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11 killer copywriting techniques

by Randall Craig on July 17, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Presentations

Tagged as: , ,

Here’s a question you don’t get asked every day: how much do you really know about writing?  And more particularly, the craft of copywriting?  Unless you do this for a living or had extensive training , the answer is likely not very much. Yet no matter your particular role or responsibilities, copywriting is an exceptionally important skill: it educates, convinces, connects – and creates impact.

Here are 11 simple ideas that can help you create that impact:

  1. Voice:  Skip the passive (“Neglected fee payments will cause access to be lost”), and use the active voice: “If you neglect paying your fees, you will lose access.” Then choose how you want to be perceived: formal vs informal, younger vs older, corporate vs personified, and so on. Which is best depends on your goal.
  2. Alliteration:  Connecting Community to Commitment is the only way to drive Social Media ROI.
  3. Repetition:  Ten Tips and Ten Tricks.  (Note that this also uses alliteration.)
  4. Rhyme:  No Wine before its Time.
  5. Meter:  This is the way, to sales and profit.  This refers to the timing of the passage:  imagine a metronome ticking behind the italicized words.
  6. Metaphor, Simile, and Symbolism: Imbues the emotional power of a well-known concept into your writing.  The foundation of knowledge is built through hard work (Knowledge in terms of building construction.)  Our ideatrust Digital Knowledge Vault contains 100s of digital marketing resources. (Connection to a valuable bank vault)
  7. Contrast:  Social Media is either a complete waste of time, or the most important plank of your PR strategy.
  8. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt:  Without addressing these three key areas of risk, your organization may find itself publicly embarrassed – or legally liable.
  9. Soundbite:  Marketing automation connects community to commitment. This is a sentence that crystallizes an entire concept, and is easily repeatable.
  10. Testimonial: This is a  bona fide third party validation of your capabilities.  While you can’t write your own testimonials, the power of copywriting shines through when you receive an exceptional one.  Contrast “He is hardworking – would hire him in a minute” compared to this one (from my LinkedIn profile):  “Randall is gifted in seeing things from both the 50,000 foot level and sea level at the same time, and snatching — seemingly from thin air — the one piece of the puzzle that will make the entire strategy work.”
  11. Sidebars:  This is less about the written word than the placement of it.  A sidebar is a way to shoe-horn related information into an article, without losing the article’s focus. Sidebars can be used for just about anything: testimonials, order forms, technical descriptions, mini-case studies, how-to’s, etc

This week’s action plan: While these 11 techniques will definitely improve the effectiveness of your writing, there is one technique that eclipses them all: practice.  This week, flex your copywriting muscle, by using these same concepts when you are speaking or delivering a presentation.  The strength you develop with these tools when you speak will also make you a better writer.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Linda Davies July 24, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Thanks – enjoyed the 11 Killer copywriting techniques. Hope to see you in Sept at the CSAE event in Calgary.


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