Archive | Copywriting tips

John Carlton Copywriting Tips: How To Trash Your Competition

John Carlton explains how to trash the competition without sinking to their level. Most people just put down the competition…John shows how to do it and elevate your own image at the same time.

Going into another virgin territory, like golf for example, it wasn’t necessary to be contrarian, although, in almost every ad I have written for golf I have taken a swipe at PGA pros. PGA pros, meaning those guys at every country club around the country who teach lessons.

Audience: I am confused about how you guys say not to criticize the competition…

John: You gotta be careful about it.

Audience: I do in my copy (unintelligible)

John: You have to be careful when it is a common thing to say. Anybody shop for a car recently? Anybody have a salesman say “oh, you own a Chevy? Chevy is a fine automobile! No. You say “oh, Chevy, yeah, I’d never buy a Chevy”. That is what you usually get. In most businesses, people trash the competition out of hand. It becomes meaningless.

They don’t give a reason why, except a general “It’s not worth it” or “they’ll rip you off”. It’s part of your USP. You’re positioning yourself against them. So, rather than saying “those guys don’t know what they’re talking about”, “they’re bad”, “they’ll hurt you”, the best way to say it is “Well, you know, you could spend your money there, and those guys have been in business a long time”…kind of a back-handed compliment, don’t actually trash them… “However, if you’re looking for x, x and x, I should point out to you that we have 24-hour service lines open and those guys are only open from 9 to 5. Maybe that serves you well, but if something happens to you at 10:00 at night you’re not going to get anybody over there, and that’s part of our main thing.” So you play up your strengths, positioned against what you perceive as their weaknesses.

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John Carlton Copywriting Tips: Add Attitude To Your Offer

John Carlton’s hot seat is for Jack, who is selling information on how to generate a downline in MLM

John: What’s the actual offer?

Stan: To by the book for …

John: buy with confidence. For the next 90 days, if for any reason whatsoever you are not satisfied with your purchase, simply contact us and we will refund your money with no questions asked. You can even keep the bonuses as our way of saying thanks for having trust in us.

You know, that’s not great, but that’s not bad. That’s the kind of basic stuff that you want. If you want to build on it, you would build on it with attitude and voice, as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel on getting the basic thing here.

So, if you want to change your attitude to, like, “everybody knows who I am. If I cheated anyone, my reputation would be shot. That’s why I’m going to treat you like gold. Most of the time I give people a 30 day guarantee, but for you I’m giving a 90 day guarantee. That gives you plenty of time to blah,blah, blah.” You just go along with that stuff. You can do that. You may not need to.

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John Carlton Copywriting Tips: Make Your Words Count

In this marketing hot seat, John Carlton tells how he examines the words he uses in his copy. Which words can be replaced, which ones should be eliminated.

His comments:

But, the words here, like “end”…the word “end” is what might get the attention of the alphabet agencies, like the FDA or the FTC, so he has to be careful about that. Or, he can be bold about that, depending on how your lawyers have told you to act.

And, the word “fast” becomes one of the consumer benefits that is going to swing this thing. I mean, if he had a headline “End chronic back pain sometime later on in the future of your life”, you know, “maybe you’ll be happy on your death bed”, you’re not going to sell a lot of stuff.

Simple and easy, is part of the basic USP’s. I usually talk about simple, cheap, fast and easy as being the triumvirate,

So, simple and easy is the very bottom part of the basic USP principle…simple, cheap, fast and easy. He is saying “simple and easy”. He has the word “fast” in there. “No drugs or doctors”…this is just common language in any kind of health-related product. “New, natural” becomes a power word here, or a word that could possibly be changed.
So, when I go through and add, like this, and I get the basics down, then I go back and I look at the words that can be changed and maybe pumped up. The words that become the hinges of the thought that you’re trying to do. So, the person is reading and he hits a word like “natural” and he may go one way or another. I have to think about that. Am I eliminating people who would just never take an herb in their life? You know, the first time they hurt they run to the doctor for big pharma pills and stuff. So, that’s a word you have to look at.

“Healing method”. Both “healing” and “method” are words you want to look at. I mean, in this small ad, this is advanced copywriting stuff. In this small ad with 2 dozen words, each word has to carry a lot of weight. Now, even if he takes this general copy and takes it into a full-page ad in a magazine, it’s going to be an expansion of this. He’s going to run into the same problem, because these words that he is using are going to end up in the headline, in the sub-head, in the opening, the kind of stuff that has to hook the reader or the reader is gone forever.

“Healing” and “healing method”. Both the word “healing” and “method”. You could use the word “system”, “secrets”, things like that, ok? So, we’ll talk about this stuff.
“Amazes”. That’s another word. Is that a word you want to use in the golf market? I used it. It’s one of my favorite words, actually I use “amazing” a lot. But, it’s definitely an old-style word, it’s an old classic word, and it carries a lot of weight, sometimes negative weight, with it.

“Amazes and delights golfers”. Now, what’s the most important word in the whole thing here? It’s the word “golf”. You’ve got to bring it down.

We’re going to talk about this, I’m just kind of blowing through this. So, “amazes and delights”, I think you stole that from me, where I used to say “shock and delight” a lot. I don’t know why I picked “shock and delight”, but the first time I used it, the ad just went crazy.

OK. “Amazes and delights” is a phrase, is a hinge phrase, where the reader reads it and he is trying to deliver some things. This ad, small as it is, is just packed with things that can be changed, things that he would have to sit down and think long and hard about, and a copywriter, writing an ad like this, would put 20 years of experience in this and spend a couple of hours and would just have to focus on it very very clearly.

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SEO Copywriting Tips: SEO Copy Editing How-to

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