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7 Tips For Writing YOU Focused Copy

by Pete Godfrey · 8 comments

7 Tips For Writing YOU Focused Copy

#1: Empathise with your reader

You’ve got to be sincere. You’ve got to care about your reader. I keep saying it but you’ve got to understand what he wants. What he fears, what he desires, what he talks about and what he thinks about.

What’s this guy’s life like anyway?

When you are sincere and you truly empathise with your market, your reader will feel this. You’ll instantly bond with your reader… and that’s what you want okay?

So your research is a critical part of this. You’ve got to find out the answers… otherwise you’ll just be guessing and every time I’ve guessed, I’ve lost money. Don’t like it and I don’t recommend it.

#2 Use a Conversational Tone

You are writing to one person so keep your tone conversational.

Look, you can take this too far so you must understand the words and phrases your market uses.

I have seen letters that completely miss this point. And I bet they flopped too. One word out of place, as you have learned, can kill the sale.

Okay, here’s an example. If you’re targeting the affluent, then speak their language. Don’t say “gotta” or “ain’t” or “wanna’ or any other colloquialisms that may offend. If they wouldn’t say it, you don’t either.

Simple.

That doesn’t mean you get all holier-than-thou when you’re writing to the affluent. You still have to write simply. Just don’t use any words that will kill the sale.

Just picture the perfect prospect in your head and begin writing. See that person, feel what it’s like to BE that person… heck, get inside that person’s head and find out what it’s really like!

Another point to remember. Use the word “you” in your copy.

  • You this…
  • You that…
  • You get this…
  • You’ll see…
  • You’ll discover…
  • You’ll be…

It’s all about them remember! Got nothing to do with “you” the writer… it’s all about “you” the reader, the guy that’s gonna hand over his cash and feel damn good about doing it.

#3 Get Fired Up With What You Are Selling

You’ve got to get enthusiastic about your product. And you must believe in its merits and be willing to get your passions for the product down on paper in a compelling, emotionally charged way.

With some jobs this can be difficult.

You may not be overly excited about the concept. (Writing Pam Emery’s cellulite copy comes to mind.) This happens and you’ve got to get over it. (Of course, there will always be jobs you are not morally aligned with… just pass up on those jobs and move on to the next.)

So how do you get excited? How to you get emotionally involved with the product? How do you get the old adrenaline gland into gear and start pumping out some kick-arse copy?

A gallon of coffee?

Well that might help, but here’s what I do…

I put my scepticism aside and just soak up all the good things about the product.

I imagine someone I know or love who could benefit from this product. (Of course, while researching your product you may uncover some negative aspects of the product. Okay then, just turn it into a positive. Raise the objection and solve it.)

Go through all the benefits of the product and see what emotions and feelings they stir in the prospect. Get in “the zone” and get writing while you are all fired up.

#4 Write Simply

Look, you don’t have to be Hemingway to write a good, basic, emotional direct response ad or letter. Just keep your sentences simple to begin with.

So get rid of the big fancy words. Throw them in the bin and stick with clear, simple words that convey your message precisely.

This means writing as you speak.

Here’s two things to keep in mind…

• The average spoken sentence is around 7 – 10 words.

• The reading ability of the average Westerner comes in at around the grade six to seven levels.

Think about that next time you get long winded.

#5 Pacing

When all of your sentences are the same length or the same kind of tempo, you’re going to lose the reader.

Remember the greased slide I told you about?

Good.

Because that’s what killer copy is all about.

It’s a greased slide that leads your prospect from the top of the letter to the end in one smooth slide… the only way is down, down that greased slide to the close of the sale.

And sure you do this with benefits and the feelings the prospect gets from the benefits… that’s a given. But world-class copy is more than that. It’s about the speed, the tempo, the way your individual words form together to make the whole.

You’ve got to develop the rhythm, the beat, the rising and ebbing tempo that speeds your prospects along down the greased slide to the close of the sale.

The following will help.

Here’s how to add some spice to your copy…

  1. Break up long sentences with ellipses …
  2. Have a long sentence followed by a short sentence.
  3. Write in threes… I think they’re called something like triads… not sure, but I use them all the time.

Here’s an example of triads and the use of ellipses…

To my clients the answer is easy… it’s the money, it’s the lifestyle, the freedom… and it gets in your blood, into your very being and you can never go back to what you had before.

What you are about to learn here in this manual has taken me from rebel to riches… from getting paid $18 an hour to $800 an hour and more. This kinda info lets me lead an amazing life.

I get to travel; I get to meet sharp-minded clients who live intense, full lives… I get to help struggling entrepreneurs build fortunes and help successful marketers make even more money.

See how it flows?

6: Use italics, underline and quotation marks to ram home your message.

I like to use the three of these techniques to highlight certain words that I want my reader to really get.

Here’s an example from one of my letters that shows how to use italics…

Imagine waking up in the morning and standing in front of your mirror. You turn around and look at your buttocks and thighs. Usually this is a moment you dread and most times, you scamper past the mirror, too afraid and too ashamed to look. But instead of seeing those ugly orange-peel dimples, your eyes are drawn to the smooth silkiness of your skin. Your cellulite is gone, disappeared… and so has your self-consciousness.

