Why reinvent the wheel?
It's a gnawing question in copywriting, because on the one hand, it's a creative activity...
... and on the other hand, it's a science, a function of statistics, an outcome of successful tests.
That is, so few things really work when you write copy (by "work," I mean: "get results"), that you don't want to go off on a wild creative tear just because of an impulse, or because it feels good, or because it's entertaining.
But... if your copy is in any way shape or form boring, then you won't get any results either.
Now that I've got you on the horns of my daily dilemma, I'm going to take you somewhere you didn't expect to go.
See, at this point, most experts in the field would talk about "swipe files" - using proven models of copy to create new copy.
I'm a strong believer in that myself. But it's not what I want to talk about here.
What I want to talk about is checklists. Yes, checklists.
In conversation with this blog's Executive Contributor, Jim Van Wyck, I rediscovered the power and importance of checklists. In a new book I'm writing, each chapter will have a very specific and valuable kind of checklist. (In fact, my goal is to make each checklist alone worth the cover price of the book.)
For now, let me say that the only copywriter I know who has told me he uses checklists is the amazing Michel Fortin, who is famous for having created six- and seven-figure sales days on the Internet with his copy.
Coincidence? You tell me.
I'm going to give you a short checklist just so you can't say I never did anything for you... well, you can say it, but I can always point back to this checklist:
My best current client emailed me this morning and asked me to write a business letter with a particularly personal tone. His reasoning was sound. So I am going to give you short checklist you can use to determine if your copy has a personal tone, too:
1) Is it written in the second person (using the word "you," and even the reader's name)?
2) Is the language conversational, rather than stiff and formal?
3) Are the words short?
4) Are the sentences short?
5) Are the paragraphs short?
6) If you read it out loud, does it sound like something you would actually say in a real conversation?
Now, if you have any checklists you have created, or used from some other source, I'd like to invite you to share them in the comments section for this post. Checklists make up an area of copywriting that has been discussed far too little until now.
Publisher, World Copywriting Newsletter