Archive for the ‘Copywriting’ Category

Engage Your Readers… Effective Headlines

March 1, 2015

HeadlineSMWhen you are writing a marketing communication piece – print ad, sales letter, direct mail piece, brochure, blog entry, press release, newsletter, webinar – where do you start? You may be surprised to learn that experts advise starting at the top by writing the headline.

The headline is your promise to readers, a statement of what they can expect if they continue reading. Promises are first made, and then fulfilled. So make the promise to readers through the headline, and fulfill it in the content.

The importance of headlines is not a new concept. Writing in 1923 in his book Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins said, “We pick out what we wish to read by headlines.” Forty years later, in his 1963 book Confessions of an Advertising Man, advertising legend David Ogilvy wrote On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents of your dollar.” Continuing today, busy people decide what to read on web pages, e-mail, or blogs based the strength of the headline.


A Review of the Basics… Copyright for Copywriters

February 21, 2012

The digital revolution has made it very easy for us to access material from files, web sites, and the Internet. We all freely copy things we like and send them to others, use them on our social network sites, or add them to our presentations and reports. The ease with which we can claim material for our own use may be obscuring the fact that much of this use could violate copyright laws.

For more… 

Writing That Sells… A Guide to Effective Copywriting

November 29, 2011

If everything begins with a sale, then we are all selling something to somebody. Some of us are selling products or services for cash, while others (such as charitable organizations) are selling the idea that their cause is worthy of support. Even people who offer things for free are selling something – that what they are providing is useful.

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Improve Your Writing… Understand Grammar

January 7, 2011

An interesting and perhaps unanticipated result of the growth in social media for marketing is an increased need for good writing skills. Blogs, drip marketing, opt-in electronic newsletters, and other “new media” require both useful content and good writing to attract and keep readers.

The elements of good writing are simple: grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. By mastering the rules and conventions, you will make your writing easier to understand and more enjoyable to your readers.

Grammar explains the forms and structure of words (called morphology) and how they are arranged in sentences (called syntax). In other words, grammar provides the rules for speaking and writing that give us a common way of using language so we can more easily understand each other.

Content is King… Direct Mail or E-Mail Marketing

January 7, 2011

Amid the ongoing debate about whether direct mail or e-mail is the best method to market to customers and prospects, very little is being said about the one thing that is crucial to the success of both – the message. Unless the message is relevant to the audience and persuasively presented, it doesn’t matter how it is delivered. So while the discussion about direct mail versus e-mail continues, focus on developing good content and honing your writing skills.

Why market with mail?

The objective of both direct and e-mail marketing is to persuade a customer or prospect to take action, either now or later. When a seller consistently and regularly sends a communication such as a mailed post card or a newsletter (either mailed or web-based), a buyer is more likely at a future time to take the action desired by the seller. In other words, direct or e-mail marketing is less about an immediate sale than about positioning the business or organization to be top-of-mind when the potential buyer is ready to make a purchase.

This is especially important in business-to- business selling where the sell cycle is often long (especially when compared to business-to- consumer), and it is hard to stimulate demand. Direct mail is also important during an economic downturn when either budgetary constraints or the unwillingness of the purchaser to spend money creates a long sell cycle for both businesses and consumers.

My Word… Copywriting Skills for Business

May 22, 2010

A fundamental skill for all businesses and organizations is to use language effectively in sales and marketing materials. The task of creating the text for these materials is known as copywriting. The purpose of copywriting is to persuade the reader to act – to respond to an advertisement, to buy a product or service, to donate to a cause, to join an organization.

Copywriting is part of direct mail marketing post cards, self-mailers and sales letters; display advertisements; brochures; press releases; white papers; catalogs; and all other marketing communications material. Copywriting differs from technical and business writing because it is persuasive rather than expository. Like technical or business writers, copywriters may present information, but their primary goal is to influence the behavior of readers. Copywriting can also violate the rules for standard business writing to achieve a desired effect or to make the writing more interesting.

Double Duty: Writing Copy for Advertising and PR

March 28, 2010

Consider how much writing it takes to support your company or organization’s advertising materials – brochures, direct mail pieces, newsletters, sales letters. Now consider the importance of regular, ongoing public relations activities – press releases, publicity, promotions. Wouldn’t it be nice if all that advertising copy could also be used for public relations support? In this issue of Printips, we’ll discuss advertising and public relations, and how you can write effective copy for both.

To fully understand the similarities and differences between advertising and public relations, it is useful to have a working definition of each:

Advertising: activities that bring a product, service, business, or organization to the attention of current and potential customers.

Public relations: activities that promote public understanding of a company or organization and its products or services.

Note that while advertising is focused on selling something to current and potential customers, public relations is about promoting and protecting the company or organization’s image.

Editor’s Choice: Editing Copy Written By Others

February 27, 2010

It can be a tricky situation – editing copy written by others. Whether your task is to compile and edit the company newsletter, review the boss’s PowerPoint presentation or prepare the company marketing material, the job of copy editor requires diplomacy and discipline. The diplomacy is necessary to avoid alienating the writer (and losing your editorship); the discipline is required to impose standards and create consistency. To help with this delicate balancing act, it is useful to have an editor’s toolkit – measuring devices that transform your editing from subjective to objective.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short — Copywriting for Marketing Materials

February 21, 2010

December 2001 Printips

The ability to write effective copy is an important skill to acquire if you are part of your company’s marketing team.