Presentation on theme: "Body Copy Writing for Readers Chapter 10 Adapted from 2013 SAGE Publications, Inc."— Presentation transcript:
Body Copy Writing for Readers Chapter 10 Adapted from 2013 SAGE Publications, Inc.
Where is body copy needed? Everywhere!! Ads Web/mobile content Collateral Direct marketing Reports, plans, books, proposals
Why include body copy in ads? “Considered” or high involvement purchases (e.g. drugs) call for more information Differentiation of products (how are two seemingly similar brands actually different?) Communication of multiple features Explain difficult, complicated or controversial subjects (think political ads or advertorials) Complete the creative equation (headline, subhead, body copy, tagline, visual)
Four rules for writing body copy 1.Don’t write to impress. Write to persuade. 2.What you say is more important than how you say it. Well, usually… 3.Remember the rules of English but don’t always use them. 4.Write to the individual, not the masses. 5.Make it look inviting to read.
Body Copy Types Story – traditional, – has beginning, middle and end Bullet points – Efficient to read – Better suited for B2B ads; not as good for B2C ads – List bullets from most to least important One liners – Headline is the body copy!! – Good for established brands or transformational / imagery ads – Good for simple messages or messages that consumers can elaborate on themselves. No body copy at all – Good for established brands or transformational / imagery ads – Artistic ads with aesthetic appeal
Seven sins of copywriting 1.Advertising-ese “You’ve seen the rest, now try the best.” “New! Improved!” “… and more.” “!”
2. Bad taste -Sexist, vulgar, offensive copy Some would say: Go Daddy’s ads Seven sins of copywriting
Avoiding Sexist Language [Bly] Replace terms having “man” participles – “fireman” becomes “firefighter” Pluralize – “The manager develops his employees.” becomes “Managers develop their employees.” Avoid references to gender entirely – “The boss called a meeting of his staff.” becomes “The boss called a staff meeting.”
3. Deadwood BAD: “You can make more money from your customers and have safer operations by purchasing and using products made by Safeco.” BETTER: “Operate more profitably and safely with Safeco products.” … “In copywriting, the shortest distance between two points is a well edited phrase.” (Jordan) Seven sins of copywriting
4. Generic benefits BAD: “Good Housekeeping is one of the best-read publications in America.” BETTER: “Each month, more than five million readers pick up the latest issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.” [Bly] Seven sins of copywriting
5. Laundry lists “This computer features a dual core microprocessor, advanced cache memory with extreme-heat protection, precision ADI Radeon HD, and a Multi-in-one Digital Manager all for the low price of $799.” Seven sins of copywriting
6. Poor grammar Know the rules of grammar. Break them strategically where appropriate. - Apple Computer’s “Think Different” tagline -Dare to end a sentence with a preposition: -“The best destination to which you will ever travel.” becomes “The best destination you will ever travel to.” Seven sins of copywriting
Seven sins of copywriting 7. Wimpy words QUESTIONABLE: -Starting a sentence with “There”. -“that”: needed? -Use of passive voice, including forms of the verb “to be” – use active voice instead. -Not to be confused with SIMPLE words…
Power Writing Mix long and short sentences Most people avoid reading a series of long sentences strung together. This is a really, really, really long sentence and so will the next one be really, really long. This is a really, really, really long sentence and so will the next one be really, really long. This is a really, really, really long sentence and so will the next one be really, really long.
Power Writing Break a longer sentence into shorter sentences. Sentence fragments? No problem. (like these) Come eat, drink and have the time of your life. Eat. Drink. Have the time of your life.
Power Writing Use simple words when you can “Even the best-educated people don’t resent simple words.” (John Caples) Avoid MILLION DOLLAR phrases… Use ONE DOLLAR phrases instead. “Use” not “utilize” “Buy” not “purchase” “The only” not “The one and only”
Power Writing Write conversationally, i.e. the way you talk Most ads are conversational… -Don’t use jargon unless 95% of your audience will understand it. -Use “I, we, you and they, etc.” pronouns -Use contractions: “Here’s, I’m, you’d, etc.” -Speak what you’ve written out loud and check for verbal fluency.
