What makes Great Copy?

What makes Great Copy?

Copywriting is the practice of writing copy for the purpose of selling or marketing a product, business, or idea. “Copy” is the word used for any written or verbal set of words used to sell something.

Great copy is more than just a sales pitch. It might tell a story such as the way the product came about, or it may describe the author’s own experience with the product.  Skilled copywriters will try to find a unique angle that their readers will relate to and weave this into their sales writing.

First-rate copy pushes the heart.

By discovering something that consumers can relate to, copywriters are able to appeal to their readers’ emotions. Research shows that people buy first with their emotions and then look for a rational reason or justification for their purchase later. High-quality copy spells out the benefits of a product to prevent the customer from having to think for themselves. Great copy overcomes the consumer’s objections before they surface.

First-rate copy is informal and conversational.

When you start copywriting you can forget a lot of that grammar you learned in school. To engage your reader they need to feel you are actually talking to them, and so you should write in the same style as you speak.  Here are some thoughts that your English teacher might not have agreed with:

  • Use fragmented sentences if they create impact
  • Use acceptable slang if it is suitable (no inappropriate words)
  • Use hyphens and character separators
  • Use variable fonts and colors
  • Use short punchy words rather than long complex ones
  • Explain your meaning in simple terms rather than using clever word plays or understated clues

On the other hand, don’t get too comfortable or your writing will lose credibility:

  • Don’t overdo punctuation…exclamation marks lose their impact if used too often
  • Check your work for typos, these are unprofessional and reflect poorly
  • Don’t use too many capital letters, this is seen as shouting in cyberspace

The length of good copy needs to be appropriate for the product

There are advantages to both long and short copy. How do you decide? The simple test is to always make sure your text is long enough for the value of the product you are selling. A more expensive product typically will require longer copy.  Just like you, customers will take longer to decide whether to buy. You don’t want your readers to reach the end of the page when they are still undecided about whether to buy.

Advantages of long copy are:

  • Long copy with bolded or emphasized points can allow some of your visitors to skim, while others more interested in specifics can find all the information they want. In this sense, long copy gives visitors more options.
  • Information-based products often benefit from longer copy. This will grant you ample opportunity to show your potential customers the QUALITY of your information.
  • More information makes your customers feel comfortable about their purchase.  Your visitors will have most of their questions answered and will have less anxiety about ordering from you.
  • Giving your customers the facts upfront may reduce your customer service work.
  • Long (and interesting) keyword-rich copy often performs well in natural search engines…there are more opportunities for search engine optimization and including keywords.

Some might say that there is no such thing as long copy only boring copy.

Advantages of short copy are:

  • You get your message across before your customer loses interest
  • Your web pages are neater and more compact
  • You avoid repetition and the appearance of a hyped sales pitch. Of course, it’s certainly possible that carefully designed long-copy pages can avoid this perception as well.)

In the end the quality of your copy is more vital than the length. You can incorporate links in short copywriting to provide more information to customers that want it, or you can emphasize key phrases in long copy for visitors that don’t want to read the whole page.

The Best Copy

If you weren’t in honors English, or you have never written anything longer than a text message, writing sales copy for your new product can be very intimidating. With the number of freelance copywriters advertising their services on the web, it can be tempting to outsource this task, but there are many reasons why you are the best person for the job.

  • It’s Your business and you know your business and your product better than any out-sourced writer.
  • You know the personality of your target audience, and what your clients or potential consumers will want to know about your product.
  • You are sincerely passionate about your product and this will stand out through your writing.
  • Relationships are typically consistent. You will want to build up a relationship with your customers and this is easier if they are familiar with your ‘voice’, instead of the many or different voices of freelance writers.

Certainly you can pay a writer to produce your copy if you are really laboring to do it yourself. This might be expensive, although there are inexpensive alternatives. Notwithstanding, you can use the time you would have used writing to focus on other areas of your business. If you do use a copywriter, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Provide them as much information as possible about your product and market.
  • Request that they test your product if at all possible.
  • If you have written anything before, give them an example of your ‘voice’ to imitate.  If not work with them initially so they can get a feel of what your tone and style might be.
  • Before you post the copy ensure there is nothing in it you wouldn’t say yourself.

Get Started

Start to accumulate landing pages, sales letters and other copy that catches your attention and feels like you. Place the items in a folder or save them electronically. This is called a swipe file and it will come in handy when you write some of your own copy!


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What exactly is content marketing?

What exactly is content marketing?

What exactly is content marketing?

Content marketing is a term used to describe everything that involves direct human-to-human contact for the purpose of creating and sharing content to eventually encourage purchases by current or future client bases.

