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Copy writing techniques

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Think about your Readers

When writing ad copy be sure that the average reader can easily understand and relate to it. Put yourself in their place. Would you understand? Would you say, "That's me"? One way to help you write for your readers, is to write just as if you were saying it to their face. Address the reader as "you" in your copy. Just like a one on one conversation. Sometime take a closer look at some of the advertising around you. How many times do you see them using "you"?

Make your copy interesting to read, almost story-like, all the time generating enthusiasm for your product or service. Find ways to place facts in your copy without sounding like an Army Service Manual. The trick is to convey the hard dry facts and numbers, while making them interesting to read.

Don't talk about yourself. Readers don't care what you like, what you did or what you think. They want to know if they will like it and how it will benefit them.

Organize your Copy

When you write your copy you should always know what your primary message or selling point is as well as all the secondary selling points. You might want to use your primary message as part of your headline and then dedicate a few lines or paragraph to expand on it. Then fit in your secondary selling points in lines or paragraphs after that. Whether they are a few lines or a paragraph would depend on the size of your copy. How much space you can set aside for your selling points? Before you start writing your copy write down all your selling points. Sort them in the order of importance. When writing your copy, move smoothly from point to point, one leading into the next.

Short is Better

Everyone knows that short sentences are easier to read and comprehend than long sentences. One thing that all writers have in common is that they are taught to write short and to-the-point sentences. Read back through your copy. If you find a sentence that has more then 12 words, find a way to break it down. Break all long sentences into 2 sentences. If necessary, break them down again. You can also use hyphens to help separate long sentences. This is not to say that all your sentences should be the same length. Copy can become boring when the sentences are all the same length. Vary their length. Just keep them under 12 words. Remember you are writing copy, not fiction. Sentence fragments, as long as they sound good to the readers ear, are completely acceptable in copywriting.

Don't be a Dictionary

Use simple and easy words. That's what a reader understands. Consider the mindset that you are communicating with. This reader is not trying to dissect and devour your copy. This is someone, who for one reason or another has been distracted from their primary goal to read what you have to say. It's only a short pause they're taking to quickly read your words. If you use complex words, you will either annoy or completely lose your reader. Keep It Simple Stupid! Ad Copy is Communication. Don't think that you are impressing them with words they probably couldn't spell and would never use themselves. Make it easy for the reader to understand and keep up with the copy.

Keep Clear of Tech-Terms with Wide Audiences

If your copy is to be read by a wide audience, don't wrongfully assume that they will know what you know. If you feel that these facts must be used, find a way to convey these terms in the best way that they can be understood. Don't use a technical term unless it is the best choice. Sometimes you have no other route than to use technical terms. Lets use "software" as an example. What other way can you put it? It's software. But then again you wouldn't want to say "C++ Software" just Software. The average reader has no idea that C++ is a programming language and could care even less.

Clear & Concise

Keep your ad copy free of clutter. Don't use words that aren't needed. You are wasting your readers' time, weakening your sales message and taking up valuable space that could be better served in your interest. Your readers' attention span is short and they are usually in a hurry. Avoid redundancies, over-worded phrases and other poor writing mistakes that serve no other function than taking up space. Provide specific and concrete information in a clear and straightforward manner. The more specific you are the less chance your readers have of misunderstanding you.

Get to the Point

Be direct and to the point. There is not time for beating around the bush or to keep your reader guessing.

Next to the headline, the first paragraph of your ad copy is the most important text in your work. The first paragraph, better known as the "Lead" paragraph, is what draws in the reader. If your lead paragraph is uninteresting to the reader, they will surely move on. Move right into your primary selling point. Don't waste time with introductions and explanations. If you must use them, use them later. Your ad copy should be the essence of sell from the first word to the last. Loose the fluff and fringes. They're for weddings not ad copy.

There's No Place for Sexism or Racism

For example, an ad on a college radio station in the middle of the summer semester for a local business. During the course of this 30-second ad they managed to insult the Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and all women everywhere. Now needless to say that any type of racist or sexist attitude doesn't go far in advertising. But here we have a student population, which during the summer, by the statistics taken each year, is almost 30% of oriental origin and 65% female. Not only was this commercial poor advertising, but just plain stupid.

Gender bashing, racist remarks and general rudeness offend people. You don't sell by offending others. The hardest of them to deal with is the use of gender in your copy. How do you handle it? Instead of "service man", it's "service person". Instead of "his", it's "his/hers". There are however a couple of other ways to help deal with this problem. One is two use plurals. Instead of his or her, try they, them or theirs. Another is to rewrite your copy taking out any reference to sex at all. You may even try alternating sexes through the ad copy.

Well, that's it for now, hope you're walking away with more than you came with.

Listed above are just a few techniques that you can use to help you write better ad copy.

Remember good copy sells, but great copy sells well!

Updated 10/31/14


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