Power Writing Match copy style to tone Serious ad subject (AIDS) = serious tone Prestige Product (BMW) = serious tone Fun, jovial product or typically “stale” product (entertainment / insurance) = fun, jovial tone
Power Writing [Bly] “You-Oriented” Copy BAD: “Our software is used by banking professionals to manage…” BETTER: “Our software helps you manage…”
Other cool rules and guidance [Bly] “Be specific about the problem, but mysterious about the solution.” – Example: “How a pickpocket can make your back pain better.”
Long vs. Short Copy Winston Cigarettes commercial quote: “It’s not how long you make it. It’s how you make it long.” Length of copy depends on three main factors: 1. The Product 2.The Audience 3.The Purpose of the Copy
Long vs. Short Copy The Product Does your product have lots of features and benefits to communicate? Is it simple or complex? High or low price? Need vs. want?
Long vs. Short Copy The Audience Do you have “fanatics” or people with basic minimum needs? Are your audience members pressed for time? Are your audience members used to long or short copy? Bly’s Involvement vs. Emotion Copy Length Grid: -High Involvement / High Emotion → Longer Copy -Low Involvement / Low Emotion → Shorter Copy -High Involvement / Low Emotion → Medium Copy -Low Involvement / High Emotion → Medium Copy
Long vs. Short Copy The Purpose Is your ad the “end of the (sales) road”? (“One-step” copy) What is the call to action? (if there is one) Are you driving the consumer to another medium (web, phone, store, sales rep, etc.) to offer deeper sales copy and/or transact? (“Multi-step” copy)
Tips for Long Copy Use markers and signposts to break up the text: Numbers, bullets, subheads, indentations, images, etc. Skip spaces to break up the text. The finished piece needs to look holistically inviting in order to attract readers. Layout is crucial.
Checklist for effective body copy Strong opening line in the body copy? Appeal to consumer’s point of view? Does body copy support the headline (and subheads)? Does it flow? Is it easy to read? Is it engaging throughout? Is it believable? Is it persuasive? Is it specific? Is it concise? Does it have a “call to action”? ** Note: The above items may vary in importance for a given communication objective.
Generating Copy Ideas Features/Benefits Lists Focus on the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – strong, unique benefit not offered by the competition Me-too products: Dramatize an unknown benefit or a known benefit in a compelling way. Create Primary and Secondary Promises – Example: You could either make 500% or 50% on your investment. Masterson’s Beliefs, Feelings and Desires model Bly’s 22 copy motivators
Bly’s 22 Copy Motivators To be liked To be appreciated To be right To feel important … (see Bly p. 90)
Examples Creative body copy… No headlines / muted headlines.
All copy. No visuals (except for gradient). Relatable storyline.
Copy can literally be “shaped” for stylistic emphasis.
Good headline, but overall a mediocre ad. Mediocre body copy at bottom.
Clever ad. Almost perfectly concise body copy. Ironic twist lightens the mood, makes a point and sells the experience.
Good use of sentence fragments and varying sentence lengths.
Workshop Activity: Turning Features Into Benefits Choose a product or concept Make a list of 3-5 product/concept features Translate each feature into a consumer benefit Write a short paragraph of body copy Example: – Feature: Computer has a high-speed chip that can withstand up to 1500 joules of heat. – Benefit: Your computer won’t crash when you’re running lots of programs. – “Computers can heat up quickly and crash – even with the simplest of activities. Dell computers are built to withstand the heat. So you can focus on your work instead of the weather.”
Workshop Activity: Using the Checklist to Evaluate Copy Effectiveness Rate a classmates’ body copy effort using this checklist. Answer “Yes”, “No” or “Not Applicable” to each of the items and comment upon each of your ratings. Strong opening line? Appeal to consumer’s point of view? Does body copy support the headline (and subheads)? Does it flow? Is it easy to read? Is it engaging throughout? Is it believable? Is it persuasive? Is it specific? Is it concise? Does it have a “call to action”? Comment on anything else ** Note: The above items will vary in importance for a given communications objective.