The biggest mistakes that writers make

by Jeff Rutowski on March 15, 2013

Looks like I got your attention. Headlines are one of the most important elements of any copy that you can write. If you can’t draw a reader in to your article, then you are wasting your time. Seems pretty simple, right?

Headlines determine somewhere around 80% of the success of any article or email. Most people will scan headlines and make a decision to read or pass in under 2 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to make an impression and draw people in.

Your headline should absolutely draw your reader in but it has a couple of other roles as well. Your headline should also create interest and a desire to learn more about your product and service. Ultimately, your headline sets the tone for your copy but is should also initiate the urge to buy. It’s a tickler.

Most people resist being aggressive when they write their sales copy because they fear that they might offend. I would suggest that you need to be much more “in their face” than you may be comfortable with. Think about all of the furniture, carpet or automobile ads on television that you see where the salesman is screaming at the top of his lungs for you to HURRY DOWN TO JOHNNY’S CARPET TODAY! What’s more aggressive than yelling? Why do so many advertisers follow this approach? Because it works.

Some of the biggest mistakes that writers make is that they are too polite and too subtle. Get aggressive with your copy. Be outrageous but truthful. You want to create an impression. You want to motivate to action. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind for your copy:

1. Use some of the 12 most persuasive words in the English language. Of those, the word you is one of the most powerful. Here’s the full list: You, money, save, results, easy health, safety, love, discovery, proven, new, guarantee.

2. Get the headline right. Your headline can be long or short–both can be effective. Make it as long as necessary to get the message across.

3. Speak to your reader. Use personal pronouns and familiar terms when you’re talking to people. Make it sound like a conversation that you’re having. “I am talking to you. I have the solution that you need to fix your problem. There are lots of people in your town who use our product.”

4. Provide accurate and specific details. Earlier I said to be outrageous but you still have to be believable. Don’t stretch the facts but certainly provide them in the best light possible.

5. Keep the adult reader in mind. We’re all busy and busy adult readers like to scan. To scan is to survive. That means:

  • Use bulleted and numbered lists in your copy;
  • Use bold face fonts to highlight important points;
  • Use simple sentences;
  • Use short paragraphs.; and
  • White space is better.

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