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Three steps to editing your sales copy

Unfortunately, writing is the easy part of marketing and advertising.  I don’t care whether you’re writing a sales letter, a space ad, a web page, or anything else.  For the most part, your time’s going to be spent something like this:

Research 20 – 30%

Actual writing 30%

Editing 40 – 50%

And sometimes, if you don’t need to do a lot of research, your numbers will be even more skewed towards editing.  So you may wind up spending two-thirds of your time editing what you wrote and only one-third of your time laying down your first draft.

Now editing is a tricky process, because the less experienced you are, the more you second guess yourself. As it is, you typically feel so much pressure you wind up being unsure of most of the things you’re leaving in and taking out.  So many times you wind up playing mind games and talking to yourself far too much.

Let me give you three very important rules you can follow when it comes to editing, that I’ve developed over the last ten years.

1. First, for any given item you’re looking at, ask yourself, “What am I trying to explain here?”

In many cases, you’ll find that what you’re trying to explain and what you’ve actually written down, are pretty far apart.  This question allows you to focus on the one thing you’re actually trying to say.

2.  Then, ask yourself, “Is what I’m saying in any way contributing to me making a sale.”

Now this is a big answer and what actually ‘contributes’ to you making your sale goes way beyond this e-mail.  But, the point is, if your answer to this question is “No,” then you immediately get rid of whatever it is you’ve written.

3.  Lastly, you ask yourself two more questions: “Have I expressed this as clearly as possible?”  And then you also want to make sure you ask yourself, “Have I expressed this as thoroughly as possible?”

The first question has to do with the simplicity and of the words you’re using and your buyers ability to relate to them, and the second has to do with the believability of the words you’re using.

Make sense?

Good, because if you follow these rules, and stick to them systematically, you’ll get done a hell of a lot faster, and you’ll also retain your sanity in this process.

Also, if you follow these rules, you can easily go through most of the copy out there and see why… it isn’t working.

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