So You Want To Write Your Own Copy, Huh?

by The Copy Nazi Banned
17 replies
...so you wanna write your own copy, huh?


"How You Can Easily Write Online Sales Copy That'll Move Truckloads of Your Product & Make You Lots of Loot"
with -
  • no boring theory
  • no jargon
  • no tears

Click on the screen to play the video

Excuse Me Sir - Where Do I Start?



Yes, you too can write your own copy! It's fun and so easy a five year old can do it. Where do you start? It's not essential but you may want to start with a pre-head that targets or pre-qualifies who you're pitching. In this case I've used "...so you wanna write your own copy, huh?"


Your headline is vitally important. Your brilliant copy will sink or swim depending on how well you hook your readers with the headline. You need to grab your readers attention - really grab them - hit their "hot button" and have them reading on. Put it in inverted commas - it improves readability. And if you can stick a benefit in there, even better. Put your reader in the "drivers seat" by using "you" and "yours".

A headline, of course, is... AN AD FOR YOUR AD! Gary Halbert
Spellcheck your copy. Oh yeah...and don't be tempted to write something like "How to Make a Million Dollars Online - Overnight and in Your Jocks!" The punters might click on it but then they're just going to be saying to themselves (rightly so) "This is Total BS". And you've lost them forever. Unless of course you really can prove that you have a system that will do that. Laugh-Out-Friggin' Loud.

You might qualify your head with "the deck" - the few lines of copy that you can run under the headline to further qualify or "hook" your readers. In this case - "no boring theory" etc.


Video Killed What?

Should you use video? Done properly, video can be very powerful. The video I've used here isn't mine - I captured it from a copywriter's site. I can't even remember his name. Sorry about that Chief. Maybe you're reading this and you'll get in touch so I can properly attribute it. But I think it a beauty!


The funny thing about video is not everyone will click on it and watch it. Maybe because they're watching at work. Or they don't have broadband. Or they prefer to read. For instance, after this post being up a day only 20 people out of the 200+ viewers have clicked through to the video.

BTW using a host like Amazon S3 looks much more professional than YouTube.

Just Do It, Dude



There are several ways to start. You could tell a story. Make sure it's entertaining. Or you could just start off by telling us what you have, what it does, why our miserable lives will be so much better if we have one too. Later on you'll tell us the price and where and how we can get it.


Or you could summarise what you're about to offer. In this case it might be something like this - "By the end of this page you'll have enough info to dash off your own world-beating sales copy - without paying out thousands to a rude, opinionated, egotistical, internet copywriter (what's with those guys?)".


Who the Hell is This Guy?


Somewhere near the beginning of the page and "above the fold" you might want to put your mugshot and introduce yourself. You're establishing credibility.

"Hi, my name is Jackson Greenlaw. I'm an internet copywriter. That's me above holding the greenbacks. I take a lousy photograph so I didn't want to put you off by showing my face. But it's not what I look like - it's what I can do for you, Dude. Quite simply, I will make you a sh*tload of money with my copy.

Who have I worked for? Some of the biggest names in Internet Marketing - some of the "whales" in this game". Yada yada yada.


Write in Simple Short Sentences That a 5 year old Will Have No Trouble Following and Understanding


Talk one-on-one with your reader as if you were talking to your best friend. Use simple "plain vanilla" words that everyone will understand. Avoid trying to be too "cute" with your words. Just tell us your story. Start off by telling us what you have, what it does, why our miserable lives will be so much better if we have one too, tell us the price, tell us how and where to get it.

Break the Copy Up Into Chunks

We don't read all your words. We scan. We might come back and read all your copy thoroughly but to begin with, we scan. We scroll down, stopping at the "good bits".


If there is a whole block of copy of long convoluted sentences with big scary words in it, with barely any paragraphs and no bolding or subheads - people are not going to read it. They'll run a mile. So break it up. You're not writing for The New York Times. You're writing for "Joe the Plumber". Make it easy for him. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Make it Easy To Read

Use one idea per paragraph. With subheads. The subheads should be written so that when you scan the page your reader gets the gist of the story - what the page is about - without having to read the body copy in detail. Try and make the subheads a bit cheeky or entertaining.

You can put the subheads in a different font if you like. I've used "American Typewriter" here. And "Impact" in the headline. Some people swear by Arial, Verdana or Tahoma in the body copy. I think the brilliant Direct Response copywriter, Gary Halbert, was a fan of "Courier New" - this one.

