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The #1 easiest way to edit your copy, and the thinking behind it.

Discussion in 'Copywriting & Sales Persuasion' started by Jared255, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Jared255

    Jared255 Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    You just wrote this piece of sales material. You're reading it... and something just seems... off. You can't place it, but you know it needs work.

    Sound familiar?

    Inner monologue, fools!

    When you read, the words aren't magically being processed into your brain synapses. You're actually "reading" the words to yourself "out loud" in your head. (Check out the Wiki link above for science and all that.)

    Everyone does this. It's how humans process text. This is good for us, because it takes all of the guesswork out of writing good copy.

    You have to write your copy as if you're pitching someone out loud. They're reading it to themselves "out loud", so it's the same thing, minus the human interaction.

    So, go to one of your sales pieces right now. Read it out loud - don't go slowly, try to read it exactly as you'd speak.

    You'll notice that you'll stumble in some places - maybe the order of your prepositional phrases is off. You'll notice that you go too fast in some places - maybe you're missing a crucial comma. (Missing commas is a huge deal. Look at this sentence I didn't use any and it looks sloppy as hell.)

    If there is any part where your out-loud pitch seems "off", then it needs work. Keep working it and re-working it until you read it out loud and think it sounds good. (Then do that again tomorrow and see if you still think that.)

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    Another thing to consider is how "selly" you sound. Go over to the WSO section and read one of those threads out loud. Say the words YES! I am in! out loud and try to stifle your laughter. Asking questions to prompt an internal "yes" is definitely good - I did it at the start of this thread - but doing it blatantly is patronizing to the reader.

    The last thing you want to do is come off as too "selly". When you go to a car dealership, is the salesman screaming a sales pitch in your face? Not really - he is just guiding you along. People are suckers for good salesmanship, but they are NOT suckers for sales tactics. In fact, many people will disregard you completely if they feel you are trying to sell to them outright - take a look at Reddit if you want an example of that, LOL.

    Reading out loud can help you determine where you're being too "selly". It's not perfect, but if you read something out loud and then realize that you'd never say something like that when talking to a potential buyer face-to-face, then you know it needs work.

    Another way to do this is to read it to someone else. Now, for those of you still slangin' berries, this probably isn't for you, because reading out a farticle to someone will make them question your ethics.

    For those of you with real products, it can work. Unless you're Buddha over there, then you're probably partial to your ideas and words. You created them, after all.

    Other people will be completely objective. Criticism is sometimes hard to handle - especially if it's coming from someone not in the industry - but you should take every opinion into account.

    (I've shown software landing pages to some of my friends who deliver pizzas and they've asked me why I had a certain part in there. After analyzing it, it really didn't make any sense, so I took it out.)

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    I'm not sure if this is a common thing, but one thing I've found useful for editing is to re-read each sentence 20 or so times out loud. I might miss a weird part if I do the whole thing at once, but re-reading it really gives me a sense of how the words flow.

    ---

    Reading your copy out loud is just one way to edit. But it's definitely one worth doing. In fact, if you read one of your current sales pages out loud even once... I bet you can find at least one error.

    Jared

    P.S. I didn't read this post out loud. Deal with it.
     
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  2. Trepanated

    Trepanated Supreme Member

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    This is really solid information Jared - anyone who writes should read this several times so it sinks in.

    Another couple of points I would make:

    Whenever we write something, we already have an idea in our head of what we are trying to convey - information, emotion, sentiment. And that can get in the way of reviewing our work objectively.

    When we read it back, we may think it's spot on, but that's because we have spent so much time thinking, planning and writing, we often don't read it properly - our brain is so familiar the work that it tends to gloss over the cracks and fill in the blanks.

    Learning to overcome this is difficult, which is why reading it again a day or two later can suddenly reveal the errors - because the time away from it means our brains stop filling in the blanks.


    And the other thing is some advice I picked up a long time ago - less is definitely more.

    Never use two words when one will suffice. Cull some bumf on each re-read.

    For example, the word 'that' is the most overused and unnecessary written word. You'll find that 90% of the time, simply removing 'that' from a sentence will tighten things up and make it more readable.
     
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  3. Jared255

    Jared255 Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    ^ Spot on. I like your point about how we fill in the blanks. Sooo true. After writing, reading, and editing something for a day we can almost recite it from memory. :p

    Learned a new word today! Thought it was a typo, lol. Thanks boss.

    Jared
     
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