“Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Goethe
I’m going to share with you a method guaranteed to get your copy razor sharp in a hurry. It’s an old trick I learned in journalism school, and it works great to get those creative juices flowing. Since I’ve been
using it regularly again, I write circles around my former output times. The words are just at my fingertips.
How did I do it? (More importantly, how can you do it too?) Well, you probably already know you must havecuriosity to become a good writer. Take your natural curiosity to the next level and become an avid observer. When you’re driving, look at the car next to you on the road. Pick up a can of beans in the grocery store. Check out your shampoo while in the shower. Notice the colors and smells. What qualities does it have that sets it apart? What would make someone want to buy what you’re looking at?
You’re surrounded with opportunity to sharpen your writing skills. It’s easy.
Here’s how –
- Describe appearance of product
- Identify Features (look for complementary and contrasting qualities)
- Single Out Main Benefit
- Create your Benefit Statement or Summary
Let your imagination go. This is only an exercise. If it were a real product, of course you’d do your research. But our goal isn’t to actually sell this copy to a client. It’s designed to open up and free your mind.
- You don’t have to write down your observations. Just practice doing
them. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your writing improves.
- Limit yourself to five minutes on each “product.”
- Brainstorm. Do NOT edit yourself until you’re done.
- Stop on time.
Here’s a case in point. Today, I took Shadow, my border collie/chow mix, on a hike through the mountains. (I should say, he took me. If you’ve ever walked a trotting pony on a leash, you have an idea what it’s like to walk Shadow.) So, while being drug behind my dog, I noticed pretty yellow weeds lining the path. I picked those to represent my “product” and played my copywriting game.
DESCRIBE APPEARANCE: butter-colored spray of petals, braided green stem, burst of color, gently moving with the breeze.
IDENTIFY FEATURES: soothing, calming, appealing color contrast to trees, heaviest around the path as though guiding hikers
SINGLE OUT MAIN BENEFIT: Rejuvenating
BENEFIT STATEMENT: “After hiking with these soothing butter-colored wildflowers lining the trail, you’ll return rejuvenated and ready to face the day.”
Maybe not award-winning copy, but with practice I’m sure I’ll do better on our next walk.
Author Resource -> Copywriting guru Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been helping entrepreneurs and copywriters get their marketing messages razor sharp since 1999.