The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman

This article was inspired by Joseph Sugarman's The Adweek Copywriting Handbook . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How to Become a Great Copywriter

“You can have the world’s best product or service, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, you have nothing.”

The best copywriters take advantage of their life experiences as a means of creating fresh, alluring ads. Don’t expect to create a perfect first draft. Copywriting requires practice, and editing will help you sharpen up your ideas.

There are two aspects of printed advertisements that must capture the reader’s, if they are to read the rest of your ad:

  1. “Headline” – Seduces readers into examining your subheadline.
  2. “Subheadline” – Expounds on the headline and serves as a transition into the ad’s text.

Additional features that bolster the ad include “photo or drawing, caption, copy, paragraph headings, logo, price, response device and overall layout.”

Every word in your ad should have emotional connotations to it. Facts bolster the advertisement, but customers by based on emotion.

To write good copy, follow these seven steps:

  1. Become an expert on the product you wish to sell.
  2. Understand your costumer. What compels him or her to buy?
  3. Create a concise headline and subhead that will attract readers.
  4. Write a rough draft. You can correct grammar and punctuation errors after creative brainstorming.
  5. Eliminate wordiness and correct errors. Editing is essential for a stellar final product.
  6. Let it sit. Revisit your work after clearing your mind.
  7. Produce your final draft after taking time away from it. If necessary, use steps five and six again.

The look of your ad matters, so use a typeface that is easy to read. Serif type is best. Use technical explanations when necessary (they demonstrate an understanding of the product). Don’t leave out any valuable information, as shoppers will use uncertainty as an excuse to ignore the commodity.

Never hide the price! If your offer is cheaper than a rival’s, make this abundantly clear to the consumer. Make it easy for consumers to order your product, and ask them to do just that.

“Psychological triggers” can persuade buyers. Using phrases that give readers the chance to experience what it feels like owning your product, you can boost your target’s mental participation in the ad. Use narratives. Stories, especially when told conversationally, help buyers connect with you and trust your product. Give consumers a justification for spending. Deals appeal to the prospective purchaser’s greed, and the guarantee of a full refund demonstrates your faith in the product. Give people the impression that owning a commodity will make them part of a larger social group. Fads are useful, if you take advantage while they’re still popular.

Use buyers’ anxieties to your advantage. Shopping deadlines will motivate consumers to purchase sooner than later.

Have direction in your ad. From the catchy headline and subhead to a clever explanation of the logic of making this purchase, your ad should tell customers an emotional story of the happiness your product will bring them.

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