Content marketing aims to increase sales with a small budget by delivering quality and valuable information that drives profits. Its primary benefit is the ability to hold attention longer than a traditional advertisement and faster brand development.

Content marketing is an effective way to touch all the human senses and interact with people in a way that wasn’t heard of a few years ago.  Products and services can not only be read, but also seen, heard, and felt instantaneously.

However, the purpose is not to spam or scream about your offerings in the hopes of making the sale, but to educate and inform your target audience while “sometimes” including your products for discussion. The popular belief is that by giving valuable free information, brand recognition and industry expert status is obtained.

Media marketers use different social properties to reach various goals that don’t always involve money, such as leadership, fame, lead generation, or improved retention.

So what falls under content marketing?

Videos — creating and uploading videos on YouTube connects you with your target market using all senses to interact and “talk to” your prospect as if they were sitting with you in the living room or outside on the beach.

Articles — usually a part of writing blog posts for a blog, articles are a powerful way to communicate with your audience. Not as powerful as video and audio, but strong nonetheless.

Web 2.0 — Go to HubPages.Com, Squidoo.Com, or WordPress.Com and you’ll get an idea of what web 2.0 properties consist of. These are places where you connect the dots or send people directly to learn more about you or the subject of interest.

These websites are like your center control panels where you run the show and can control more of the information and the direction your visitors go. But when it’s all said and done…

You earn by DOING. Period.

You don’t need the most expensive social media training course. You don’t need to get all your ducks in a row before you fire your first shot. And you don’t need to study, study, and study to make progress in your online business.

When you go out to your local grocery store, do you stop yourself from leaving because you anticipate a few red lights along the way? I doubt it. Because ultimately you know you’re going to get to your destination.

Treat social media marketing as if you’re looking for food, and your food is “taking action”. If you don’t take action, you’re business starves to death. Want your business to survive? Take massive action, adjust, and take more action until you get results.

Here are 15 quick content strategy ideas….

  1. Write a special report or white paper that addresses a tricky problem in an interesting way.
  2. Build a Facebook page (separate from your personal profile) that gives you another platform for interaction with your customers.
  3. Take a topic that’s subject to information overload (maybe it’s “the coolest apps for your iPhone”) and make it manageable. Create a “10 Best” post that is straightforward, user-friendly and gets the reader out of information fog.
  4. Most of us know that Twitter is an exceptional tool for building relationships with prospects and customers. To use Twitter most effectively, make your tweets entertaining, funny, and/or personal. The right balance on Twitter is generally 95% relationship-building, 5% selling.
  5. Create a buyer’s guide. Use it to frame purchasing questions on your terms. Let buyers know what to look for and what to watch out for. Tell them what questions they should be asking.
  6. Review everything. Books, blogs, newsletters, tools, physical products, information products, new technology.
  7. Create a useful utility tool (a checklist, spreadsheet-based calculator, cheat sheet, planning worksheet, etc.) that can be distributed to your blog subscribers or email list. These make great “thank you(s)” for subscribing to your site or autoresponder.
  8. Create a free course delivered by email autoresponder. I’ve used this quite a bit in my own business and for clients.  It’s a great way to build trust and rapport.
  9. Write a series or a regular column “authored” by your three-year-old, your dog, your cat, your horse, or your reptile. Think it’s too cutesy to work with your audience? Try it and see.
  10. Your comments on other people’s blogs are content. Treat them that way. Be original, relevant and interesting.  Make sure this content reflects well on you.
  11. Take your most popular blog post, add some really good images and convert it into PowerPoint, then record it with Camtasia for a YouTube video.
  12. Compile your best 100 blog posts into a physical book. It has worked for others, and it can work for you! (Use 25 and make it an eBook!)
  13. Build a membership web site that is a really profitable business in and of itself. Create a monthly paid newsletter, delivered electronically or by physical mail, in addition to your free content. Include more detailed how-to and reference information than you would on your free site. You don’t have to sell many subscriptions and they don’t have to be very pricy to add up to significant income.
  14. You don’t have to call it a blog just because you created it in WordPress. Maybe it’s Julie’s Online Coffee Shop, Excel’s Web-Based Self-Coaching Site, Manifesto’s Virtual Concierge…it could be a Tutorial, an E-School, a Directory or a Dictionary. Use a brand that resonates with your readers.
  15. Put together one or more Squidoo lenses to attract and focus Google traffic.  You could build a collection of Squidoo lenses that are optimized to sell goods around a particular holiday, like Easter outfits or Christmas lights.  Find an under-served niche within those broader subjects.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list on the subject—it’s really just the beginning. If you don’t see your favorite method on this list, let us know!


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