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Let’s be completely honest.
Writing advertising copy is a pain in the butt.
Yeah, you’ve gathered information from your clients, researched the product or service,and have a collection of relevant swipe files, but you’re still stuck.
Even though you’ve done as much as you can to prepare for this assignment, you still find yourself groping for the right words. You’re looking for that initial spark to get started, but it’s just not happening.
Not only that, you’re running out of time without any significant results.
So the question of the day is: Is there a way I can overcome this mental barrier to copywriting?
My answer to you is: Yes, there is. And once you see how easy it is to get started writing, you’ll never have to worry about this mental barrier again.
All you need is a way to organize your research and information.
Getting Your Info Together
Step 1: Rewrite the collected information in your own words.
As a teacher of almost 20 years, I can tell you that there is a benefit to writing out information you’ve collected into your own words.
This makes you read the material, internalize it, and then spit it out in a different way. Once you have done this, you’ll have a much deeper understanding of your subject.
As a matter of fact, many teachers I’ve worked with now are equipped with reference software that can check to see if students are plagiarizing their work. This means that they can’t merely copy out the material, they must rewrite it.
So, learning to rewrite material you have already read is an important skill.
No matter what you’ve collected, rewrite the information out in your own words because it will give you more ideas and a deeper understanding of your subject.
Not only that, but you’ll find that your own ideas will surface as you write out the facts.
Step 2: Organize your rewritten material.
If you rewrite your collected resources into easy to read documents you won’t have to sift through a pile of resource material to find the exact information that you need.
This means that you’ll be able to save your most precious resource – time.
Another good idea is to print out the information making sure that all of the pertinent facts are on a few sheets of paper. You can then go through the material again, highlighting and underlining the most important parts.
Step 3: Draft the Outline
I use an outline some of the time; it’s all a matter of personal preference. If the sales letter or brochure copy is rather long, I’ll definitely write one up, but if it is something short, I don’t.
What I’ll do with short copy is digest the material as in Step 1 of this lesson, and then I’ll spit out as many ideas I can into a word processor. I can then rearrange my ideas in a way that helps me sell the product or service.
Another way you can write up your outline is to use the main parts of a sales letter as a template. Here’s an example of a simple template you can use:
- Headline Get their attention!
- Deck Copy
- Intro to body copy
- Problem Identify the problem, and provide the solution
- Validation Talk about your expertise and credentials
- Benefits Why the product or service will save them
- Give social proof Testimonials
- Make your offer Irresistible offer they can’t refuse – talk about scarcity
- Give a guarantee
- Call to action Tell them to do it now!
- Give a warning
- Close with a reminder You can reiterate with a P.S. why they need to take you up on this great deal
Another good reason why you may want to make an outline or a template like this is so you’ll have something to show clients. If you show a template or outline of what you intend on writing to a client, and they approve it, you’ll avoid hassles with them later on.
You can use the template above to organize your outline or you can use my template sheet provided here: Free Sales Letter Template
Just Do It! (Write the Copy, That is!)
Basically, you can break this part down into three simple steps:
Step 1: Get your thoughts and ideas down on paper.
Once you’ve gone through all of the steps so far, the next thing you’ll want to do is…WRITE!
Spit it out. Take everything you’ve learned about your product or service and get it down on paper. You can start wherever you feel like it.
At this point it really doesn’t matter where you start, just get motivated and get as much written as you can. The real work occurs after you’ve written your first draft.
Personally, I like writing bullet statements first, writing about the benefits of the product and then jumping to the headline or deck copy. But it is entirely up to you where you wish to begin to writing your masterpiece.
Remember, the main reason for this lesson is to get started writing and get the work flowing. It doesn’t matter how bad you write it initially, because the real work starts after you’ve written it out the first time.
The real good copywriters like Bob Bly write up to as many as seven or eight drafts or as many as it takes to get it right. But don’t worry about the first one, just get it done!
Step 2: Start editing your writing.
You are going to do this a lot.
In this part of rewriting your material, you are going to scour as much crap out of your copy as you possibly can. The best way to do this is to read your phrases and paragraphs out loud so that you can physically hear what you’ve written.
You will then know what sounds natural and what does not.
Some copywriters like to use that they call “across the table writing”. This is writing that sounds just like you were talking to someone at a coffee shop. You want your material to reflect a natural sound to it, just like a conversation.
So, reading your material aloud to yourself, a family member, or friend is very important to do. I usually read my copy to my wife who is very critical of everything I say or do. (Ha-ha! Don’t tell her I said that!)
Step 3: Clean it up.
In this phase you are going to go through your copy with a fine tooth comb, looking for any errors in grammar, spelling, and accuracy.
Tip: Use a Ruler
A good trick I like to use is to print up a copy of my writing. Then, using a ruler I’ll move it down the page line by line checking and correcting any errors that I find. That way, I know I’ve eliminated almost every error possible.
As you can see, if you use this method to get started writing, you’ll find that you can get started much quicker. Once again, the real work is rewriting your material until you feel that you get it right.
If you write every day and practice your craft, you will get better at it and you’ll eventually find that you are saving a lot of time getting your project completed.
Please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comment section below. No reasonable comments will be rejected!