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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

(SALES) Write Copy That Actually Sells!


I?m no expert on writing award-winning copy, but I do know one thing: ?Rip ?n read? copy never works. If you?ve been in the business for longer than 20 minutes, you?ve heard at least a hundred ads in which the sales rep made a ?laundry list? of the client?s profile and stuck some music behind it. The client may have even told him he liked it, but he didn?t know it wouldn?t work. It could even have had the station?s best voice doing it. The music may have been dynamic and ear-catching, and the rep may have squeezed everything the client said into it. It doesn?t make any difference. These commercials almost never work.

One of the big things radio has going for it is ?theater of the mind.?

So every time you set pen to paper, you have an opportunity to create an interesting ?mind play.? Creativity sells ? sometimes all by itself! Just think about the Super Bowl TV commercials. They?re often the most creative, memorable,
and award-winning ads those advertisers will put out all year. Never just a laundry list.

One thing puzzles me about Super Bowl ads, however. That one day of the year, Ford, for example, showcases their multi-million dollar ad, produced by their top national agency, and sure enough it delivers like gangbusters. So why are Ford commercials the rest of the year little more than routine and forgettable? They pay their agency big bucks for ads that are supposed to work.

Is it just that most agencies are lazy as hell and the Super Bowl ads are written and produced mostly for other agencies to swoon over, or to win an award? No wonder the Big Three are in such poor financial shape. The reason you hire an agency is to drive sales. They should be fired when sales drop.

Writing great copy requires skills and knowledge that we need to continue developing day to day, and year to year. There are many useful books on copywriting. Buy them, study them, keep them handy and open them again and again to refresh your skill set.

Be careful though. Most of us suffer from some degree of laziness, and because we do, even after getting inspired by a great copywriting course or text, we tend to fall back into easy ?rip ?n read? habits, especially when the excuse of being ?busy? falls to hand.

There are those who would say that there are no new ideas, just old ones dressed in new clothes, or delivered by a younger, more dynamic voice. To a degree, I?d have to say they?re right, but don?t use that as an excuse for rehashing the laundry list. Set your personal creativity bar high, and hone your copywriting skills every week, even every day.

BOTTOM LINE: There?s no substitute for creativity, and no place in the business for sales reps who won?t make the effort to learn and hone their copywriting skills. Nor is there anyone who just ?can?t? be creative. Get to work!

Gary Ratcliff is the owner of High Impact Communications, Inc. and a broadcast sales author. Visit his LinkedIn page HERE.

(11/5/2014 12:26:27 PM)
It's heartening to see a renewed emphasis on messages that sell. The best planned schedules need effective copy to deliver. Maybe I can help the "no time, no ideas" dilemma. Email me for some free tips and solutions.
(11/5/2014 9:33:04 AM)
Good article. When I start composing ad copy, I ask myself: What is in it for me, the listener? Why is it in my best interest to do business with the advertiser? Try to connect on an emotional level and the odds are good that you will come up with an effective ad that actually works! Just as long as you avoid using the words: need(s) and perfect! And don't necessarily use your first draft! Edit, edit, edit!!
(11/5/2014 8:03:31 AM)
Thanks, Gary, for an important and pertinent reminder.
As to the idea "...that there are no new ideas, just old ones dressed in new clothes, or delivered by a younger, more dynamic voice:
The facts demonstrate otherwise. There are more new, effective and unused techniques and methods out here than anyone could assimilate and apply in a week of study and practice. (It might take two.)

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