Trick #1: May The Power Of One Be With YouThis is an important concept – ONE is enough for your copy. One what? You ask… More on that in just a second. When writing copy, it’s common to go around in circles, and that’s because you don’t have clarity in what you’re saying. And that’s because…
You’re focusing on too MANY things at once.As Mark Ford says, a persuasive and engaging copy is always centered on the power of one – ONE big idea, ONE core emotion, ONE benefit. That’s what you need to be aware BEFORE writing your copy, whether it will be for a landing page, email, FB Ad or even a social media post! So, ask yourself:
- What’s the main idea you’re trying to communicate?
- What’s the core emotion your trying to reach?
- What’s the biggest benefit you can provide?
Pro tip: clever copy isn’t cluttered copy.
Trick #2: More Than Features, It’s About BenefitsOne of the things I frequently encounter in copywriting is feature-centered copy, instead of focusing on the transformation that the product/service provides. That’s a big no-no. When writing your copy, you must show the deep benefits you provide to your customer. Benefits trigger emotions, and that’s what you want – because emotion is what makes people buy. But don’t forget…
It’s about THEIR emotions, not yours.Imagine that you’re selling a relationship coaching program. Although the 4-weekly calls, unlimited email support, and bonuses you want to offer are important, what’s even more important is that your client – by having you as their coach – will learn to unlock their way to love and find a loving and meaningful relationship. A recipe for happiness. That’s a benefit. Making it simple: a benefit is showing your reader what’s in it for him, creating a psychological link between your product/service and his desires.
Pro tip: list all your features and transform each one in a benefit.
Trick #3: It’s About “YOU”Probably you’ve heard this before: it’s not about you, it’s about your clients. That’s 100% true. Most of the time I end up reading copy that’s too self-centered, and that comes with a (bad) prize: it doesn’t resonate with your audience. Overusing the word ‘“I” is a massive turnoff because readers don’t like hearing people talk about themselves. By doing so, you enter the bragging zone, and no one likes people who brag, right? The secret is to find a sweet spot between speaking about yourself – to build trust + affinity – and connecting with their pain points and desired outcomes.
You’re the character of a story that has the same journey as your reader.But how do we do this? The great G. Halbert says it’s ok to talk about yourself negatively and turn the story positive. By that time, you make everything about the reader’s benefit.
Pro tip: If you have a copy piece written, see if there’s anything you can change. After that, start hunting down the word “I” and remove any clause that isn’t necessary.
Trick #4: Keep The Flow GoingWe’re halfway now, and it’s important to discuss how to keep the flow going. This is a big one! Have you ever read a piece of copy that seems that’s written by a robot? Oh yes, you may answer! Not only that, but this happens waaaaaay too often. It seems that the writer has somewhat selected random sentences without any connection between them. So you get disconnected and shut down. Here’s the thing…
Transitions hold everything – in your copy – together.Transitions usually come second in copy editing. When editing the raw document, first you should remove the dirt from your content—wordiness and then replace weak phrases. After that, it’s time to punch the copy with some transitional tricks for a smooth reading experience. The main idea is that transitions and cliffhangers get your audience engaged for the next phrase by paying attention or re-engaging with your content. Remember: You want them to get hooked and want to know what the next thing is. Write in a way that encourages readers to start the next sentence.
Pro tip: the most popular ones are ‘so’, ‘but’, ‘however’, ‘and’, ‘or’… You also have the advanced ones such as: ‘But wait, there’s more’, ‘Better still’, ‘How?’, ‘Let me be a bit more specific’, and so on…
Trick #5: R.O.L – Reading Out LoudOne of the most effective techniques in copy is reading the copy out loud. Quite simple, right? About 90% of the time if there’s something wrong with the copy, reading usually fixes it. When you read your copy and use your actual voice, instead of your brain’s voice, it’s easier to identify how’s the flow of the text going and if there’s something that doesn’t sound right and needs improvement. And if the main point is creating a conversational tone, it makes sense to read it out loud. When you hear what you’re writing, you can better identify the rhythm. Listen to the beat of the copy and tweak if needed.
Reading out loud revels your copy weaknesses.And If it sounds silly reading out loud… That’s a good thing… Because it is kinda silly. Yet, this is a bullet-proof trick to find long sentences, wordy ones and anything between, really.
Pro tip: Give it a go – you’ll never know what you’ll encounter.
Trick #6: Be Active. Be Fit.It has nothing to do with fitness, but the incorrect use of passive voice is one of the main reasons why boring copy exists. Try using active voice as much as possible. It envokes action and helps the reader paint a picture of what he’s reading. And that’s exactly what you need to do. Wondering what passive voice looks like? Well, let’s see…
What if Nike’s slogan was ‘Make Sure It Gets Done’?Is it engaging? Hmmm, no. However, this is a clear example of passive voice. The bottom line is: you need to get your reader engaged on what you’re showing him. And that’s almost never compatible with passive voice…
Pro tip: write your draft and when editing see if you can change anything from passive to active.
Trick #7: Do One Thing At A TimeLast but not least, don’t try to edit your copy in complete passes. I’ve learned this with the great G. Halbert. He’s an advocate (and I agree) that by the time you get to the end, you’re already tired and not capable of doing a good job. Editing is the secret sauce on your copy. It’s the time you punch, tweak and really improve. So, be sure to do it in chunks.
Your aim is to review and refine every word and sentence.Let your copy sit tight for (at least) a couple of hours after writing your draft, and before you start editing. Take your time, go stretch, do yoga or go for a walk. Just get away. It may sound easy to do, but sometimes it’s actually hard, believe me! The goal here is to take your mind (and eyes!) off your copy and reset your system. By the time you look at it again, you’ll have a fresh new set of eyes, and it’s easier to identify weaknesses and turn them around.
Pro tip: it’s best to edit your copy on the next day. This way, you’ll really be ready for the magical part of editing.And here you have… Now you know my 7 bullet-proof tactics to improve copy and engage readers. I bet some of them look really (really) simple, but that’s what copy is. It isn’t hard – you just need creativity, a good approach and the right tools and tips to get you moving. Magic happens when the brain and hands are connected. And you can achieve it – I know it from professional experience. It’s your time to shine! Ready, Set, Go!