MOST critical step of the writing process. You’ve got to know what you’re talking about! You’ve got to become an EXPERT in your product. And you’ve got to explain the benefits so that they make sense to a 3rd grader! So, DON’T skimp on the research!
I’ll get hundreds of pages of copy, background info and research from my clients. And I READ THEM ALL. Why? Because you never know where you’ll find your headline and theme! Just one sentence can spark new ideas and directions for your promo. If the client doesn’t give you enough background info — DIG it up yourself! In case I didn’t make myself clear: DON’T SKIMP on the research!
2. Create your personal “focus group”. The beauty of getting older is that now, I AM my market! But that wasn’t the case when I first started out in this biz almost 20 years ago.
If you don’t understand a health problem intimately — then TAP INTO the knowledge of those who do! For example, If I’m working on a prostate or male impotency product — I realize I’m not the market!
So, I talk to my guy friends who are willing to share their experiences with me. I listen very carefully to write what they say. And I use their words and emotions. (I also promise to keep their identities confidential — so I call them all “John”). I’ve gotten a lot of winners in this category — just by writing about what my friends tell me! If you don’t have friends — GET SOME!
3. Always have more than ONE headline ready! Even if the client says he’s only giving you one test panel — make sure to have several alternative headlines. It never fails that the ONE headline I LOVE the most — is the one that performs the worst! And the headline I’m not thrilled about — becomes the kick-butt winner!
Remember: Your job is not to come up with the winning headline. It’s to give your readers options — so they choose which one to buy! And it doesn’t matter which headline works best — you’re still the winner cuz the royalty checks come to Y.O.U! So make it a habit to provide 2…3…5…or more headlines for every project!
4. Create hundreds of KILLER bullets! Then — spread them throughout the promo to keep your copy from feeling too dense and heavy. Bullets give your copy momentum. Bullets make reading easy. Bullets help you hone in on your benefits. Bullets grab “skimmers” who don’t want to sit down and read your entire package from cover to cover. Here’s a quick way to write a bullet:
Create a mini headline. Then have the next sentence support the promise you made or enhance a benefit. Here are a few samples of bullets from a current, kick-butt control…
• The heart attack that didn’t happen A “little voice” saved Julie’s life — and “Miracle K” cleared her arteries!
• The blood clot that mysteriously vanished A smelly cheese in Dr. Sumi’s lunch dropped in a petri dish —and POOF — a blood clot dissolved right before his eyes!
• The dying heart that came back to life. A shocking ‘spark’ ignited energy in Jack’s heart. Now this 70-year-old is acting like a kid again!
5. Select sidebar themes that resonate with your market! Sidebars are a great way to highlight one of the benefits of your product. Choose quotes from experts…pick out an individual ingredient in the product formula…find a great clinical research study that gives credibility to your product.
I LOVE sidebars. I have personally purchased a product just from reading a sidebar — and nothing else! I think many folks are like me. So I make it a point to sprinkle LOTS of sidebars throughout my copy! Make sure to vary the length and size of sidebars to keep the promo looking interesting.
6. Don’t be afraid to ASK! Don’t assume anything. In your kick-off meeting with your client, ASK questions. Who is your prospect? What’s the burning desire the product can fulfill? What’s the offer? How many premiums can I create? Are you open to price testing? How many headlines will you test? What’s the deadline? Ask away!
And don’t be afraid to make suggestions and offer alternatives to the company’s “norms”. For example — when I worked on the Oprah promotion — I was told the premium (free gift) was an Oprah tote because “that’s what we always offer”. I suggested adding special reports to the mix. I explained the perceived value of all those FREE gifts for the subscriber. The client had never tried it before — but agreed to it!
7. Work as a TEAM. Have a kick-off meeting with the client so everyone knows what’s expected. Keep your designer in the loop. Recognize that you don’t know everything. And tap into the strengths of others. For example, I am NOT a designer. I don’t try to be one. But, when I’m writing copy — I have ideas of how I want a spread to look. So, I just jot down those ideas as suggestions for the designer. Then we talk about it. More than half the time — I end up liking the designer’s idea better than my own! And that’s OK.
Remember this: Great copy can suck with a bad design. And mediocre copy can shine with great design! So make sure to work as a team — and leave egos at the door!
8. Be willing to accept crits and make changes to the copy — but don’t roll over and play dead! Remain in control of the entire copywriting process. If you disagree with a suggested change — make it known — and explain your reason!
Before my copy goes through the legal process, I tell my client: I won’t tell the lawyers how to plead a case — so I don’t want them telling me how to write copy! Ask for the legal beagles to note problematic areas in the copy — and you — the copywriter — will make any edits to fix the problem! For example…
Once, the legal team deleted 3 whole pages of my copy because I said the product “fights inflammation”. THREE whole PAGES, can you believe it?
They said the claim couldn’t be substantiated in a court of law. So I made ONE simple change and saved the copy. Know what I did?
I just added the word “helps” in front of my outlandish claim! Now the product “helps fight inflammation”! Problem solved… copy saved… and yours truly got another control! So — keep on top of your copy — and YOU make any edits needed!
9. Promote yourself! Every job leads to ANOTHER job. Be professional. Show enthusiasm. Your current client will appreciate it and decide to hire you for another project. Use your current promotion to get NEW clients.
When I got the job to work on Oprah — man, I talked about the experience of trying to get that project on my website for MONTHS! When I finally got the sample — I made it available as a FREE downloadable file to my CopyStar readers — and everyone who came to my website. In fact…
I can’t tell you how much exposure and publicity I STILL get from that Oprah package! And you can see I’m still “Oprah name dropping” in this issue!
10. Have fun! You need to be excited about every project you take on. You have to believe you’re providing a great service… delivering a near “miracle” cure that your reader has been praying for… or teaching your prospect something he desperately needs to know.
I personally can NOT write a successful package if I’m not excited about what I’m talking about. My enthusiasm needs to ooze from my pores and splatter all over the pages of the promo!
And I’ve got to giggle… crack up laughing… or experience a tingling in my toes as I write – to let me know I’m on the right path. It’s all FUN – so ENJOY the writing process!
Think about this: You gave up that boring 9-to-5 job to have FREEDOM and to ENJOY your copywriting career, right? So, have some FUN with EVERY project – and you’ll never “work” another day in your life!
Yours for stellar results,
Cole Marketing Solutions