Giving Your Message the ‘X Factor’

copywriting x factorHow to make your copy stand out

We are surrounded by marketing messages every day.

You can’t hide from them. Whether it’s the TV, magazines, radio, buses, taxis, billboards etc. everywhere you look, everywhere you go, someone is trying to sell you something.

So, if you’re one of those companies, how do you get your message to stand out from everyone else’s?

Well, it has a lot to do with your information presentation.

As a copywriter, my focus is always on the message, but I am well aware that colour, graphics and layout play a big part in the way an advert or message is received (even though, ultimately, it’s the words that will do the convincing and selling).

When it comes down to it, if you want your message to be seen, think about how it is presented.

Information presentation

There are 5 very simple things you can do to make sure your message isn’t ignored. I’m sure there are other things too (if you can think of any, leave a comment and share them with us), but these are my top 5.

1. Verb

Don’t worry, I’m not about to launch into a grammar lesson. But starting your heading with a verb instead of a noun will help it pack more of a punch.

A verb is a ‘doing word’ making it active, and if it’s talking about something you like doing, you’ll be more inclined to read on.

2. Short and sweet

Nope, I’m not about to dive in to the ‘long copy verses short copy’ argument. In this case, short and sweet refers to your sentence structure. Keeping them short will aid readability. They get across ideas succinctly. They keep your reader interested.

3. Another short and sweet

Your paragraphs should also be – you guessed it – short and sweet.

A page with lots of white space and short chunks of text will look far more attractive than a page with solid text.

Psychologically, it makes the reader think the information will be easy to read.

4. Loud

Once you’ve written your copy, do you ever read it out loud?

If you don’t, you should. Reading out loud will give you a whole new perspective on it. Plus, it will help you spot areas that sound clumsy or repetitive.

5. Check-list

After writing and refining your copy, check to make sure it is:

•    Concise (think short sentences and paragraphs)
•    Informative (and relevant)
•    Attractive (lots of white space, readable font etc.)

If you can tick all 3, you’re well on your way to making your message stand out from the crowd.

Over to you

Can you think of any other ways to make sure your message stands out?

Leave a comment below and share them.

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#1 David on 01.03.12 at 9:57 am

Great list!

I would add that a good headline is vital. Without a good headline, it’s likely your copy won’t be read.

“On the average, 5 times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that, unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money.” ~ David Oglivy

#2 admin on 01.03.12 at 10:03 am

Thanks David – a very valuable point.

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