7 Steps You Must Take Before Writing a Word of Copy!

By: Lorrie Morgan-ferrero

Special Requirements for Reprint: Please include Lorrie's fullname, website and resource box with live hyperlinks. Email acopy of the published article to redhotcopy@hotmail.com.

Copywriting Checklist

Okay, you know you have your product (or service) in front ofyou. Now it's time to get the word out with anattention-grabbing sales letter. But where do you begin? Whetheryou hire someone to write your copy, pass it off to a staffmember or learn to write it yourself, you need this checklist.

The Critical Steps to Take Before Writing Your SalesLetter

One of the biggest misconceptions new clients have when theycome to me is I can whip out a sales letter in a few days.Wrong, wrong and wrong. A lot of preparation goes into writingcopy. I spend on average 50% - 70% of my time PREPARING to writecopy. If you don't do your homework, the chances go upexponentially that your copy will fall flat on its face. Usethis simple checklist to get you prepared for writing your ownsales copy.

  • Use the product or service yourself. I wouldn'tdream of writing copy about something I had never experienced.(If it's your product, you may want to let someone else test it,then interview her about her experience.) It's one of thefastest ways to get a complete understanding of its strengthsand weaknesses.
  • Research your target market thoroughly. If you knowanything about the way I help others write their own copy, youknow about the "tarket" concept. Basically it goes like this.Segment your market down by age, income, marital status, etc.Then write out a detailed description of ONE PERSON in yourtarget market - your "tarket".

When you write, speak only to that person.

  • Spy on the competitors. Make yourself a customerto your competition. Then study how they handle marketing andcustomer service from A to Z. Sign up for their ezines, studytheir websites, collect their direct marketing campaigns. Learnto think like they do.

Soon the differences between your company and theirs begin toreveal themselves. Your unique selling position pops its headout!

  • Anticipate objections by writing out the FAQs aheadof time. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and thinklike she does. What questions come up for her that would stopher from buying? Expect those frequently asked questions to comeup and address them in your copy.
  • Identify the features and benefits. We already knowpeople buy more on emotion than logic. So have a list of whatyour product or service does (features) and how each featuremakes your customer's life better (benefits). The more you canstimulate an emotional response in your client with benefits,the deeper the connection goes.
  • Collect compelling stories from the client. Nothingpulls us in psychologically more than a good story. Humans are astorytelling society. It's in our genes. So give them what theywant. Get the reader entranced by your copy with a hard hittingshort story. Then connect it back to what you're selling.
  • Gather testimonials from happy customers. How oftendo you read a testimonial about how badly this product stunk?Not very often. Testimonials are designed to increasecredibility. To put a face on people who have had success withyour product. How it made them richer, happier, thinner. Letthem speak for you. Your trust quotient goes way up!

If you follow each of these steps thoroughly BEFORE you sit downin front of a blank screen, you have all the elements you needfor a successful sales letter. I know. I know. Putting thepieces to the puzzle together can be easier said than done. Butno matter what your skill level is at today for writing copy, weall start from these same basic steps.

Where to Go for More Help

If you're looking for more direction, let me again recommend theRed Hot Copywriting Bootcamp. You not only get myone-on-one expertise, but you never know what other pros comeonboard to teach you like Alex Mandossian (conversion expert) orMarty Foley (traffic and testing expert). The Red HotCopywriting Bootcamp is a complete copywriting braindump (that sounds a little vile, doesn't it). Bottom line:You won't find a more thorough, hands-on program on thesubject.

Of course I'm partial to my course, but you can also check out"Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six FigureCopywriting" through AWAI-American Writers and ArtistsInstitute. I personally took this course by Michael Mastersonand I definitely recommend it

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