What you need to know to write copy that not only connects with your audience but clearly communicates your message
So, how good does your writing skills need to be in order for you to write persuasive copy that connects with your audience and clearly communicates your message?
“You don’t have to be the world’s absolute best writer to write persuasively, but you do need to improve your writing skills as much as possible in order to clearly get your point across and effectively sell your product in print”……..says Neil Patel and Joseph Putnam (in chapter 5 of their “Definitive Guide To Copywriting”)
Here are Neil and Joseph’s 7 rules to help you to improve your writing skills so that your copy will easily connect with your audience……..ready?
Rule #1 – Why Your Copy Shouldn’t Be About You
- The most important rule for writing better copy is to not focus your copy on yourself.
- Most businesses break this rule by writing business-centric copy instead of customer-centric copy.
- They write about how awesome they are and how great their product is, failing to focus on their customers and selling them what they’re looking for.
- Fortunately, there’s an easy way to spot this kind of writing.
- Company-focused copy uses “we” much more than it does “you.”
- Here’s the problem with that……customers don’t care enough about you and what you do.
- They care about themselves and what you can do for them and care about you in the context of how you can help them accomplish their goals.
- So all of your copy needs to focus on your customer.
- Everything you write should be something that appeals to them and shows how you can meet their needs.
- That’s the point of your copy
- You need to write about your business in the context of how it helps your customers by focusing on their needs, by using “you” more than “we,” and by making sure your copy explains how you will help the customer instead of only providing a boring description of your business.
Rule#2 – Write Conversationally
- The act of writing is a conversation between the author and the reader.
- It’s not the act of getting ideas onto paper; it’s a conversation that takes place after a piece of writing gets completed.
- You want your copy to be as conversational as possible.
- You should use words and phrases you would use in everyday conversation and write in a very similar way to the way you speak.
- Don’t feel like you need to sound important or erudite when you write.
- This will put your readers to sleep and make you seem arrogant and self absorbed.
- Keep this in mind when writing your copy: Your customers want to have a conversation with you.
- They’re not interested in talking to a faceless organization.
- They want to talk to a person.
- Your copy should make them feel like they are.
Rule#3 – Create A Slippery Slide
- You need to write your copy so that each sentence compels the reader to continue reading until all of your copy gets read.
- Legendary copywriter Joseph Sugarman called this creating a “slippery slide.”
- He talked about writing copy so compelling that readers couldn’t stop reading until they arrive to the end.
- Here’s what he had to say about it:
- “Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.”
- This rule starts with the headline.
- You need to write a headline so compelling that prospects have to read the sentence that follows.
- Next, your first sentence should compel them to read the second sentence, and so on.
- Each section of your copy, each new sentence and new paragraph, should work together to draw the reader in and keep him reading until he gets to the end.
- Every sentence should function to propel the reader forward.
- So how exactly do you write copy like this?
- First, keep the reader in mind at all times.
- Consider things like, “Would the reader be bored at this point? Would he be interested in what I’m saying? Is this sentence confusing? Is this paragraph necessary? Am I going to lose anyone with this point?”
- Always consider how the prospect will respond as you’re writing the copy. If it’s boring, she’ll go on to read something else. If it’s confusing, she’ll stop out of frustration. You want to constantly be thinking about the reader’s needs, desires, and interests. You need to always write copy that keeps each and every prospect reading.
- Second, only write as much as you need to write and no more.
- Does your point strengthen your copy and bring your prospect one step closer to buying? Good, then make sure to include it. Or is it tangential, and is there a chance that the prospect will get lost and move on to something else? If so, leave it out.
Rule#4 – Write Quickly
- When you write quickly, you use more of the emotional side of your brain.
- Instead of stopping to rethink everything and to rewrite on the spot, you let the copy flow from the way you feel about the subject you’re writing about.
- This is good for writing persuasive copy that appeals to your customers emotions and it’s much easier to improve words that are on paper than it is to write a perfect draft the first time around.
- Rewriting, i.e. editing, improves your copy much more than taking hours to write a first draft.
- Actually, rewriting is the number one secret of professional writers.
- Don’t worry too much about your first draft.
- Take a stab at the copy and get something onto paper.
- Once it’s there, you can take the time needed to edit it and get it ready for publishing.
Rule#5- Use Simple Language
- Make sure you use simple language in order to make sure your copy isn’t too technical or too complicated for your readers.
- If you end up writing at a level that’s too high, it’s possible that your copy will be lost on your customers because it’s widely believed that the average reading level is between the 7th and 8th grade, so it’s likely that the majority of your customers read at this level.
- They may not understand your vocabulary and may have trouble with your complex sentence structure.
- Instead of showing off your extensive vocabulary and making yourself feel important, it’s better to choose words that reach the largest number of people because you don’t want to write in a way that alienates a significant percentage of your customers.
- As it’s better to use words that everyone will understand.
Rule#6 – Use Short Paragraphs
- Shorter paragraphs are easier to read online
- Short paragraphs end up being a lot less intimidating online
- If you want to create a slippery slide that keeps readers engaged, then you’ve got to use shorter paragraphs.
- So, if you’re writing a blog post or website content, remember to use shorter paragraphs to break up the text and make your copy less intimidating.
Rule#7 – Always Get Your Copy Edited
- It’s nearly impossible for you to find every mistake in your own copy.
- Even if you’ve put it aside for a few days, which is a great idea, it’s too difficult to find every error in copy you’ve personally written.
- You’re too close to the copy, too subjectively involved.
- But are typos and grammar mistakes really a problem? Yes, they are.
- They’re a problem because they erode your credibility.
- You can get away with a mistake here or there in a blog post, but if your homepage copy or sales brochure has typos, people won’t be able to take you seriously.
- They’ll question your credibility.
- If you can’t write an error-free piece of copy, can the rest of the work you do be trusted?
- Grammar mistakes cause you to lose credibility with your target audience.
- As a general rule, you always want to get your copy edited by someone else.
- Preferably this will be a professional writer or editor who has experience with proofreading and copy editing.
- Someone who has experience with editing is much more likely to catch your mistakes.
- So to avoid having your credibility undermined, you need to make sure someone always edits your copy.
By following the above rules, you’ll become a better writer and be better prepared to write copy that compels your customers to take action.
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To Your Success,