Readers' Review 5: The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robery. W. Bly



Top three ways to write clutter-breaking copy that sells

Robery W. Bly teaches how to write with a personality using data, psychology, and compliance. It’s authoritative, but it never belittling. “The Copywriter’s Handbook” reassures that by applying the knowledge that he shares, you can attempt a clear, crisp, and confident copy that will give customers a good reason to reach out for their purses.


We often look at the legendary Lemon and wonder at its brilliance.


If you wish to write like this, there’s good news and bad news. Bad news first: you probably believe that you can’t and therefore you won’t. And the good news is that you surely can because good copywriting has a tested and proven process used by the best writers and on following them, you might not immediately write the best advertisements or win international awards, but learn how to write clean, crisp, and confident copy that will give customers a good reason to reach out their purses. It’s with this reassurance that “The Copywriter’s Handbook” by Robert W. Bly begins. The author gives examples of bad copy and techniques to change it into good copy for multiple platforms ranging from print media to social media.


However, of all the techniques here are the top-three evergreen ones that I religiously follow:


1. In product descriptions, features should lead to benefits:

Customers do not buy products. They buy the imagination of how this product can improve their lives and therefore the product description should not be only about “how great the product is”; rather it should promise a solution to the consumer’s problems. Examples of writing impactful product descriptions:


1. “S’well bottles feature triple-wired, vacuum-insulated construction, designed to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours.”

2. “There’s power in silence. Thanks to the efficiency of M2 chip, MacBook Air can deliver amazing performance without a fan – so it stays completely silent no matter how intense the task.”

Product

Feature - descriptive facts

Benefits - What the product does

Bottle

triple-wired, vacuum-insulated construction

to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours.

MacBook

M2 chip

it stays completely silent no matter how intense the task

2. Follow the formula: Motivating Sequence:


Get attention --> Show a need --> Position product as a solution --> Prove what you say --> Ask for action


Here’s an example of an advertisement using this technique:


“Would you pay $1,000 to save $5,5000?

Last year, a local flower shop decided to hire an accountant to do their income tax returns. They worried about the seemingly high fee but realized they didn’t have the time – or expertise – to do it themselves. You can imagine their joy when this accountant helped them save thousands of dollars of income tax.

I am their accountant and I’d like to tell you how the flower shop – and dozens of other firms – have saved $2000, $3500, $5500 a year or more with my expertise.

Call me at +91 xxxxxxxxx”


To prove what you say, you can use user testimonials or compare your service/product to competitors’ and show your benefits (have documentation to prove the claims in case your copy is challenged.) After all, people trust people more than advertisements.


3. Write for people, not vacuum:


When you aim to earn people’s trust, you have to at least know them, right? Psychology Today reported on a study designed to uncover the characteristics of successful salespeople and shared about “Hypnotic pacing” where writers mirror-matches their audience’s emotions, behavior, and experiences to establish rapport and trust. Without this trust, it feels like a dishonest attempt to lure a customer for our uncouth benefits. Here are two email invites; read and tell in comments which one do you think is mirror matching the reader’s vibe:


Email invite 1

Email invite 2

“Dear sir,


We are pleased to inform you that our flagship event Retailnomy – a space for small-and-medium-sized retail businesses to network and grow – is slated on December 21, 2040, at The Grand, Delhi. We will host a large group of successful retailers and present “The Retailer of the Year” award to the organization with highest growth rate.


We look forward to seeing you in our event. Register through the link below.


Regards,

Team Eventomaniacs”

Dear Entrepreneur,


You’re it!

You’re the kind of person free enterprise is built on. The ambition, vision, and guts of small-business people like yourself have always been the driving force behind the Indian economy.

Unfortunately, that’s the fact that general business press seems to have forgotten. In their emphasis to like conglomerates, multinationals, and oil companies the size of countries, most business publications pay very little attention to the little guy.


But we are not making this mistake. We will celebrate 15 best self-made people in August 24, 2030, in The Grand, Delhi – allow us to celebrate you.


Get your exclusive pass here.


Best,

Team X

If you think the second email is better then congratulations, you are on the right track of blending creativity with consumer psychology and writing a sellable copy.


Many of us believe that as copywriters we are to be creative. But the truth is, we are the first “salesperson behind a typewriter” (read computers). And to sell products, we need to understand how data and emotions influence your consumer’s psychology. Using this advanced knowledge of data and emotion, Robert W. Bly’s book “The Copywriter’s Handbook” feels like listening to our favorite professor who comes with deep industry experience because what he says is not just profound theory, it's useful, tangible, and respectable.


 

Triparni is a copywriter with over six years of experience and specialization in promoting technical products and services. She has expanded her professional skills within Deloitte and besides writing, she supports the leaders of the Technology, Media, and Telecommunication industry in strengthening eminence and go-to-market plans. Her favorite writers are Ogilvy, Robert W. Bly, Mary Wells Lawrence, Rabindranath Tagore, and Satyajit Ray.


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