Are You a Copywriting Lemming?

As a copywriter I like my work to inspire, entertain and inform my readers so they can make the right buying decision for them – that obviously being the particular product or service that I happen to be writing about.

However, as in the slightly distorted words of Jane Austin, ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of a sales letter, will be in close proximity of a rubbish bin’

Why? Because people don’t like them. They see them as an intrusion and believe that their only benefit is that they can be recycled and made into something more useful.

It doesn’t matter how long you spend writing that letter, if it is unsolicited it is unlikely to be read. Therefore you need to find yourself a brilliant freelance copywriter who can grab your reader’s attention by writing the best sales letter known to man.

The quality of your letter begins even before you have opened a new blank document. Let me ask you a question; before you write do you sit down and work out a plan? You would be surprised at the number of people who don’t. Think back to your school days, I bet your teacher always told you to plan your essays and when you finally took that advice your grades began to rise. So why not do the same for your sales writing? Let’s face it writing without a plan is rather like wading through treacle.

Remember, whatever you write must evolve around your reader. Think about:

  • Who am I writing to? – this is your ideal reader, you know, the image that is now in your head
  • What do I want to say? – focus on your reader’s needs not yours
  • How much space do I have? – know your word count before you start
  • How do I want to come across? – friendly, approachable, authoritative, unbiased…
  • What’s my deadline? – always important to know
  • What do I want to achieve?

The last one is the holy grail of your letter. Is your letter designed to make your reader change their mind about something? Do you want to motivate them into an action? Do you want them to buy something?

Your plan is taking shape. You know who they are, you know what you want them to do, now you can tell them why your product/service is right for them and what it will do for them (the benefits) and you know how to tell them what to do next (call to action).

If you are time-limited it is tempting to skip the planning stage and dive in – be warned, you will do so at your peril and your letter will be turned into a paper cup. Of course there is one way that you can save yourself the time it takes to plan and execute a brilliant sales letter – hire a copywriter!

Sally Ormond

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Copywriting has to be effective whether long or short copy | Freelance Copywriters Blog on 12.27.08 at 6:05 pm

[…] is one golden rule to remember though when writing long copy (and short for that matter) – always plan, plan, plan. If you don’t you will turn off your reader and they will be lost […]

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