Article marketing copy that grabs attention...
... promotes trust and makes readers want to buy is rarely among the skills possessed by entrepreneurs starting a home business.
Just a couple of days ago I added this piece of advice to a post I was sharing on one of the social networks… I said, “Write with abandon…” It was my attempt to convey the idea of loosening up when you write and not sound too formal. You don’t want to sound like a corporate bureaucrat.
But D Bnonn Tennant, the Information Highwayman, said it best. He said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” Man, I wish I had said that. That was so brilliant; I just had to read the rest of his article, Five Ways to Write Magnificent Copy.
Let me share some highlights and if it grabs you as it did me I encourage you to read the entire article.
He begins with the premise that all copy can be improved. Many of us “settle” for ok copy when with just a little effort we could make it much better. Mr. Tennant says, “A little attention to the final details can kick “pretty good” to “magnificent.”
Attention-getter that he is, taking my writing from pretty good to magnificent seemed worth exploring further. Especially when he claimed it could be done by applying “some simple principles.”
He begins with my favorite:
1. Write drunk; edit sober
Now you don’t have to take this literally. I don’t really mean you should be downing rum as your fingers meander with increasing sluggishness and inaccuracy over your keyboard.
I’m looking at the principle behind this gem from Papa Hemingway. The principle which is absolutely vital to producing compelling copy that gets people reading and buying: you must sound real.
Persuasion is mostly a matter of education and building trust, and it’s hard to build trust when you write like a corporate drone.
Now this is a tall order for those of us who came out of a corporate environment and spent most of our careers writing business letters, reports, proposals, and policies and procedures in a way that we thought were professional. It will take more effort and we will constantly have to remind ourselves as we write our copy to loosen up and write with abandon.
2. Sleep on it
In the cold light of a new day, all writing seems slightly less marvelous and slightly more open to improvement.
With the perspective that a night away from writing will give you, you’ll see that what you thought was a flawless masterpiece could actually do with a tweak here and a sharp cut there. The changes you make at this stage are 80% of what you need to turn good copy into magnificent copy.
Do you have deadlines for your copy? Whether self-imposed or boss-imposed, deadlines can be an obstacle to “sleeping on it.” It will require some discipline and planning to make sure you complete what you think could be you final draft at least 24 hours before your deadline.
3. Get a friend to read it aloud
When you read your work aloud, you pick up on problems with the flow that your eye would otherwise skip over. It’s even better to get someone else to read it aloud, because they aren’t expecting odd turns of phrase, whereas you, after spending ten minutes obsessing over it yesterday, are.
You may have heard this before but how many people actually do it. I know; we feel a little self-conscious reading our copy aloud but we need to get over ourselves and do it because experts like Mr. Tennant tell us it works. Your draft will rarely emerge unchanged from this exercise.
These are just three snippets of the five simple principles that Mr. Tennant says will take your writing to a new level. The remaining two are no less significant:
- Use the breath test – A simple way to determine if your sentences are too long.
- The passive voice should be rewritten – Learn the difference between “passive” and “active” voice and why “active” is better.
I hope I have whetted your appetite enough for you to read the original article in its entirety.
Now get out there and "write drunk and edit sober!" (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)
P.S.: Please click the “Like” button, share with your friends, and leave your comments. I look forward to hearing from you, or answering your questions.