Here’s one that shows underline…

This technology has now been tested, refined and proven to work on even the most stubborn cellulite.

Bolding and All Caps work great too.

Here’s an example…

Don’t forget you WIN whatever happens. Even if your return your product, you still get to keep the FREE bonuses valued at…

BIG TIP: Exclamation marks! Try not to use them much. In certain cases yes, you do need them. But be aware of each time you use them and the reasoning behind your decision.

#7 Smooth Transitions

You’ve got to have the ability to formlessly go from one idea to the next. A shift in thought, highlighting another benefit, introducing a new twist, all need smooth transitions to pull them off.

And it’s not hard to do either. You just need a few phrases to get you there.

Here’s a few that I use…

  • Here’s why…
  • Let me explain…
  • But here’s the good news…
  • Fair enough?
  • Don’t you agree?
  • Here’s the thing…
  • But I’m getting ahead of myself here…
  • Is that fair?
  • But guess what?
  • But get this…
  • Please understand…

The list goes on and on. Can you see how these work? Good! Because jerky or non-existent transitions kill the sale.

You get the reader in on one thing then bang you drag her off track onto another thing.

There was no transition, no greased slide… just a losing of your reader’s comprehension. And that’s when she puts your letter down.

So make sure you take the reader with you. Transitions do the job.

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About The Author

Copywriter, Sales Strategist - Pete GodfreyPete Godfrey, The Wizard of Words, from rebel without a clue to one of the most in demand and highest paid Copywriters and Sales Strategists in Australasia… all with the power of his emotionally charged words that sell… Discover the “Secret Weapon” to increasing your Sales and Profits by downloading the valuable report "The Ultimate Copywriting and Marketing Secret" While you're at it, follow Pete on Facebook

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris November 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

The mention of sentence is very useful. I’ll try and be more cognizant of that when I write. Not sure I agree about the all caps, though. Too easy to misuse.

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Annie Burns January 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm

fascinating stuff Pete. As soon as I am off holidays – am going back to square one on the drawing board. How often we get so caught up in our passion about what we do AS WE SEE IT!

Importance from this article (besides the steps) is passion for product as the other see’s it. AND I forget to use smaller sentences. You prob noticed that 🙂

Thanks Pete

Annie

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Susan Connors January 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Hi Pete

Thank you for a great article – it helps keeps the writing in perspective for me.

Always room for my improvement.

I love how you always look at the human- ness within every post.
Getting to the basics and understanding who, what, where etc of our
clients/readers is so important. You help break this down into
understandable processes that are not so hard to do. You give
examples which makes it easier for me to understand.

Thank you 🙂

Susan Connors
Australia

Reply

Lance Pemberton April 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Hi Pete
I have the world’s biggest challenge for you. After a series of unfortunate events of which I will not bore you, I have about $1 million (worth at retail – $250,000 at cost) of product that must go! Now these are fabulous products that I had the New Zealand agency for. Kool n Soothe is an instant cooling pad that is great for relieving fever, migraines, bruises, sunburn, overheating etc. Last for 8 hours and are a onetime use. Cura-Heat are pads that once opened heat up to between 40 – 50 degrees and are magic for relieving back and shoulder pain, the effects of arthritis and period pain. These have captured a huge market overseas but here in Godzone we are a nation of sheep – and frankly, what do sheep know about things that run hot and cold!
A friend of mine has suggested that I dig a big hole in the ground and bury them. Mind you he’s worth a gazilion so that would appeal to his sense of humour.
I have gone back to my old life as a Real Estate agent and at least I’m making money again. But I wonder if you have any bright ideas. Oh by the way just to make things a little harder the use by dates are fast approaching. They will last for years beyond these dates but hey just one more impediment.
Naturally I have tried the normal channels. Chemists have them stocked all across NZ and Woolworths have been threatening to stock the Kool n Soothe for a couple of years now. But ideally a campaign throughout magazines and daily newspapers might be the best way forward. Especially if I can get my money back and then maybe donate the rest to Starship Children’s Hospital, the Arthritis Foundation etc and get some PR for myself as a Realtor.
Hoping you can help – or at least get a laugh from reading this.

Lance Pemberton
P.S. If you do a Google search on the brand names you will see that they come from the famous Kobayashi of Japan. At present they hold about 30% market share in the UK and are immensely popular in many other countries like the USA. I also have a couple of very good TV commercials for them that are currently running in the UK.

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Pete Godfrey April 19, 2010 at 6:19 am

Hey Lance, I have several suggestions however, I would need to ask you several questions before I make any suggestions because otherwise I would be guessing and everytime I have guessed it’s bit me on the back side. If you email me, we might be able to organise a consultation on the phone… that would be the best way to do this…Pete

PS. Great to see you still have a sense of humour… and please remember, nothing is as bad as it looks from the inside…

Reply

Lance Pemberton April 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

Thanks Pete. Have just sent you an email.

Reply

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