Some Copywriting Tips for Content Writers

July 16, 2019

Legendary Ad Man Herschell Gordon Lewis

To be successful, a copywriter has to do everything a good salesman does without the benefit of a live customer to react to — you can’t look into your customer’s eyes and you can’t hear the tenor of their voice as they respond to your words.

Instead, you have to anticipate any possible reservations your reader might have and address them in advance.

Don’t Use a Bunch of Highfalutin Words

You don’t impress potential customers when you use words they don’t understand. In fact, it leads them to conclude that you just aren’t smart enough to say what you mean in plain English.

Make Your Writing More Inviting

When your readers see a massive block of text, it’s intimidating.
So use headlines, bullet points, and bold text to break up your prose and make it more inviting.

Most readers don’t read read the whole thing all at once. Instead, they peruse the copy first, considering the headlines, bullets, and bold text first.

A word of warning about bold text: Just like swearing, the more you use it, the less potent it becomes.

And generally speaking, headlines should be no longer than 10 words.

Start With a Bang

As the great Elmer Wheeler used to say (no, I’m not making that name up) “The First ten words are more important than the next ten thousand.”

That’s why it’s often a good idea to begin with one or two provocative questions or a short, direct declarative sentence.

Sell the Benefit

Legendary ad man David Oglivy used to say that good copywriting shouldn’t call attention to itself. Instead, you should “make the product the star.”

Tell the readers precisely how whatever you have to sell will make their life better by saving them time, saving them money, making them look better, making them feel better, or making other people envy them even more.

Don’t Overpromise

If you make one unbelievable assertion, readers will automatically question everything else you have to say.

Say Their Name, Say Their Name—A Lot

As Dale Carnegie used to say: “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”

But you can’t address your customers by name. So use the words “you” and “your” as often as you can without sounding goofy.

We Think by Feeling

Modern brain research confirms that human beings “think by feeling,” just like the poet Theodore Roethke said.

Words evoke feelings. And buyers are overwhelmingly influenced by feelings. Legendary ad man Joseph Sugarman reminds us:

You buy a Mercedes automobile emotionally but you then justify the purchase logically with its technology, safety and resale value.

Customers aren’t buying what you’re actually selling — they’re buying the way they hope it will make them feel.

The Right Connotations Are Crucial

Connotations are the feelings that a word evokes in addition to it’s official dictionary definition.

For example, the words cheap and inexpensive mean roughly the same thing, but they have very different connotations.

Which sentence sounds more warm and cuddly?

Dr. Smith provides outstanding treatment.

or

Dr. Smith provides outstanding care.

And don’t use words with negative connotations to assert a positive value. For example, legendary adman Herschell Gordon Lewis used to go bonkers whenever he read copy that suggested a product would “drastically improve your life.”

Drastic is full of negative connotations — so why not say “this product will dramatically improve your life,” instead?

Rhythm and Flow

Even though people will typically read your copy silently inside their own heads, the sound of the words you choose and how they flow together strongly influence the way your writing will be received.

Poetry and copywriting have a lot more in common than most people realize.

 

by Richard W. Bray

Blameless

July 10, 2019

Yeah, I did your girlfriend
But it wasn’t my fault
If you weren’t home early
We wouldn’t have gotten caught

Yeah, I crashed your car
But why you blaming me?
You locked your front door
But you didn’t hide your keys

I said, “I’ll always love you
You’re the only one I see”
I was loyal for a week
Which is pretty good for me

Everywhere I go
All the people I meet
They make do bad things
I steal, lie and cheat

It’s a crazy crooked world
And everyone is rotten
Doesn’t matter what you do
It will soon be forgotten

By Richard W. Bray

complicated

July 4, 2019

feelings are
so complicated
you got me
all agitated

my body is
so complicated
good to go
and activated

people are
so complicated
ain’t no two
the same created

reality
is complicated
everything just
detonated

love and life
are complicated
i wish my heart
was nickel-plated

by Richard W. Bray

Never Said I Was Sane

June 29, 2019

You gave me your love
And I threw it down a drain
You should have paid attention
Never said I was sane

Tried to clear out my head
With a pound of cocaine
And a gallon of whiskey
Never said I was sane

I held up an army
Left a pretty big stain
They locked me up for good
Never said I was sane

They gave me some tests
To study my brain
I’m a wee bit psychotic
Never said I was sane

They got me breaking rocks
On a ball and chain
I’m just glad to stay busy
Never said I was sane

by Richard W. Bray

a thousand ways I could have been better

June 15, 2019

There’s a thousand times
I could have been better

I got angry
I said the wrong word

There’s a thousand ways
I could have been better

Didn’t ever show up
For your world

There’s a thousand things
I could have done better

I should’ve been
The guy you deserve

There’s a thousand ways
I could have been better

Now I know how low
It all can go

By Richard W. Bray

I’m just gonna be me

June 1, 2019

I like to eat a sandwich
With pickles and sardines
I step on every crack
And my room is never clean

You got a picture in your head
The guy I’m sposed to be
I don’t care what anybody says
I’m just gonna be me

I wear my jammies all day long
I sleep in a tuxedo
Take me out to dinner
And I’ll wear my brand new Speedos

A body needs some freedom
Wouldn’t you agree?
I don’t care what anybody says
I’m just gonna be me

Nobody should believe
What everybody knows
All the grownups bow to kings
Who don’t have any clothes

You got a picture in your head
The guy I’m sposed to be
I don’t care what anybody says
I’m just gonna be me

By Richard W. Bray

I’m glad I met you when I did

May 24, 2019

I’m
Glad
I met you when I did

I was
About
To flip my lid

I’m
Acting
Like a little kid

I’m
Glad
I met you when I did

I’m
Glad
I met you when I did

Cuz
I was
Keeping my heart hid

No more
Living
Off the grid

I’m
Glad
I met you when I did

by Richard W. Bray

when the bridge gates fall

May 18, 2019

When you can’t make it home
When you’re stuck in a rut
When the roads are frozen over
When everything is shut
When hope is mirage
When there’s torment in your gut

When the bridge gates fall
When you’re walking in the trees
When the world opens up
When your heart gets a squeeze
When you’re finally together
When you’re overwhelmed with ease

by Richard W. Bray

Regular Joe in the Mushy Mushy Middle

May 11, 2019

I love to get along
I’m so sensible and wise
Always helping out the rich folks
Cuz I love to compromise

You can find me on the road
In the mushy mushy middle
With all my big money boys
And the dead armadillos

I’m a Regular Joe
And I love the common man
You know I love your daughter
I’m doing what I can

You can find me on the road
In the mushy mushy middle
With all my big money boys
And the dead armadillos

I’ve been taking their cash
For forty-seven years
I really oughta listen
When they sing in my ear

You can find me on the road
In the mushy mushy middle
With all my big money boys
And the dead armadillos

We sent away your jobs
And we called it free trade
But it worked out pretty well
Cuz all my friends got paid

You can find me on the road
In the mushy mushy middle
With all my big money boys
And the dead armadillos

You wanna save the world
And give the folks a fair shake
Do I look like Karl Marx?
Just give me a break

You can find me on the road
In the mushy mushy middle
With all my big money boys
And the dead armadillos

by Richard W. Bray

Hello Hello

May 4, 2019

Hello Hello
It’s nice to me you
I’m such a happy little girl
That’s my mommy
That’s my grandpa
It’s a happy sunshine world

I hope somebody loves you
Are you lucky
Just like me?
Everybody
Should be happy
I love everyone I see

by Richard W. Bray