I am fascinated by the art and science of great copywriting.
I love to see how people are able to take a product or service and create such compelling words that cause a high proportion of readers to be motivated to take action.
Paul’s first rule of copywriting
It’s all about you.
Great copywriters know that they have to answer that classic question “What’s in it for me?” and focus on answering it from the very start.
If your copy talks more about you, your company, your products than it does about the prospective customer then you have a problem.
Without joining the dots in a simple and straightforward way, the average prospect isn’t interested in you unless they can see how they can get a reward from spending their time reading your promotional copy.
Paul’s second rule of copywriting
Make sure that you grab their attention from the start with a great headline.
I like going on holiday to Tuscany in Italy so a headline “Discover How To Have Your Best Ever Holiday In Tuscany For 50% of What You Usually Pay” will be sure to attract my attention.
“The Rolling Hills” (a feature Tuscany is famous for) just wouldn’t have the same impact, even if the words underneath the headline were exactly the same.
As the great direct response marketers say, “The headline is the ad for the ad”
The Story of Max Hart & George L. Dyer
There is a classic question that comes up time and again in copywriting.
“Is long copy more effective than short copy?”
You’ve probably seen what I mean.
Perhaps someone has sent you a 10 or 15 page sales letter that has riveted your attention while a one page letter is thrown straight into the waste paper bin. Other times you get a long letter and it goes straight in the bin. It’s just far too much effort to read while you’re prepared to scan read one page.
Max Hart (of Hart, Schaffner & Marx) was arguing with his advertising manager, George L. Dyer over this very topic.
Mr Dyer came up with a simple bet.
“I bet you $10 I can write a newspaper page of solid type and you’ll read every word of it” he said.
Mr Hart scoffed but Mr Dyer replied “I don’t have to write a line of it to prove my point. I’ll only tell you the headline. That would be ….”This page is all about Max Hart!”
The point was very well made.
So there you have it. Paul’s first two rules of copywriting:
- Write directly about and to the intended reader.
- Make it clear from the headline down.
The Best Books About Copywriting
Copywriting and wider persuasion are subjects that I don’t seem to be able to stop myself reading and learning more and more about.
There are expensive courses – some of them excellent – but a good place to start for a business owner with an interest in writing their own sales copy or who wants to feel confident in his or her hired copywriter, is my list of the best copywriting books.Don't forget to download and read my FREE Report - The SIX Steps PROFIT Formula: The Simple Rules That Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know available to download at Six Steps Report (Please click).