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A Crash Course in Copywriting

Updated on July 1, 2017

Humorous glimpse at not-so-effective copywriting

This hub is not a comprehensive tutorial in copywriting. I was inspired to write after being ticklishly horrified at a real estate ad. I think we can all appreciate the clever genius of the Chic-Fil-A cows, the Geico Gecko and AFLAC's goose (or is it a duck?). Anyone in marketing or advertising would love their work to reflect the genius level of those ads. The following is a list of what NOT to reflect in your advertising efforts. While visiting my in-laws, I picked up a real estate book, listed below are actual captions found beneath pictures properties for sale:

1. Why's This Home Like the Bull's Eye? 2 properties next door to each other.... to hit the target, ask for Carolyn @ ###.

2. Why's This Home Like an Astronaut? 'Cause you'll be spaced out when you see the interior.... and at a price that won't send you into orbit!

3. Why's This Home Like Elvis? You'll be all shook up if you don't hurry to see the super star value.... Don't rent in "heartbreak hotel"!

4. Why's This Home Like a Classic Car? This appealing home in Raleigh Subd is accented with lines that never go out of style.... take a spin to see today.

5. Why's This Home Like A Box of Chocolates? You don't know what you'll get until you get inside!

6. Why's This Home Like London Bridge? 'Cause the price has fallen...

7. Why's This Home Like Mickey Mouse? You only need a Minnie!! Down payment to squeak into ownership... Goofy not to call on this one!

8. Why's This Home Like Fudge? 'Cause the richness of its beauty is only exceeded by the irresistibility of its price.... sleeek interior. Lush master suite. Not a time to diet!

9. Why's This Home Like A game Show? You'll want to "Come-on-Down" when you see how attractive this home is.... Let's make a deal!

10. Like a Magnetic Attraction? You'll feel like sticking around at the sight of this patio home...

11. Why's This Home Like an Expensive Fragrance? 'Cause this delightful brick hom Never leaves your senses! ... To discern life's finer moments, ask for Carolyn @ ####

12. Why's This Home Like A Turkey? 'Cause with 4.5 acres, it's a "plump deal" with $5000 toward closing costs... Gobble! Gobble!

13. Why's This Home Like A Fine Collectible? 'Cause it offers beauty and appreciating value.

14. Why's This Home Like Mother Goose? A real fairy tale come true property.... Priced so as not to ruffle your feathers!

15. Why's This Home Like A Box of Crackerjacks? 'Cause it's full of surprises!

16. Why's This Home Like A "No Brainer"? You don't have to be a genius to know you should check out THIS "dated" fixer-upper.

17. Why's This Home Like A Kodak Moment? Picture your family in this nice home.

And the last two are the best *drum roll*

18. Why's This Home Like Peanut Butter? You'll find sticking payments easy in this affordable 3BR/2BA patio home. ... Jam and Jelly on over to see this one.

19...******* Why Is This Home Like Crispy Fried Food? You'll be licken' your fingers over the juicy price & closing costs paid by seller. ... For a bucketful of info Ask for Carolyn @ ###

While these quips are memorable, I cannot say they'd get me to pick up the phone! In fact, I was house hunting at the time and did NOT call them! Admittedly, when advertising we want to strive for memorable (that IS the point, isn't it?) - we equally should strive for positive impression. Keep the corn on the cobb and not in your copy [Case in point.]!

Having been in marketing in several aspects for 17 years, I have learn and applied many good writing principles to my "art". One good rule of thumb to follow when writing ad copy is to K.I.S.S. -- keep it simple, silly. Less really is more. While the above realty ads were simple, they were inappropriate. Perhaps we should modify the rule to K.I.S.S.E.S. -- Keep It Simple, Silly - Eliminate Stupidity. Nah, that's stupid, too.

Think of the simplicity of Nike's Just Do It, Nancy Reagan's creed Just Say No ™, Chick-Fil-A's Eat More Chicken, etc. Also, who, at the mention of the words pants or ground didn't belt out General Larry Platt's Pants on the Ground for the next fortnight after watching American Idol's audition -- or related to those who did erupt into song? Simple message. Simple lyrics, memorable. (Although, it did border ludicrous!)

General Larry Platt's Audition

My Top 3 Writing Tips

Here are my top three writing tips:
1. KISS, we've covered that.
2. Know your subject. Research it. Become a sponge absorbing all you can. For brevity sake, think about politicians who make great speeches until the cue-cards are gone and are head to head in debate... On the other hand, think of politicians who are well versed in history and experience -- they are much more believable.

3. Write what you would say how you would say it, then edit. This style of writing is dubbed as flow-of-consciousness. As a former journalist and as a professional copywriter, this is probably my number one rule for myself. My writing is simply more effective when I adhere to the flow-of-consciousness method. Editing as you write can break, and often frustrates, the flow of creativity and ideas. Think of baking a cake -- if you try to frost it as you mix the ingredients, you'll wind up with a mess!

There are many more rules to writing good copy. While some lengthy hubs are applauded, I lose interest after a few feet of "column inch". So, if you would like to research this subject further, here are a couple of links to tutorials:

Easy Way to Write Copy


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    • profile image

      wbapartner 5 years ago

      Good writing tips there. Writing is probably the most important yet difficult arts to master. Especially the ones related to marketing.

    • breathe2travel profile image

      breathe2travel 6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      ccbrookes -- Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      ccbrookes 6 years ago

      There's some really good advice here. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

    • breathe2travel profile image

      breathe2travel 7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Cameo - thanks for your comment. :)

    • CameoT profile image

      CameoT 7 years ago from Moab, Utah

      This really helped me, Thank you!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hmmm, breathe, you are onto me. Shhh, don't tell anyone. :)

    • breathe2travel profile image

      breathe2travel 7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      MPG -- Thanks for stopping by to read the hub! You sure you're not in denial that you plan to use the copy? LOL!! They are rather comical, are they not? Glad you enjoyed the hub.

      Warm regards~

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Having written real estate copy for some years I had a good chuckle whilst reading this hub, thanks.

    • MakeMoneyGoal profile image

      James Flynn 7 years ago from Edinburgh

      Hi breath2travel - I like the flow of consciousness idea and I think that’s how I write but I would call it creative flow. It needs to start with, as your hub does inspiration. Once you are inspired and you know what you want to achieve with the piece it seems to flow from there. I find that I automatically have a beginning, middle and end and my end links to or completes the loop with the beginning. There is something satisfying about answering a question or coming to a conclusion about something you postulated at the end of an article.

    • BDazzler profile image

      BDazzler 7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      I especially like the "research" part, too many people just slap up opinions and don't realize how obvious it is the reader.