Faux Copywriters Vs. Pro Copywriters

26 replies
I recently was reminded of a quote from Michel Fortin that I blogged about once before. In one line, he sums up the problem with many of the new copywriters sprouting up on the web:

"The biggest error that most people commit when they write copy is that they try to be clever, trying to 'WOW' people with every sentence." ~ Michel Fortin
EXACTLY. Here's an example to show his point.

The prospect asks himself...

How Can I Retire At 50 On My Current Income?

The faux copywriter writes this headline for the prospect...

Attention! You Are About To Discover How You Can Unleash A Flood Of Interest-Generating Cash In To Your Bank Account So You Can Retire Young And Never Worry About Money Again!

The pro copywriter writes this headline for the prospect...

How To Retire At 50 On Your Current Income.

Copywriting isn't about trying to impress the reader, it's about connecting with the reader. While it's important to get the prospect excited, it's just as important to make your ideas as exciting as your words... or maybe more so.

Cheers,
Stephen
#copywriters #faux #pro
  • Profile picture of the author Dave Lianelli
    Nothing more to add. It's good that a pro-copywriter steps in and shows why he is a pro and many others are faux.

    Thanks for sharing that with us.
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  • Profile picture of the author cerava
    What I find intriguing is when people try to fit in as many benefits as possible into the headline. Out of your experience, which one yields better responses?
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    All A -- no IDA

    The big mistake is thinking getting attention is 90% of success. It's not. You have to reward attention, and most web designers, copy cubs, marketoids, etc don't know how to do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      This is extremely timely advice for me. Late last night I wrote some short sales copy for a client and reading it this morning wondered if it was "too simple".

      Decided to cruise the WF before changing the copy - and now looking at it I realize it's not "simple" - it's straight forward and just what it needs to be.

      The copy isn't about me and how well I can play with words - it's about the idea, the benefits, the attraction of the client's product. Had I second guessed myself this morning and done a rewrite - it would have damaged the copy, not improved it.

      thank you - thank you!

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    It depends on the audience, Aldric. Benefit heavy headlines work best on prospects who have been pre-sold. Either from a JV email, word-of-mouth, branding etc.

    Otherwise benefit headlines scream that you're selling something. And that's not what you want to hit a prospect from say, search results, with.

    Thanks Dave and Kay for the kind words, and John for adding on.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
    Copywriter Stephen Dean, Copy Productions Copywriting
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Very timely advice for me as well.



    OK, having thrown that up. The second could be better. Buuut, it was off the top of my head so don't hold it against me.

    Maybe,
    "The One Headline Rule To Never Get Wrong"

    I dunno...But great advice, thanks...
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    Haha, thanks Nathan. I appreciate it.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
    Copywriting Dean|Copywriting And Internet Advertising Tactics By Copywriter Stephen Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author Larryheat
    Recently I heard of a copywriting technique, course called "chunk copy writing". John Holston and Liz Tomey authored this technique any one know if this works and is the course worth it?
    Lheat
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    • Profile picture of the author David Raybould
      Originally Posted by Larryheat View Post

      Recently I heard of a copywriting technique, course called "chunk copy writing". John Holston and Liz Tomey authored this technique any one know if this works and is the course worth it?
      Lheat
      Larry- there are a bunch of books and
      courses recommended in the sticky
      threads at the top of this forum.

      Check those out, they'll definitely help
      you learn to write copy, if that's what
      you want.

      -David Raybould
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by Larryheat View Post

      Recently I heard of a copywriting technique, course called "chunk copy writing". John Holston and Liz Tomey authored this technique any one know if this works and is the course worth it?
      Lheat
      It's called Chunk Copy and it's a John Hostler product.

      I like it but it helps if you already know how to write a sales letter before you use John's methods. You'll get a lot more out of it if you already have a copywriting base beforehand.

      My 2 cents,

      Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by Larryheat View Post

      Recently I heard of a copywriting technique, course called "chunk copy writing".
      I have this, but haven't gotten around to looking it over yet. Maybe I should do that today.
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  • Profile picture of the author NightWriter
    Along these lines, I just finished reading Ogilvy on Advertising. He talks about many, if not most, copywriters not bothering to educate themselves about their own business. He said he asked a copywriter how many books he had read on advertising and he answered - "None. I prefer to rely on intuition."

    But, copywriting is not the place for creativity.

    What blows my mind, too, is how there are a lot of people - both copywriters and clients - who are not focused on getting a result. They aren't focused on sales. They're focused on their own cleverness, I guess.

    Honestly, I didn't know such people even existed until fairly recently! But, I'm running into them even during this New Great Depression! These are not the people I want to work with...
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    • Profile picture of the author NightWriter
      I do believe there are two different schools of thought when it comes to copywriting:

      One is that is, as I said, not the place for creativity and the other is that it is all about creativity.

      I have the same philosophy about literature - there are the classics that rely on formulas that work - these formulas go all the way back to the Classical Period in Greece! And, then there is experimental literature - which is everything else and most of it doesn't work.

      The fact is that people don't change much. Their minds and their emotions remain pretty much the same.

      Advertising words that rely on creativity don't sell as well as those that rely on tested formulas.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    Copywriting is part art, part science. You need creativity to find a hook, and you need to follow formulas. I usually describe it as putting together a puzzle with no right answer, just good answers.

    That's my take, anyway.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
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    • Profile picture of the author Vadym
      Every copy I've written so far has dripped with benefits and "what it can do for the reader if he takes action now".

      They work. Well.

      Just wanted to point that out - whether that's with or against the "mainstream" thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author KarmaSnack
    Mr. Dean,

    I am a copywriter and found your post most clear, concise, and logical. After all, we are all here to deliver a message. Connecting with your reader is the most effective way to deliver that message, whatever it may be. Another interesting thing to consider is who the reader is and what they're all about. I find a brief reflection in this light helps to identify with your reader or audience and truly connect.

    Thank you for the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author SharonaB
    The 'Keep it Simple' rule definitely applies for all types of copy.

    I review web sites for one of my clients and I often see over-written, hyped up, duplicatory web copy that seems to scroll down forever, with little snippets of info being dripfed at a frustratingly slow pace. We've all seen sites like this and it immediately looks like an oversell and most, like me, get so far down the page and then run a mile.

    There is simply no replacement for simplicity.
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    • Profile picture of the author AustinLadyTam
      Thanks, Stephen (and Nathan, for reinforcing the point)! You made the 100-watt lightbulb in my head click on. You're answering the question that the reader has in his head, and that works wonderfully.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
    You're not alone Stephen. When I started out years ago, I went through the same process-- using more words than necessary in the headline.

    Michel makes a great point and you've done this community a service in reminding
    us all about it.

    One little known fact is of the most mailed and most money making letters of all time to this point,

    a percentage way too high to ignore were written with headlines
    containing 8 words or less.

    Personally, I believe it's because it gets people involved reading the rest of
    the letter faster.
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  • It's good to make things pop, but ultimately you want to get into the prospect's mind and put the voice inside their head right in front of them.

    it doesn't always have to be cute to be effective. Many times it's not.
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  • Profile picture of the author nizldy
    "Copywriting isn’t about trying to impress the reader, it’s about connecting with the reader. While it’s important to get the prospect excited, it’s just as important to make your ideas as exciting as your words… or maybe more so."

    Hi Dean,

    Your quote is dead-on. The business world needs more of this inter-connecting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Todd R
    Interesting thread -- good ideas. Simple things work when they touch the reader; yet brevity of itself doesn't always do that. It takes a pro to make it work. Unfortunately, lots of words don't guarantee effective copy either. It's the way the message catches the reader's desires.
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