Pack a Punch with Your Copy

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November 5, 2014
Pack a Punch with Your Copy
Image licensed under CC-by-2.0. Author: Peter Harrison

Image licensed under CC-by-2.0. Author: Peter Harrison

Unlike in a verbal conversation, there is no second chance for the copywriter to grab the attention of the receiver. Your copy will need to instantly hook your reader and start pressing his or her buttons to maximise the chances of them responding in the way you want (buying a product, clicking a link, visiting a page, etc.)

Here are a few tips to invigorate your writing:

Use Power Words
Psychologists have found that certain words are so powerful that they can actually cause physical changes, for example speeding up or slowing down the heart rate. There is much debate among copywriters as to those words which command attention, but two words crop up time and time again: ‘you’ and ‘because’. It seems that we find it hard to resist being addressed directly, or to being presented with a ’cause and effect’ scenario.

I am also a big believer that words related to sex and death are inherently powerful. The following blogger organises power words into categories.

Power Words Blog

Do you have power words that you find particularly compelling? Let me know in the comments.

Paint a Picture – or Write a Melody
This does not mean you have to wax lyrical about the benefits of your product and service. Try using the power word ‘imagine’, before engaging the five senses by talking about sensations and experiences rather than dry facts. An advanced tip is to slip into the modality of the person you are addressing. For example, a group of musicians might respond to phrases like: ‘does that sound like a good idea?’ or ‘feel in tune with your surroundings’, while a chef might react favourably to a ‘tasty suggestion’ or a ‘life full of flavour.’

Cut down on jargon

Unless you are certain that your audience will understand your industry terminology, opt for using clear, simple language. In fact, long words in general are best avoided. Avoid the other extreme as well; there is a fashion for short, snappy phrases but overusing these can come across as ‘salesy’ and insincere. Opt instead for a natural conversational rhythm which mixes short sentences with longer ones. Always read your copy aloud before sending it as this will help you decide whether it ‘reads right.’

Good luck and, as always, please respond with your own tips.