A Copywriter’s How To: Five Easy Tips to Write A Perfect, Selling Ad

Hi everybody, headline goes here please

Image by reinvented via Flickr

Yes, I’m extemporizing . I’m a writer, it’s a habit.

But seriously, a perfect, selling ad? I lied. There’s no such animal as the perfect, works-every-time, selling ad. But I got you to read this far, didn’t I? That was the title’s purpose — see Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline.

However, I didn’t lie about these tips, though. They’re easy and fun to use.

Tip One: who’s the reader? (Or viewer, or listener if you’re writing for broadcast.)

Although you’re writing for a crowd, it’s easiest to write if you imagine you’re talking to one particular person.

You can even start writing your first draft with a salutation, as if you were writing a letter: Start with “Dear Elli”, and keep writing.

Who is this person? Is she old, young, married? Where does she live? What’s her life like? What does she want most? What’s she scared of? Why would she be interested in your product? What difference would it make in her life?

Professional copywriters spend a lot of time in this phase of the writing process. You can’t motivate someone if you don’t know who they are.

Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline

Your headline is vital. No one is looking for your ad. You’ve got to wave and yell at them to get their attention. If you don’t get their attention, no sale.

Write a trial headline to get yourself started. This probably won’t be the headline you’ll use. However, with a trial headline, you’ve got a corral for your copy. You’re writing to that headline.

When you’ve written a draft of the ad, force yourself, with a timer, to write another twenty headlines in five minutes. (Read the rest of the tips and write the benefits and the response before you write a draft.)

Don’t try too hard. Who cares if they’re all junk? You’re writing lots of headlines to get your subconscious mind to take you seriously, and throw up the PERFECT headline. You’ll never achieve this perfect headline with conscious thought. It’s a gift from your subconscious, but you have to goose it into cooperating.

You may find a headline you like more than your initial headline. Just substitute it, if it fits. If it doesn’t you can write another version of the ad to fit that headline’s concept.

Tip Three: Write the features first, then work out what the benefits are

Nobody buys a product (or a service) for its own sake. They buy because it benefits them in some way. The benefits are what you’re selling.

  • You’re not selling a German shepherd puppy; you’re selling an intelligent, loyal companion and family protector.
  • You’re not selling a car; you’re selling travelling comfort, prestige, and a sure-fire babe-magnet.
  • You’re not selling a book; you’re selling the adventure of a lifetime, love, romance, and sex.

To get a handle on this, take a sheet of paper and briefly list the features of your product or service on the left.

Then beside the feature, write the corresponding benefit that each feature provides.

Remember — use the benefits in your ad.

Tip Four: Don’t forget the response!

I’ve lost count of the number of ads I’ve seen everywhere from the Yellow Pages to full display ads costing thousands in magazines, where the copywriter and everyone else forgot the response.

You must tell the reader what you want him to do. You must ask for the sale. Ask the reader to do something: call a number, come into the store, or go to a Web site.

This is so important that when I’m writing an ad I always write the required response on a sticky note and tape it to a corner of my monitor. I tape it onto the screen itself, so I can’t miss it. (Yes, I have been guilty of forgetting the response. And very embarrassing it was too.)

Tip Five: Read it out loud

You’ve finished the final draft of your ad. Before you show it to anyone else, read it aloud.

You’ll pick up redundancies, awkward sentence construction and other gremlins when you read the copy aloud.

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

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How to Find Web Writing Jobs

If you’ve decided that working as a WAHM writer is the best work at home job opportunity for you, then you’ll need to figure out how to get writing assignments. Fortunately, when you work as a web writer there is no shortage of job opportunities. It all depends on where you look and how much research you are willing to do.

Web writing can break down into several different categories. Before you begin looking for work, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to get credit for your writing. If you insist on byline, you may have difficulty finding a lot of paying jobs. Byline jobs are out there if you look. However, the most money to be made is from working as a web ghostwriter.

Many WAHMs find success with ghostwriting. When you work as a freelance ghostwriter you provide writing services for clients who will then use the work as their own. Ghostwriting as a WAHM is a lucrative opportunity, especially when you focus on web writing. For the most part, the Internet is a text and image based platform. Companies and individuals who run websites constantly need text to make their websites attractive to visitors. Since writing is something that a lot of people would rather not do, this leaves plenty of opportunities for people who love to write.

Web writing WAHM need only an Internet connection, e-mail address and word processing program to get started. Your own website is not necessary, but it adds a touch of professionalism to your writing business. However, when you are first starting out you can get plenty of work without having a website.

There are several different categories of web writing. When you see the term “content writing” you will normally be providing text for an existing or new website. Your writing will have to be engaging and clear for website visitors. Article writers concentrate on providing articles for websites, newsletters and blogs. Generally, articles for the web are between 400 and 800 words each. Any more than that is difficult for readers to sit through while looking at a computer screen. Copywriters are challenged with putting readers in the mood to buy. They write copy for Internet sales letters and marketing sites. Ebook ghostwriters provide clients with full-length books on a variety of topics.

WAHMs who write need to be professional in their online presence. This means spell-checking all writing, including e-mails to clients. It is also a good idea to get an e-mail address that is specifically used for your writing. A personal e-mail address with a goofy handle will make you seem unprofessional. Your first and last name or a combination thereof is a good choice for your web writing e-mail address.

Writing for the Internet has a few differences from writing essays in school or writing for print magazines. Readers online have short attention spans, and you’ll need to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs clear.

The other difference is the use of “keywords” in certain writing assignments. Keywords are words that have been selected by your client to be used in the article. These words have been selected because they are Internet search terms and your client wants their website to show up for those search terms. Keyword articles will need you to use the word or phrase a specific number of times in the article. Sometimes it can be difficult to use the words without making it sound forced. Experienced web writers have developed ways to make the keywords flow naturally into their articles.

Once you’ve gotten a few web writing assignments under your belt, you can decide what type of web writing suits you best. You can find work on writing message boards, freelance writing job sites and classified ad sites like Craigslist. Whenever you apply for a job, make sure to include your contact information and a few well-selected writing samples.

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio