Why good copy goes bad (you’re not dumb, you’re just ignorant)

ignorant copywriterOne of the worst mistakes copywriters make is to assume their job is about writing. It’s not.

Now I know that sounds a bit odd. After all, the word “writing” is in the word “copywriting.” So it’s understandable why you might misunderstand.

But writing and copywriting are two very different things.

When you write a novel or a poem, readers wants great words. They enjoy the rhythm, the imagery, the wordplay. People expect this kind of writing to deliver a certain art and beauty.

When you write websites, ads, white papers, or other business materials, readers simply want information. They don’t care about the artistry. They aren’t looking for beauty. They just want to find out how to solve a problem or meet a need.

This isn’t to say that copywriting can’t be well-crafted. It should be. But it should be crafted in such a way that the words disappear and the meaning shows through. I like to think of good copywriting as if it’s a toy store window, clean, polished, and invisible, providing a clear view of the wondrous goodies inside.

So when copywriters forget that their job is to convey meaning, to connect with needs, to influence and persuade, they focus on the words alone and create, well … crap. When you do this, it’s not that you’re stupid. It’s just that you’re ignorant.

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Self-mailer secrets and bingo card bombs – your direct mail questions answered

Q & A on direct mailHere are responses to some questions about creating effective direct mail and direct response advertising.

Q: We’ve tested self-mailers, but they never seem to work. What are we doing wrong?
A: As for what you’re doing wrong, I can’t possibly answer that question without seeing your self-mailers.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the format. I have created successful self-mailers for many clients, mostly for lead generation but also for direct sales. One of my clients uses self-mailers exclusively to sell books and videos to a business market.

A self-mailer works best when your audience is familiar with your company or your product category. The more you have to explain or the more credibility you have to build, the more likely a direct mail package will get a better response.

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