Copywriters: 10 Steps to Improve Your Marketing Writing Today and Tomorrow
by Marcia Yudkin
Not satisfied with the response you're getting from sales pages on your web site, email marketing blasts and other promotional copy? Hiring a copywriter for a complete makeover will cost big bucks. You can probably produce measurable improvements in results by trying these 10 practical copywriting exercises.
1. Practice perking up your wording by starting small-with the "elevator speech" you use at networking events or when asked to introduce your business to a new contact. Try out something new that's vivid and dramatic. If more people smile, look you directly in the eye and ask for your business card than with your previous version, you've got a winner. Apply the techniques you used there on a larger and larger scale.
2. Research competitors and identify the personality in which they each come across, such as bossy, friendly, rebellious or aristocratic. Select a distinct personality for your company and rewrite your marketing pieces with that personality consistently in mind.
Learn From the
Masters of No-Hype Copywriting
In 2013 and 2014, Marcia Yudkin
convened the most articulate and
experienced practitioners of no-hype
copywriting for an exchange of ideas
on writing copy that persuades
without excessive showmanship or
stretching the truth.
Presenters included Peter Bowerman,
Nick Usborne, Shel Horowitz, Karon
Thackston and others.
recordings from this telesummit.
3. Decide how you want customers to perceive you. Give your marketing copy to people who have never seen it and ask them to provide adjectives describing the company that it represents. If their responses puzzle or shock you, ask which elements led them to that assessment. Make changes accordingly!
4. When you're stuck for a fresh way to express an abstract idea, visit a stock photo shop such as GettyImages.com or Shutterstock.com and see what kinds of pictures come up for your abstract keyword. Discard the predictable images. For instance, the word "competition" brings up an arm wrestling match, two fencers and a kid shooting hoops by himself-all potential metaphors you might not otherwise have thought up.
5. Find an article, blog post or sales letter where you used a metaphor early in it. Rewrite your text by inserting so many other closely related metaphors that the device gets tiresome. Then delete three or four of the metaphor extensions, and perhaps three or four more, until your piece becomes fun but not silly to read.
6. List at least five negative policies you have communicated to clients within the last few months. For each one, consider first whether or not the negative policy is absolutely necessary. If so, create a positive way to present each policy.
7. Add live chat to your web site, or just its sales pages, that invites people to ask questions about anything that's confusing or unclear to them. Keep track of what visitors ask, and make clarifying changes in your copy accordingly.
8. Visit competitors' web sites and list the bland, boring adjectives and phrases that you find there. For each item on your list, create a more direct and concrete way to say it. Use at least three of the fresher versions on your own web site.
9. To make your marketing pitch more emotional, envision the cherished goals, dreams and hopes clients can fulfill by working with you or buying your products. Evoke those. If you find you've gone overboard with schmaltz (which one dictionary defines as "excessive sentiment"), then simply tone it down a little.
10. Think back to any changes you have made in programs or services since you created or last updated your marketing materials. Are you providing any additional benefits that you haven't mentioned? If so, revise your pitch accordingly.
Copyright 2015 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.
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