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Five Easy Pieces of Copywriting to Capture Eyeballs

January 16, 2012

blowing horn to get attentionTrying to grab a customer’s attention these days is  like standing up in a roaring crowd during a major sporting event and yelling, “Hey, pay attention to me!” With the amount of stimuli we’re bombarded with constantly, you need to haul out a blow horn to capture someone’s attention. (article by guest blogger, Joan Gale Frank**)

Here are five easy pieces for writing compelling copy that cuts through the noise of the crowd:

1.         Make Your Copy Easy To Notice – Your first step is to create a short, punchy headline to make people stop and focus on you. This is the equivalent of yelling, “Fire!” when standing in a crowd. It’s a compelling announcement that directly affects the audience. For you to affect your intended audience, your headline needs to promise a solution to a problem, arouse curiosity, warn of a danger, deliver a piece of unexpected news or bust through a common belief and stir up controversy.

Consider the headline, “Sugar found to aid in healthful weight loss.” Many people viewing this would stop what they’re doing and read on. It’s controversial news that arouses curiosity. Now lace your statement with relevant keywords and you’ll create a headline that will get the attention of your audience and search engines.

2.         Make It Easy To Connect With You – Write your copy as if you’re having a conversation with one person in your audience. Relate to them. Use the sacred words “you” and “yours”. People will stay focused on your message if they think you’re talking directly to them – and you understand their needs and problems.

It’s similar to chatting with guests at a party; they’re more likely to stick around if you’re friendly, conversational, and keep the topic centered around their interests. But, start talking about a new office procedure you’re implementing, or the history of your company, and they’ll likely wander off in search of a more relatable topic.

3.         Make It Easy To Remember – Because we take in so much information daily, much of it dissipates within moments of receiving it. But what sticks in our minds are stories, analogies and mental pictures. For example, if I told you the Eiffel tower is 1063 feet high, you might not remember that fact. But, if I told you the Eiffel tower is the length of three football fields laid end to end, you’ll probably remember that next week, and possibly ten years from now.

So layer your words with stories and images, including stories about how customers achieved success by using your product or service. This is what makes infomercials so diabolically influential – they weave stories, images and analogies together into a memorable message. Think different - apple ad

4.         Make It Easy To Read – What grabs our attention is the rare message that our eyes can’t help but absorb. This means creating short, artistic blocks of copy that almost read like poetry. The eyes can’t help but digest them. As a scriptwriter, I learned to format my scripts so narrators could read them easily and quickly in a sound booth. The simpler the lines were, the easier it was for narrators to focus on the words and avoid making mistakes.

And it works just the same with your audience. The easier your messages are to read, the stronger their focus. It’s also a good idea to read your copy out loud and listen to the structure and balance of your sentences. Do your words flow smoothly or do they sound clunky and cumbersome when you hear them out loud? The more visually and auditorily streamlined your messages are, the longer your audience will keep reading them.

5.         Make It Easy To Take The Next Step – Your message should entice readers into taking a simple, follow-up step that will benefit them. This is your “call to action.” Recently, a yoga instructor asked me to review the ad copy she had been running in her local weekly newspaper, but not getting any response. She asked me whether, if I was a reader, I would visit her website after seeing her ad. I had to say “No.” The ad contained beautiful imagery, a list of yoga courses and the instructor’s contact information, but there was nothing to lure me in further.

So we added this simple statement: “Two free classes for signing up online by the end of next month.” These few words made all the difference between people taking the next step and signing up for their free classes, or turning the page of the magazine.

If you follow these five easy pieces of copywriting, you will find that your audience is much more likely to stop, look and remember you, and then take the most important next step – get in touch with you so you can start building a relationship.

**Note: Our guest blogger Joan Gale Frank, is a marketing and content writer, living in Portland, Oregon. She is also the author of Instant Guts!, Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them, and the House Selling Blues Blog. She can be reached at joanf@vom.com

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