“We are a country in which words matter, and words can change minds.” – Ken Burns
Here are my 5 copywriting rules. Written in isolation in between blogs posts, poetry, product descriptions and SEO auditing.
1. Write the way you talk to your best friend, but in a consistent way. “Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.” – Shirley Polykoff
2. Start with the truest sentence that you know (That is Hemingway, not me)
If written well, all stories are true. Be authentic and play with your imagination that will arrange words in different shapes to fill the truest contours of the shortest sentences that you can write. Each line should play off of each other.
3. Find balance in your writings. If you feel that your story lacks poise, shape it with the right words. Play with it and when finished read it aloud. Your ear will pick up the irregularities you cannot see on paper. I always read and record my poems before publishing. That’s how I spot the unpolished lines.
3. Simplicity. First line, second line. The goal of your first line of copy is to get people to read the second line. The goal of your second line is to get them to write the third, etc. Everything you write must be copy. Even if you are writing an ordinary email, or a request for offer.
4. Your copy is about the reader, not about you. It’s OK to write in the first person. That’s how people talk. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the reader “You” is more powerful than “I”. Who’s “I” and why should I care? I, the reader, care about myself and not about you, the writer.
5. Fill your copy with real examples of you and of your work. To let people know you’re real. Take screenshots of tweets, blog posts and articles published. They will boost up any email, blog post, or landing page.
“A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.” – from Seth
No matter what you sell or do, do it right and well. Even if you don’t sell gold, leave an impression and a mark. Get the job done. If possible, leave a trail of delight that later will lead them back to you. And whatever you do, ask a simple question: Can I get away with it? Can I get away with my story/presentation/performance? We are all non/artists until we propose ourselves to put our passions into practice and become entrepreneurs.
“Art is what you can get away with.”– Andy Warhol
Excerpt from Get Away with Entrepreneurship written in 2016.