There are days when words flow like a beautiful painting on an easel. And then there are those days when all you can think of is that mind-numbing deadline around the corner. Regardless of whether you feel like a painter or a handyman, the fact is that you have to keep your reader interested in what you have to say.
I know that the title for this article reminds you of exercises that can help you lose three kilograms in three days. However, there is no magical potion or magic wand that you can wave and gain readership instantaneously.
Having said that, there are a few exercises that you can rely on to ensure that your readers will be able to receive the message you intend to give. Without further ado, here are the exercises that will help you refresh your copy.
Echo: If you are reading this then that implies to me that you are already looking to better your copy writing skills. Re-iterating what you are already looking for is just going to turn you away from my writing.
When you are writing, look for the reader’s “need”. Once you zero in on what the reader is looking for, the rest of your article should focus on that need. The following exercises will help you fatten up your argument without repeating yourself.
Straightforward: Let us imagine that you were writing about home improvement projects. Drawing from personal experience you are aware of all the pitfalls that a Do-It-Yourself project brings. In order to get your reader’s attention the article your headline needs to be authoritative and blunt. One possibility of a headline is, “Getting DIY projects done on time”.
Pin the problem: Once the headline gets the attention of your reader, the opening paragraph is the next thing in his line of vision. One sure fire way to nail the opening paragraph is to speak directly to the reader.
For example, “Yes, that dresser table you began work on was supposed to be completed weeks ago. The setbacks with the glass inserts and the amount of work that it took set you back by weeks. While it is frustrating, you can finish your DIY projects on time and with panache.”
The opening lines tell your reader that you are aware of their situation and that you have a potential solution. The whisper of a potential easy solutions is going to keep your audience interested.
Show the solution: The rest of your article should talk about a plan that your reader can follow in order to complete projects without frustrating delays.
The best way to get your DIY project done on time is to have a checklist of things that you can tick off as you go along. An evaluation of the amount of work and materials required is the first step you should be taking.
This way your reader will get hold of a tangible plan that they can use to achieve the results that you speak of. Flesh out the plan and make it as complete as you can.
Engage: Reeling in the reader and making him a part of your story is crucial to holding the reader’s attention. Using a scenario that the reader will be a part of, is one way to ensure that your reader is engage in your writing.
For example, you could say, “Imagine creating a feature wall in your home, all by yourself. Now think about doing it without the frustration of un-met schedules and timelines. The ability to say yes to every home project without getting an ulcer is a gift beyond compare.”
Challenge: “If you are reading this disbelieving that you can get your hands dirty and finish the work on schedule, let’s take a little test, shall we? Look around you, chances are that you will find a home improvement project that you have been putting off for a while now. It does not have to be big. Maybe there is a new drapery set that you need to hang. Apply my plan and you can see your drapery up and beautifully so, before you know it.”
When you challenge your reader, it motivates them to try the product you are talking about. It brings fruition to your copy.
Testimonials: Testimonials offer a different perspective to your readers. They focus on the benefits to direct consumers. Focus on finding testimonials in which consumers speak of specific results or benefits that they have received from the product. A fair word of warning is to never rely on fake testimonials. False testimonials will only cut into your credibility as a copywriter.
Expert voice: People through all walks of life believe in experts rather than in the words of wisdom of a layman. Therefore, although everything you say makes perfect sense to you, it might not be sufficient for your reader. If you were to inject an expert opinion to support your theory, chances are that your ideas will be better received.
Think about magazines or online journals where quotes can be found, a dime a dozen.
Comparisons: A dramatic method to bringing the product you are writing about in sharp relief is to hold it up in contrast with another similar product.
- For example, you might say, “Not all home improvement projects need to be DIY projects. You might think about having handymen come in and fix all the problems. However, having experts come in and fix the issues will cost you money. DIY projects also bring in that personal touch especially with décor.”
- Negative implications
What are you saving your reader from? Speaking about the positive aspects of the product you are writing about is fine. But what about the reasons why your reader should invest in your product?
For example, you might want to speak about the rising home improvement bills that he will wind up paying if he does not dive in and do some work. Using your DIY plan will also help him save resources as he can plan the appropriate budget, tools and time.
Agitating the problem is easy. There is however a fine line between motivating and scaring your reader. Tread the line carefully and you will have a growing readership in no time.
Once you have communicated all the information you hold, it is important to summarize and close your article with a call to action. For example you can say, “We will help you go from being zero to a complete and dashing home improvement hero with one simple project. All you have to do is roll your sleeves and get ready to work along our plan.”
While all the exercises are useful, you don’t have to implement every single one of them in every copy. Try one exercise in one article, as with everything else, practice does make perfect. Happy writing times to you!
If you have any copy writing tips that can help writers get words flowing like paint on an easel then give us a shout out. Leave your comments below.