Is your copy writing putting people to sleep?
You cannot bore someone into giving you attention or buying your product or service. Writing good engaging copy is critical. Here are a few tips from Ogilvy on how to improve your copy.
PSA: The Iowa Farm illustration comes straight from Ogilvy. I’m not knocking the farmers. You’re all plenty amazing.
You ever get on LinkedIn and you see somebody’s got a post. It starts off with like a sentence and then there’s a little dot dot dot – and then it says, ‘ see more’ and you click that ‘see more’ and then suddenly it’s like there’s an enormous giant post. You’re like ‘oh my gosh… okay… I didn’t sign up for that. I’m not reading that. I’m done.’
I do this all the time and I have the feeling most people do this. But every now and then you’ve got to have a post or you’re trying to put out a piece of creative content where you need to kind of have some copy there for people to read. So it’s a good thing if you have a framework for how you do your copy.
So to help me out, I’ve been reading this book on marketing and advertising from David Ogilvy. It’s old school. He says that even back then, the average reader would only read about five
percent of the copy that was put out.
Like five percent.
So if you’re doing a whole essay they’re gonna read like the first sentence guys. That’s
what you get. You can’t bore people into buying your product or engaging with your service or to leave comments and stuff. You can only make people interested in it. So your copy can’t
be boring. It’s got to be interesting from the beginning.
So my biggest solution is to turn my copy into some element of story. I start with, ‘I had a problem and then this happened and then I solved my problem and here’s how I solved it.’
A story format goes a long way into making any post more interesting. Don’t just be like here’s some stats of the thing that will help your life get better. It does this. It does this. It does this. I mean I’m already asleep and so is everybody else.
Short sentences. Short paragraphs do best for sure.
Avoid difficult words. If you can use a simple word, use a simple word. Your goal is to engage everybody so you don’t want to have any reason for them to not engage with your content. So don’t use crazy difficult words.
Ogilvy’s got this story that when he was working with Dove, the Soap Company, he wanted to use the word ‘obsolete’ in the copy. Like their other soap is now obsolete. But then he realized that obsolete was one of those difficult words and so he got rid of it. Instead he used the word ‘old-fashioned’ which sounds even worse than obsolete. But he did this because he realized that not enough people back then across America knew what the word ‘obsolete’ even meant.
So if he had used the word ‘obsolete’ then he might have made his copy ‘obsolete.’
So Ogilvy says when you’re writing your copy keep this in mind. Imagine that you go and you live out on a farm somewhere. I don’t know in like Iowa or something. You’re living on a farm with that community for like six weeks and then you come home and then you have to write
your copy. Write it so that the people there would understand – and if you do that – it will create the best most readable copy.
Remember, only five percent of people engage with the copy anyway so for those five percent of people you want to make your copy as good as possible.
So hopefully this will help you out a little bit.
That’s it. I’m out.