You’re deluded!

Here’s why most of what you think
is true is just plain wrong …

And how getting in touch with reality
can help you turn economic lemons
into sweet lemonade

Dear Business-Builder,

Discouragement …

Feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and vulnerability …

Despair and depression …

Stark fear and blind panic …

It’s no secret that these and many other negative emotions are now haunting many of our prospects’ daydreams and nightmares.

Who knows?  Maybe yours, too.

It’s to be expected that so many people would be feeling poorly at a time like this.

But toxic emotions are business-killers … career-killers … income-killers.  Because whether we admit it or not those emotions – NOT reason – are the cause of most decisions we make; most things we do.  And when we’re feeling negatively, we tend to make poorer decisions:  Decisions that result in financial losses, lost jobs, bankruptcies.

Worse:  Scientists say toxic emotions also depress our immune systems, significantly increasing the incidence of fatal diseases among depressed people.

And of course, poisonous emotions also cripple us with deadly depression – the primary reason why last year, U.S. suicide rates began rising again for the first time in a decade.

What makes these unthinkable events even more tragic is that they are so needless … pointless … uncalled for … so unnecessary.

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How to Prepare for a Copywriting Assignment

affiliate marketing networksBusiness-to-business copy persuades readers by giving them useful information about the products being advertised. The more facts you include in your copy, the better.

When you have a file full of facts at your fingertips, writing good copy is easy. You simply select the most relevant facts and describe them in a clear, concise, direct fashion.

But when copywriters don’t bother to dig for facts, they fall back on fancy phrases and puffed-up expressions to fill the empty space on the page. The words sound nice, but they don’t sell because the copy doesn’t inform.

Here’s a four-step procedure I use to get the information I need to write persuasive, fact-filled copy for my clients. This technique should be helpful to copywriters, account executives, and ad managers alike.

Step #1: Get all previously published material on the product.

For an existing product, there’s a mountain of literature you can send to the copywriter as background information. This material includes:

  • Tear-sheets of previous ads
  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Article reprints
  • Technical papers
  • Copies of speeches
  • Audio-visual scripts
  • Press kits
  • Swipe files of competitors’ ads and literature

Did I hear someone say they can’t send me printed material because their product is new? Nonsense. The birth of every new product is accompanied by mounds of paperwork you can give the copywriter. These papers include:

  • Internal memos
  • Letters of technical information
  • Product specifications
  • Engineering drawings
  • Business and marketing plans
  • Reports
  • Proposals

By studying this material, the copywriter should have 80 percent of the information he needs to write the copy. And he can get the other 20 percent by picking up the phone and asking questions. Steps #2-4 outline the questions he should ask about the product, the audience, and the objective of the copy.

Step #2: Ask questions about the product.

  • What are its features and benefits? (Make a complete list.)
  • Which benefit is the most important?
  • How is the product different from the competition’s? (Which features are exclusive? Which are better than the competition’s?)
  • If the product isn’t different, what attributes can be stressed that haven’t been stressed by the competition?
  • What technologies does the product compete against?
  • What are the applications of the product?
  • What industries can use the product?
  • What problems does the product solve in the marketplace?
  • How is the product positioned in the marketplace?
  • How does the product work?
  • How reliable is the product?
  • How efficient?
  • How economical?
  • Who has bought the product and what do they say about it?
  • What materials, sizes and models is it available in?
  • How quickly does the manufacturer deliver the product?
  • What service and support does the manufacturer offer?
  • Is the product guaranteed?

Step #3: Ask questions about your audience.

  • Who will buy the product? (What markets is it sold to?)
  • What is the customer’s main concern? (Price, delivery, performance, reliability, service maintenance, quality efficiency)
  • What is the character of the buyer?
  • What motivates the buyer?
  • How many different buying influences must the copy appeal to? Two tips on getting to know your audience:
    • If you are writing an ad, read issues of the magazine in which the ad will appear.
    • If you are writing direct mail, find out what mailing lists will be used and study the list descriptions.

Step #4: Determine the objective of your copy.

This objective may be one or more of the following:

  • To generate inquiries
  • To generate sales
  • To answer inquiries
  • To qualify prospects
  • To transmit product information
  • To build brand recognition and preference
  • To build company image

Before you write copy, study the product – its features, benefits, past performance, applications, and markets. Digging for the facts will pay off, because in business-to-business advertising, specifics sell.

Robert W. Bly
Guest Contributor