Bolding, underlining and highlighting can also make the copy more readable. But don't go crazy with any of them.

Putting important copy in a different font will make it stand out against the rest. Make sure it's an easy-to-read font like this Verdana. Avoid arty fonts. Drop-shadow fonts in headlines seem to be the flavor-of-the-month but they are much harder to read than common-or-garden variety fonts.

Don't Forget the Captions


Before I forget. Here's a good tip. A powerful tip. Put captions under every photo. People love captions. Every caption will be read. Make the caption part of your pitch as well. Like this -

You want fries with that?

What's In It For Me?

Think in terms of "benefits" rather than features - "This copy is full of bells and whistles" is a feature. "This copy is so full of bells and whistles, you'll be able to save thousands of dollars by writing your own copy - today" is a benefit. Answer the reader's "What's in it for me?". He could care less about your amazing features. He wants to know how those features will benefit him.

Do I Really Need To Be A "Good Writer"?

Yes and no. Personally I'm pretty keen on correct grammar, syntax and spelling. But I'm not anal about it.

As for style, Gary Halbert used to say -

"
Being on target is much more important than being facile with words"

In other words don't pitch a Knitting Book to a bunch of truckdrivers. Know who you're talking to. Who you are targeting. And talk to them in their language.

Halbert also said -

"
People don't have time for your pathetic subtleties"

In other words, don't try and be too clever. And don't use words that most people don't understand. You're not writing The World's Greatest Novel or a piece for The New York Times. Use simple, short, everyday words in short, simple sentences. In words a 5 year old understands. The last thing you want is your reader saying "Wow...this is a beautifully-crafted piece of copy" (unless he's a fellow copywriter).

Famous copywriter John Caples (he of the "They laughed when I sat down at the piano..." print ad.) in 1932 (78 years ago!) put it like this -

Don't make ads simple because you think people are low in intelligence. Some are smart and some are not smart. The point is that people are thinking about other things when they see your ad. Your ad does not get their full attention or intelligence. Your ad gets only a fraction of their intelligence . . . . People won't study your ad carefully. They can't be bothered. And so you have to make your ads simple.
It's Not Rocket Science


Tell me what you have, tell me what it does, tell me why my life will be so much better if I have one too, tell me how much, tell me where to get it. Don't be afraid to repeat the important bits. Or say the same thing again but spin it.


Show Me The Proof


Show me some proof your product does what you say it will do. Real proof - not dodgy screenshots of earnings or useless testimonials from "Jo Blow, Canada". Video proof can be extremely powerful. Did you see yesterday's launch of "The Magic Bullet System"? Sold out in hours and grossed $1.5M. The video "proof" was killer.


Ask For The Order


Stick several "Buy Buttons" on the page. Don't just rely on your reader scrolling to the very bottom of the page to find a Buy Button. If you've done a good job some of your readers will hit a Buy Button half-way through the copy. Some say "Add To Cart" works better than "Buy Now" or "Order Now". Check out "The Belcher Button" - that's the one I use with great success.


Don't Be "Precious" About Your Copy


Testing is the name of the game. Sometimes just adding or deleting a single word will skyrocket conversions. The headline is the most important part of the whole page. You only have a second or two to seduce your readers before they click off. So make sure your headline grabs them by the you-know-whats. Or you're dead in the water.

Don't waffle in your copy. Generally, "less is more".

If the copy isn't converting - kill it and start again.


#1 With a Bullet


Putting important things in bullet form makes them easier to read. Odd numbers of bullets work better. No more than 7 of them. I'm out of time...you know you need to add testimonials, "social proof" , p.s. - all that jive. That stuff is important but its mainly window dressing. What's important is -


  • be on target
  • use simple, short sentences
  • get to the point
  • break your copy into chunks so it's easier to read
  • don't use dodgy screenshots or fake testimonials
  • test and test again
  • use bullets


Voila! How to write your own copy in one easy lesson. Now I must get back to the coalface.


Cheers,

Lambe, Paris

p.s. if you want your copy to read like the spoken word, invest in Dragon Naturally Speaking (for PCs) or MacSpeech Dictate (for Macs) and dictate your copy while the program writes it for you. I've even used it to write directly into this forum. They say it's 99% accurate but that's BS. It does make a few mistakes. For instance when I say "Australian" in my Australian accent, it writes it (every time) as "Estonian".
#copy #huh #write
  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    Some nice advice. Good copy under captions is critical. I know my own eyes are drawn to them first.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

        Video Killed What? - Subtitle...

