To Write Your Own Copy or Not to Write Your Own Copy - That is the Question

Written by Jenny Bosworth

If you haven't yet learned to discern good copy from bad copy, you will have a difficult time writing your own. Tim, a graphic designer friend of mine, recently learnedrepparttar difference when he tried to write his own web copy.

Tim had a phenomenal website. His work was not onlyrepparttar 129392 best inrepparttar 129393 state, butrepparttar 129394 best in allrepparttar 129395 surrounding states. He had done high-end graphic work for a number of national clients. But suddenlyrepparttar 129396 work dried up.

Tim asked me to take a look at his website to tell him what I thought, not of his web copy, but of his work. However, being a professional copywriter, Tim's real problems glared out at me. His work was great. His copy sucked.

Not only was Tim's copy filled with spelling and grammar errors, but most of it was fluff. He included copy just to fill space, ignoringrepparttar 129397 fact that potential clients would want substantial information that could not simply be provided in samples of his work.

Tim made allrepparttar 129398 mistakes of a novice copywriter: awkward sentences, too much technical jargon, misused words and punctuation, andrepparttar 129399 worst mistake that any copywriter can make, lack of clarity and failure to communicate.

If copy doesn't communicate there is no purpose in it's existence. The number one communication barring culprit is unclear writing and confusing ideas.

When you write your own copy, keep in mind that, just because you know what you're thinking doesn't mean anyone else will. Most people can't get away with simply writing what they think. It's better to consider what your audience needs to hear.

Highly skilled copywriters follow approximately 7 basic guidelines. They may not follow all of them all ofrepparttar 129400 time, or they may follow all of them all ofrepparttar 129401 time. But you can be assured that they follow at least some ofrepparttar 129402 7 all ofrepparttar 129403 time:

1. Know Your Audience - Society is broken into different demographics: men, women, teenage girls, teenage boys, single moms, working moms, middle aged men, business people, Gen Xers, etc...The tone and focus of your copy depends on which demographic you need to target.

Before you even begin to write your copy, you must ask yourself:

*Who will be interested in my product or service? *Why will they be interested (Price, delivery, performance, reliability, service maintenance, quality efficiency, etc...) *What motivatesrepparttar 129404 buyer?

2. Understand Your Product or Service - You may think you've considered all aspects of your product or service, but here's a list of questions to ask yourself just in case:

*What are allrepparttar 129405 features and benefits of my product or service? *Which benefits arerepparttar 129406 most important? *How does my product differ fromrepparttar 129407 competition, and if it doesn't differ, how can I make it seem different? *Is my product/service a need or a want? *Does my product/service solve any existing problems? *Is my product/service reliable, efficient, economical, etc...? *Have people bought my product or service, and if so, what do they say about it? *Is my product available in different materials, sizes and models? *How quickly can my product/service be delivered? *Is my product/service guaranteed? If not, should it be?

3. Find your USP (unique selling point) - This is your product or service's most attractive and unique benefit fromrepparttar 129408 buyer's perspective. The USP should berepparttar 129409 focus ofrepparttar 129410 copy, around whichrepparttar 129411 mention of other benefits hover.

4. Write Benefit Oriented Copy - Inexperienced copywriters tend to focus onrepparttar 129412 featured product, company, or service, failing to mention how it will actually benefitrepparttar 129413 buyer. People are only interested in a product that says, "This is what I'm going to do for you."

How to tell if you are a literary snob

Written by David Leonhardt, The Happy Guy

"I don't know if I should put 'writer' on my business card," I murmured.

"Then don't," my wife said in her infinite wisdom. "Put 'author' on it."

"But if I put 'author' on, none of those big companies with overflowing coffers will want to hire me as a writer," I said, wondering if George Bush needed a speechwriter or if General Motors wanted someone to writerepparttar owner's manual for next year's Oldsmobile.

"Fine. Put 'writer' on your card then, and all those fancy people you give it to will know you can write for them."

"But writer looks so small," I pointed out. "I also want Fortune 500 companies to hire me as a speaker, and nobody important hires a writer to speak. They hire authors."

"OK, why don't you put both?" she offered.

"Ho, right. That'll impress them. A writer who can't even write his own business card with duplicating his redundancies," I said. "I might as well shoot myself with my own sword."

Inrepparttar 129390 end, I put "author", figuring I would get most writing jobs overrepparttar 129391 Internet, but when I speak live I would have to hand out cards to lots of people. An author's autograph would make those people giddy as strawberry Jell-O onrepparttar 129392 Amtrak Express. Those same people would search nervously for a graceful retreat fromrepparttar 129393 company of a mere writer.

What is it about being an author.? You can author an article or a report or just about anything. And you can berepparttar 129394 author of just about anything (including "your own misfortunes"). But you can't be "an author - period" unless you've published a book.

Big warning: writing a book does not count. I have a friend who wrote a book. That makes him a writer, not an author. When he publishes it, only THEN will he be a real author and only THEN will he be entitled to learnrepparttar 129395 authors' secret handshake. Don't try sneaking intorepparttar 129396 clubhouse onrepparttar 129397 scant pretext that your wrote a book. Anybody can write a book. Even a writer. You have to publishrepparttar 129398 book to get through these gates of glory.

But if my friend does publish, and he does become an author, and he does learnrepparttar 129399 secret hand shake, then he'll be ready to cross that threshold of pride when a reader he's never met before tells him, "I just couldn't put your book down."

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