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Copywriting in Advertising

Here are a few things to keep in mind about copywriting in advertising.

Advertising copywriters get paid for a reason. They study their craft for years. This is the truth – if you are an engineer, or a lawyer, or a craftsperson, or anyone other than a professional sales copywriter, then you are not a sales copywriter. You may be the best advertising writer in the world – but the odds are against it.

Think about what is at stake here. Words sell. Everything depends on effectively communicating to perfect strangers who will give you exactly one second of their attention. You get one glance, and then they are gone.

At the very least, have other people who will tell you the truth read over your work. And then have a marketing professional review it. Listen, watch, and note all of the reactions and feedback you get. Take the criticisms and make the changes. It’s your advertising budget. It’s your money. Don’t waste it just to see your words in print.

In the meantime, here are just a few ideas about how copywriting relates to newspaper advertising.

  1. Get to the point. Put the big benefit in the headline. We are not kidding that people will give you one second of attention before moving on. Your headline must PROMISE a BENEFIT.
  2. Use the right words – words that sell. Words like FREE. Yes. Instantly. Truth. Last Chance. New. Guaranteed. Dramatic. Easy. Secrets. Magic. Announcing. Hurry. Money. Words are powerful if you find the right ones.
  3. Break the rules in your category. For example, a bank is having a sale. They need to “move out last years old $100 bills, to make room for this years new $100 bills”. They have put money on sale. It’s a wonderful campaign because they have broken the rules in their category. It makes for great newspaper advertising.
  4. Use benefits, not features. Saving someone an hour is a feature. Having an extra hour to spend with your children is a benefit. What does the feature do for the customer? That is the benefit.
  5. Excitement. Excitement! EXCITEMENT! If you are not excited about your product or service in your newspaper advertising, why should anybody else be?
  6. Your newspaper advertising should get the customer to physically nod their head and think, “Yes, that’s me”. “Yes, it’s time to fix this problem.” If your newspaper advertising can keep them saying yes, then they are more likely to call when you tell them to.
  7. Tell them to call. Now. Right now. Call immediately. Remember where that newspaper will be in 24 hours. [And would you please bookmark this web page NOW so that you can find Professional Advertising when you need us.]
  8. Solve problems. Use your newspaper advertising to remind prospects that they have the problem, and then offer the solution.
  9. The problem – solution format works in newspaper advertising because you get an immediate, positive response to your question. Consider:
  • Hungry?
  • Overworked?
  • Are you tired of paying high bank fees?
  • Need a vacation?
  • Are you underpaid?
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