How To Write Copy You Ask?

We are now some eight years into the Internet as a commercial medium. In that time, we’ve seen bandwidth expand, raw computing power grow exponentially and dot-coms come and go. You’d think that by now companies would have wised up to the fact that, in order to be successful, attention must be paid to what goes up on that computer screen. No such luck.

Related: Tips For Writing Copy That Sells

As the authors astutely point out in Persuasive Online Copywriting, website publishers just don’t seem to get it. Words – the first things people see when they get to a Web page – seem to be an afterthought. No amount of effort and expense will be spared to produce a flash bang, super duper aesthetic experience, but when it comes to copy, companies are dropping the ball.

Even more importantly, the authors tell us, the purpose of online copy is to achieve some desired goal, not merely to take up bytes. Print copywriters have understood that for at least a hundred years. But the online world seems to have caught the copywriting profession off guard. Apparently, it was erroneously believed that online words were merely window dressing for the technical gadgetry.

With a good sense of humor and a punchy wit, Persuasive Online Copywriting attempts to get online writing back on track. Indeed, the authors practice what they preach. There’s nothing worse than reading a dull book with good ideas, but this volume is both wise and witty.

Take the chapter entitled “The Message Must Be Meat,” for example. (And if you think that’s provocative, wait until you get to the chapter on navigation and lubrication.) Likening online consumers to Pavlov’s dog – not an altogether outrageous assumption, by the way – the authors make the crucial point that websites must address their copy to what matters to consumers the most, in the consumer’s language. As they put it, copywriters “can craft the supremest of supreme pieces of writing, and it’s going to be utterly worthless if you fail to speak to the dog, in the language of the dog, about what matters to the heart of the dog.” You’ve gotta love that.

It’s that no-nonsense, straight-talking attitude that makes this book so appealing. Far from being the academic drones who grind out mind-numbing textbooks on the subject of advertising and marketing, the authors are real world practitioners with brains and moxie. These aren’t mere ruminations on theoretical copywriting issues, but practical advice drawn from experience.

Switching gears in the latter half of the book, the authors also include a section about online conversion. All those nice words, hopefully written after having read and digested their sage advice, will be of no avail if you don’t turn visitors into buyers. Of course, words and sales go hand in glove. Good copy persuades, and that persuasion sells.

Overall, this is a short but important book. By pointing out how pretty words aren’t enough, the authors make a valuable contribution to the online experience. We can only hope that everyone will heed their advice.

The author: is managing partner of a firm, a consulting firm based in Allen, TX. He has written extensively on online advertising and email marketing since the inception of the Internet. A frequent guest speaker, Jonathan has addressed audiences around the world on marketing and advertising topics and also teaches Internet marketing at colleges in Dallas.

Posted by on November 11, 2002