        Spelling mistake...



        But I think it a beauty! (it's)

        Did you rip this off my site or are you just
        being super dry Mal, given a certain recent
        thread?
        Nope. I meant "I think it a beauty" - perfectly acceptable English. But thanks for pointing it out.

        You have a site? Wow. I'm saving up to get one.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
    Thanks, Mr. Lambe.



    I hate writing. In fact, I say: "Grrrr" to writing copy.

    Especially when my next holiday depends on it being halfway decent.

    I read your post from start to finish.

    And that tells me all I need to know about your "je ne sais whotsit"...

    Best wishes,
    Steve
    Signature

    Not promoting right now

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    • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Steven Fullman View Post

      Thanks, Mr. Lambe.



      I hate writing. In fact, I say: "Grrrr" to writing copy.

      Especially when my next holiday depends on it being halfway decent.

      I read your post from start to finish.

      And that li'l factoid tells me all I need to know about your "je ne sais whotsit"...

      Best wishes,
      Steve
      You took my advice on your WPUnique WSO copy and look how well it's doing. Brilliant.
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  • Profile picture of the author lightcam
    Thanks for the tips Mal
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  • Profile picture of the author copious
    Hey, that's a great template to follow - I like it! I've been watching other people's copy on websites and sales letters for a while now, but never seen such a foolproof template to follow. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
    Nice tips and examples.

    I think that Grilled Chicken Ass should be the official food of Warrior Copywriters. Each time you get a sip from the drinking game, have a bite of GCA too.

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author copious
      Originally Posted by Mr. Enthusiastic View Post

      Nice tips and examples.

      I think that Grilled Chicken Ass should be the official food of Warrior Copywriters. Each time you get a sip from the drinking game, have a bite of GCA too.

      Chris
      Haha, it's definitely not appealing to me, but it sure gets people's attention, doesn't it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Texas_Guns
    Grilled Chicken Ass... LOL!
    Signature
    Launching A New Product? Need Copywriting? Multiple services offered. 13 years of experience as a Direct Response Copywriter. Product/Company launch expert. Millions of dollars in products sold online.
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  • Profile picture of the author Simo
    Mal,

    Not only have you have made your words of wisdom very succinct, you have also highlighted the importance of hiring a copywriter, or at the very least... listening to one!

    Thanks for sharing Mal. That's going straight to the pool room.

    PS - Mods... c'mon you know this post deserves to get sticky status.
    Signature
    Need quality adwords training? The adwords antidote gives you the tools to avoid the Google Slap. Click here to learn more.

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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    The Warrior Forum Copywriting Corner - "Now with Grilled Chicken Ass!"
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      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

        Handed to You on a Plate...


        Clever. Does it come with "All you can drink?"
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          • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
            Banned
            Originally Posted by MarkAndrews IMCopywriting View Post

            I'd buy you a drink any day.

            Over time, you've quite grown on me,
            if I was a lass I could in fact quite fancy
            you.

            Are you single?
            Correct grammar is "If I were". (Sorry - couldn't help myself). Single? I wish. Married a frog and have a 5 year old boy and 2 year old girl. I'm in The Guinness Book of Records as "Oldest Dad".
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  • Profile picture of the author phil.wheatley
    My God, what a post, a complete lesson in it's own right. What a lot of people don't realise with you, is you don't just provide copywriting, you provide the WHOLE package...because it just one thing isn't right, you don't get sales! (I have no clue about grammar..uhh..or is that grammer..and spelling ha ha)

    I know the term 'something you can take to the bank' is over used as an IM buzz term, but in your case it's true...I mean, you tell me to change a heading or a graphic, or a video or whatever, and that has doubled or trippled conversions...now THAT'S something I can and HAVE taken to the bank!

    Phil
    Signature



    It's still not working for you??? Need direction?...
    ---->>>> BrainDirection.com <<<<----
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    • Profile picture of the author Jordan JD
      Thanks OP for this great advice and example of well written copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Just pinched a great quote off Rezbi's blog -
    A headline, of course, is... AN AD FOR YOUR AD! Gary Halbert
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