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Top ten tips for top copy
Given to you by leading copywriter Bill Fryer:

1 Review your copy. Do it over and over. Six or seven times or more.

2 Do not use long Latin words like "information" - use short Anglo-Saxon words like "facts". These words have more punch.

3 Avoid being clever and cryptic. Sometimes I see ads that take me weeks to work out what they mean. We are all too busy to be bothering with the clever stuff. If it can be understood by a half-wit with a two second attention span you probably have a winner.

4 Do not be handicapped by thinking that everything has to be "grammatically correct". When you are copywriting all that stuff goes out the window. Say it in the simplest way possible.

5 Use short sentences. And only contain one idea in every paragraph. Do not spend ages constructing enormously complex sentences with millions of clauses and sub-clauses.Also, be specific, state real figures, avoid things like "up to 5%" or "over 1,000". Avoid percentages and state real sums of money instead

6 State the facts and focus on the benefits the customer will get when he buys the product. Do not waffle. Every word needs to be earning its place in your copy. Do not be worried by length of copy. Testing shows that long copy sells more than short, and long headlines sell more than short. Your copy should be as long or as short as it needs to be to sell the product.

7 Speak the reader's language. Do what a salesman would do. Think about how you would sell the product to someone. The best copy often has a kind of speech type "you-and-me-talking" quality about it.

8 Visualise a person and write to them. Better still write as if you are writing to someone you already know who fits the target audience.Your Mum, a friend, whoever.

9 Use simple words that everyone understands then everyone will understand. Good copy is often criticised for having a childlike quality. This is deliberate; if a simple person can understand it, everyone can understand it.

10 And finally: read books on the subject. Study the work of the great men of advertising. Write, write and re-write. The way to get effective advertising is to test everything. Do not use full stops in headlines. And remember: good copy is like a river; you should be able to jump in at any point and be carried along by the flow.

©Bill Fryer 2001
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