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Use Copywriting & Advertising Skills for Better Writing & Blogging

Posted by on 5th Aug 2009 | 5 comments

advertisingSometimes 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!

image credit: http://www.glyphjockey.com/pix08/kit.gif


Patti runs several websites covering PLR/Niche Content, and strives to help others through life coaching and personal development.

5 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Surender Sharma on 5th Aug 2009

    Copy writing and advertising skills can improve blogging way.

    Even if you have mass communitation skills you can use those skills in your blogging.

    Blogging need copy writing,content eye watch skills and seo skills.

    Isn't it ?

  • Posted by Stefan on 5th Aug 2009

    I recently read "Fight Logic" which basically is about the same thing. There the author gave me the idea of creating a simple stylesheet with about 30 squares. In every square you have 20-30 seconds to come up with a great idea on this specific theme.

    Could be logic, expensive, etc.

  • Posted by BloggerDaily on 6th Aug 2009

    Interesting. Quite new for me but I'll apply it for my site!

  • Posted by Paul, copysnips.com on 6th Aug 2009

    Great write, Patti. I love the slogans, because they convey an idea very simply… although some of them have the force of the brand behind it, such as Nike's "Just Do It".

    That would be a bit meaningless to me without understanding the brand. I'd be wondering, "Do what?"

    On the other hand, in the context of a chocolate product, "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand" is great. Sumptuous. In fact, mmmm… I think I'm going to get me some right now :)

  • Posted by David Walker on 7th Aug 2009

    Hi Patti,

    I found this really interesting because I am trying to shake off my old, wordy academic writing style for something a bit more punchy in my own blog.

    Thinking like an ad writer is especially important when coming up with headlines due to the sheer amount of competition for eyeballs and it makes sense to adopt the same approach for the post content itself.

    David