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To Write Your Own Copy or Not to Write Your Own Copy - That is the Question

If you haven't yet learned to discern good copy from bad copy,you will have a ... time writing your own. Tim, a ... friend of mine, recently learned the ... when hetried to wr

If you haven't yet learned to discern good copy from bad copy,
you will have a difficult time writing your own. Tim, a graphic
designer friend of mine, recently learned the difference when he
tried to write his own web copy.

Tim had a phenomenal website. His work was not only the best in
the state, but the best in all the surrounding states. He had
done high-end graphic work for a number of national clients. But
suddenly the work dried up.

Tim asked me to take a look at his website to tell him what I
thought, not of his web copy, but of his work. However, being a
professional copywriter, Tim's real problems glared out at me.
His work was great. His copy sucked.

Not only was Tim's copy filled with spelling and grammar errors,
but most of it was fluff. He included copy just to fill space,
ignoring the fact that potential clients would want substantial
information that could not simply be provided in samples of his
work.

Tim made all the mistakes of a novice copywriter: awkward
sentences, too much technical jargon, misused words and
punctuation, and the worst mistake that any copywriter can make,
lack of clarity and failure to communicate.

If copy doesn't communicate there is no purpose in it's
existence. The number one communication barring culprit is
unclear writing and confusing ideas.

When you write your own copy, keep in mind that, just because you
know what you're thinking doesn't mean anyone else will. Most
people can't get away with simply writing what they think. It's
better to consider what your audience needs to hear.

Highly skilled copywriters follow approximately 7 basic
guidelines. They may not follow all of them all of the time, or
they may follow all of them all of the time. But you can be
assured that they follow at least some of the 7 all of the time:

1. Know Your Audience - Society is broken into different
demographics: men, women, teenage girls, teenage boys, single
moms, working moms, middle aged men, business people, Gen Xers,
etc...The tone and focus of your copy depends on which
demographic you need to target.

Before you even begin to write your copy, you must ask yourself:

*Who will be interested in my product or service?
*Why will they be interested (Price, delivery, performance,
reliability, service maintenance, quality efficiency, etc...)
*What motivates the buyer?

2. Understand Your Product or Service - You may think you've
considered all aspects of your product or service, but here's a
list of questions to ask yourself just in case:

*What are all the features and benefits of my product or service?
*Which benefits are the most important?
*How does my product differ from the competition, and if it
doesn't differ, how can I make it seem different?
*Is my product/service a need or a want?
*Does my product/service solve any existing problems?
*Is my product/service reliable, efficient, economical, etc...?
*Have people bought my product or service, and if so, what do
they say about it?
*Is my product available in different materials, sizes and
models?
*How quickly can my product/service be delivered?
*Is my product/service guaranteed? If not, should it be?

3. Find your USP (unique selling point) - This is your product or
service's most attractive and unique benefit from the buyer's
perspective. The USP should be the focus of the copy, around
which the mention of other benefits hover.

4. Write Benefit Oriented Copy - Inexperienced copywriters tend
to focus on the featured product, company, or service, failing to
mention how it will actually benefit the buyer. People are only
interested in a product that says, "This is what I'm going to do
for you."

Your copy should appeal to one or more of the buyer's basic
needs: love, acceptance, security, recognition, attractiveness,
health, sex appeal, happiness, fulfillment, etc...

Don't make buyers do the work of figuring out what benefit your
product or service offers. Most people devote only a fraction of
their mind to marketing and advertising. They won't put forth the
effort of discerning what's in it for them. You have to do that
for them.

5. Use Active Verbs - I will keep this short as I don't want to
cause any high school English flashbacks. Your copy should
motivate people to take action, therefore, you need to stick with
action verbs as much as possible.

Here are two sentences, one using an active verb and one using a
passive verb:

"Johnny was knocked to the floor when he was punched in the face
by Chuck."

"Chuck punched Johnny in the face, knocking him to the floor."

The first sentence, using passive verbs, is wimpy. The second,
using action verbs, is powerful and concise. 'Nuf said.

6. Use Short Sentences and Short Words - Just because you are
writing doesn't mean you should turn into John Faulkner. Save the
excess verbiage and utter confusion for pretentious literature.
The last thing you want to do is confuse your reader.

Eliminate irrelevant and redundant words and don't add fluff for
the sake of puffing up your copy. Write your copy the way you
would talk to a friend. Say what you mean and keep your copy
lean.

7. Tell Your Reader What To Do - Your readers needs to know
exactly what you expect of them. Don't be shy. After you spent
all that time writing your exceptional copy, don't let your
reader go off saying, "What was the point of that?"

Instruct them to call, write, reserve, visit, buy, order, fax, or
whatever you want them to do.

After reading all these rules and regulations, you may have come
to the conclusion that copywriting just isn't your cup of tea.
Don't feel ashamed. That's what professional copywriters like
myself are here for.

If you choose not to write your own copy, then it's important to
have a reliable copywriter on call. Otherwise you'll be stuck if
an important project comes up and you have no one to turn to.

The time to choose a copywriter is before you need one. When
choosing a copywriter remember that not all of those who claim to
be professional copywriters actually are professional
copywriters. Ask to see samples of their work before you make
your decision. Now that you know the rules of good copywriting,
you can make an accurate assessment of the work's quality.

Ask around to friends and business associates. Chances are they
will know writer's to investigate as well as those to avoid.

Don't let geography stand between you and the copywriter you
prefer. It's nice to find a local, but when all is said and done
it just doesn't matter. Choose the writer who fits your needs.
Don't base your decision on whether or not you could drive to the
their house in 30 minutes or less.

Once you do choose a copywriter, always treat him/her in a
professional manner. Many writers are used to being treated like
second class citizens, but that doesn't mean you should
perpetuate that treatment. Writer's perform an important and
necessary function in society, one which most people can't
appreciate.

But if there is one thing that will make you appreciate the work
copywriters doScience Articles, it's attempting to write your own copy.

Article Tags: Doesn't Mean

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jenny Bosworth
NEED HELP WITH YOUR COPY? Internet Writers can handle any
project, from sales letters to web copy, autoresponders to
articles. Check out our services online at
http://www.internetwriters.com.



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