I’m going to tell you a secret.
It’s a copywriting secret that the immortals — from Aristotle to Ogilvy to Draper — have known, but few have stated as directly as I’m about to.
By now, you know the standards of effective copywriting …
Know your audience. Know your product cold. Research. Nail the headline. Write plainly, in the language of your audience. Research more. Write fascinating bullets. Craft a great offer. Include a strong call to action. Et cetera.
These elements are the standard for good reason. They get the job done.
This little truth I’m about to tell you is the foundation that makes all the rest of it work.
Ready for it?
reader want to read the next sentence you write.
Yes, this entire business of copywriting, persuasion, and sales can be boiled down to that simple statement.
The headline only exists to get the first sentence read.
The first sentence only exists to get the second sentence read. And so on, pulling the reader right through your page, story, bullets, and call to action.
It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult. The secret is in the line.
The headline of this post makes use of the word “Art.” I didn’t choose that word arbitrarily. Copywriting is art as much as it is science.
A great headline is followed by a single compelling sentence that engages the reader’s interest. And then another, followed by another, and another.
Don’t worry, you won’t be able to pull it off all the time. Hell, you won’t even pull it off most of the time. Even the copywriting greats didn’t write perfect sales pages.
But many got close.
If you keep the raw horsepower of The Single Line in your mind and in your gut as you work, you’re going to make something good.
And when you make something good, all those lines are going to go to work for you, day and night, for a long, long time.
Demonstrate the benefits, not the features.
And do it all by deliberately crafting each sentence to honestly, accurately, and entertainingly tell your product’s story.
You’d better get to work.
About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter and Resident Recluse.