When it comes to understanding Copywriting, most people have only cracked the tip of the iceberg. They know it plays a pivotal role in screenplay and in advertising. Delve a little deeper, and you’ll understand that it’s what dictates the tone of what we read and hear, how messages are projected, and what emotions people are left with. Once you’ve grasped what it is, you’ll be ready to understand how it’s written. Here are 10 tips, tidbits, and golden rules to live by when understanding how great copy is written:
1) Be able to describe your idea in one sentence. Think of this as the shortened “elevator pitch”, as if that wasn’t short enough already.
2) Give your ideas/problems the overnight test. Meaning, leave them alone come back to them the next day. Your brain and your boss will appreciate it.
3) Always write down your ideas. Even if you know it sucks or that you won’t do anything with it. It serves as one of the best mental exercises you can do.
4) Don’t reveal, imply. Nobody likes it when the cookie is given up without a fight. Tease your audience. Leave them wanting more.
5) In executing ideas, start literal, finish lateral. Come up with something obvious. Put a twist on it. Make it original. This is how the best copy is succeeds.
6) Think of how you can flip things. Make them so obvious that they’re simultaneously brilliant and funny.
7) Never directly say your product is the best, unless you enjoy bad copy and pissing people off.
8) Bad puns are considered to be the lowest form of advertising. They are dissolute, like bad “yo mama” jokes and Metta WorldPeace.
9) There are up to six elements in a print ad: headline, sub-headline, visual(s), body copy, tagline, and logo. Not all are required for the ad to be complete. This is known as Reductionism.
10) Try to build your ad around the USP (unique selling proposition). If you can’t find one, it doesn’t mean your product sucks – it means you do. Kidding. It means your not looking in the right places or using the steps highlighted above.
So, there you have it. 10 ways to ensure that the copy you write won’t end up being something people want to rip their heads off over. If there’s any impression you should be left with after having read this, it’s not that these tips are strictly for copywriting — it’s that they’re for creating and executing ideas. Think of them the next time you’re asked to create something.
Many of the tips highlighted are found in The Advertising Concept Book: Think Now, Design Later, by Pete Berry. If you’re thirsty to learn more, I’d highly recommend reading it.