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5 quick and easy ways to write great copy that sells

Updated on March 27, 2013

1. Skip the boring, polite stuff

My husband is a professor who teaches college students how to write, but he is basically instructing them on how to get good grades. Thank goodness, writing ad copy is not at all the same, and it’s much different than writing for a newspaper or trying to impress your grandmother with polite phrases.

The kind of thing my hubby’s students write is just the thing that a professor will love – but it won’t do much for sales.

Boring copy happens when you can hardly bear to read more than a couple sentence. Try it on yourself.

Open a file of something you’ve written to sell somebody on something and see how you feel about it.

If it doesn’t inspire you to take the next step and buy, then rewrite the thing and make it better.

2. Be interesting

Once upon a time, I wrote for a large governmental organization, and we had to use a lot of passive construction – which is dead boring.

I’d have to delete anything that would seem too interesting because people wanted to read between the lines to see what the organization was doing.

I could suck all the interesting bits out and just keep to stodgy announcements. That’s what they wanted – but it didn’t sell anything. Advice: When you’re reading an announcement by a big organization, look for what’s NOT said.

3. Convince yourself

Imagine that you’re 17 again. You took out your father’s car along with some of your friends, and racing up a hill, flying over bumps and dips.

Suddenly, you’ve taken on more than you should have, and the car goes flying across the road and skids into a old Buick driven by someone who looks like your grandmother.

Let’s say the cops show up and you convince them that it was the grandma who caused the accident. If you can really get into it, you’ll produce emotion and tears, and your cohorts will support you with convincing nods. If you can really put your heart into it, you’ll start believing it yourself – that it was grandma’s fault for busting up the car.

Now that’s sales.

4. Keep it short

I don’t know anyone what wants to read your version of War And Peace.

Save your words and just make your point because you don’t want to abuse other people’s time.

In the news business, keeping things short was a necessity. It costs too much to rattle on and on. We didn’t write anything more than 600 words – we talked in column inches – because it took up too much real estate in the newspaper.

Once in a while you can veer from this, but if in doubt, simpler and shorter is better.

5. Say it like you’re talking

Do you express yourself in perfect grammar and pronunciation? Probably not.

Tossing around $5 words? Stop it. I’ve been accused of this and I always have to hold back. So should you.

After all, you’re a human being, and conversing with your audience is okay. You might even want to record your pitch and transcribe it to get the feel of how to write.

It’s okay to include your personality – or voice – with your writing, because people can get to know you better that way. The more they know you, the more you can sell with your ad copy.


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