The Structure of Persuasive Copy

Copywriting 101

We’ve seen that the purpose of each element of copy is designed to get the first sentence read, and from there keep the reader engaged step by step to the conclusion.

We know to keep things clear, concise and simple so that our writing communicates with ease.

And we definitely understand the make-or-break importance of an attention-grabbing headline.

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How to Write Headlines That Work

Copywriting 101

Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.

But a headline can do more than simply grab attention. A great headline can also communicate a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.

At its essence, a compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit or reward for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more.

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To Be or Not to Be?

Copywriting 101

Now that’s a question.

The first six words of Hamlet’s Act III, Scene 1 soliloquy are without doubt the most famous line William Shakespeare ever wrote. It’s also one of the most recognizable quotes in the English-speaking world.

And not a single word over three letters long.

The lesson? Keep it simple. Good copy is written in clear, concise, simple words that get your point across. It’s conversational.

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SEO Copywriting is Dead

Before we get further into our “Copywriting 101” series of posts, I thought I’d tell you what NOT to expect.

If you’re here looking for tips on SEO copywriting for your blog, you’ll want to look elsewhere. But you’re probably wasting your time.

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Fame, Love, Redemption, Violence…

Given the topic of today’s article, I just had to link to this Times Online (UK) article (via Seth Godin). Seth calls it the “headline of the year,” and I have to agree it’s an excellent example of a compelling attention grabber:

Eminem remarries sweetheart he vowed to murder

Even if you don’t give a flip about Eminem, how do you resist reading that story?

Want to write compelling post titles? Appeal to the recurring themes that define our humanity.

Don’t Read This or the Kitty Gets It!

Copywriting 101

Poor Fluffy. I asked you not to do this, and you’ve gone and broken the rules.

Things don’t look good for this cute little kitten I’ve taken hostage in case my demands were not met. She is awfully sweet, though.

We’ll just have to wait until later on in the article to decide the fate of Fluffy. But first, we really do need to discuss the ultimate goal of good copywriting.

Stick with me and I’ll go easy on the cat, deal?

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