10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Copy
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
1. Punch up your headline. Your reader may never make it to the first sentence if the headline doesn’t do its job. Proven strategies to keep ‘um reading?
• Arouse curiosity with a provocative question or startling statement
• Hook them with a challenge: What's YOUR love language?
• Include an unexpected twist or paradox, or make them smile
• Allude to well-known titles, lyrics or expressions
• Provide a list: 10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Copy
• Offer help: How to launch a home business in your spare time
• Use a news style headline: ‘Teen’s invention saves lives’
• Quote a key player in your story
• Appeal to basic human needs for health, security, comfort, belonging, love, fun, ease, success, pleasure, appreciation, self-esteem, learning.
2. Write to one person, not the crowd. Ideally, address one real or imagined representative of your perfect target audience, a 'buyer persona.' Make it all about them: their fears, their needs, their goals, their desires, and of course how you can help. Shoot for two “you’s” for every “I.”
3. Go for an emotional hook in the very first line: a question, a promise, a secret, a problem to be solved. Create tension and intrigue by arousing curiosity. I can often find my hook by eliminating my prologue (blah blah blah) and getting right to the emotional heart of the message.
4. Use everyday language in your writing and find your own voice. Make it personal, conversational, even irreverent or sassy if that’s your style. Incomplete sentences are allowed. “You’re” is casual and familiar. “You are” is more formal. Keep your words simple (think 8th grade level) and your sentences and paragraphs short.
5. Tell relevant stories to capture your reader’s imagination and shift them out of left-brain analytical thinking. Inject your personality into the story as if telling it to a friend. No need for a beginning-middle-end story. “This happened” or “What if this happened?” or “You know when this happens?” all work. Add enough detail to bring it to life. Include metaphors, irony, examples, and suspense when appropriate.
6. Communicate just one core idea per paragraph. Let every sentence support that one idea.
7. Go strong on action verbs. Try to turn every passive “is, am, are, was, and were” into a power packed, active verb. “She is opening the door” can become “She flings open the door.” This practice tends to tighten up your copy as well as add interest.
8. Use subheads to make long blocks of copy skimmable (for an overview) or scannable (for specific information). Before writing your body copy, write five or more short lines of text that outline what you want to say. Then BOLD these phrases and put them to work as subheads.
9. Provide proof for your claims in the form of testimonials, success stories, before & after photos, explanations for how things work, charts, diagrams, and guarantees. The analytical brain wants to justify what the emotional brain desires. Try for specific, concrete language:
“32 studies" has more authority than “research shows..."
10. Include a call to action or a way for the reader to apply what you’re sharing. What do you want them to do? Click a link? Contact you? Donate? Volunteer? Buy? Make a change? Use future tense language in your close that assumes the sale or compliance with your request.