Sometimes you find general writing tips in the oddest places. Recently I pulled out a book called Writing to Win by Steven D. Stark; written for the legal writer, which I considered at one time. Steven suggests that lawyers should incorporate a few copywriting techniques used by advertisers in their legal writing. Me, being a writer that looks for nuggets in everything, decided this is good practice for any writer, especially bloggers. Blogging is, in a sense, advertising.
We’ve all read writing tips stating that less is more, write tight, cut what you don’t need. This is a very good rule of thumb, but maybe it can be improved. If you get into the mind of an ad writer who writes very short blurbs you may have less editing to do in the long run.
The first thing an ad writer does when presented with new material is to ask themselves questions. The first question should be “What’s the idea; the big picture?” Once you know what that is it will be easier to relay your message in as few words as possible. Think of all the slogans you see on billboards, television, and in magazines.
Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
Tastes great, less filling.
Just Do It!
These slogans convey a complete idea with the simple use of a few words. In the first example of M&M candies we could write a whole pitch:
The hard candy shell over chocolate is the secret behind M&Ms ability to melt in your mouth and not in your hand and avoids having a chocolate mess to contend with. By omitting everything except their base slogan they have conveyed a whole message with eight words. Miller Beer, our second example uses four words, while Nike uses three. Since most people are familiar with the product examples above, it’s simply enough to use fewer words.
In writing, most people are looking for a lot of information in few words.
The second rule in ad copy is to make it interesting. We pay attention to advertisements because they are interesting. Writing for your blog should be no different. If the reader isn’t interested (or entertained) the chances of them staying at your blog or even returning is slim.
The best way to make something interesting, no matter how boring the subject matter may be, is to just think it through before you write. List the important stuff, decide what’s interesting and highlight it; use it as your hook.
The third rule is to study the product or subject matter. This will also help you find out what’s interesting about it, why you want to share it and why your readers want to hear about it. In blogging you are generally trying to sell something. This does not mean that money is always involved, but your purpose for blogging is to either; sell a product, a service, information, or yourself. The more informed you are about the material the easier it will be to “sell” to your reader.
If you’re selling yourself as a blogger/writer or as an authority in the subject matter, the fourth rule is to device a slogan for the subject; something catchy that will let the reader know what it’s about and will relate to you or your blog in the future.
To sum it all up;
1. Pay attention to ad writers and practice using fewer words.
2. Make the material interesting.
3. Study the material.
4. Use catchy slogans and phrases to make the material memorable.
Happy Writing & Blogging!
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