7 secrets to sticky copy

Dianne Vanstone

Blue Book Creative

Writing copy that sticks in the mind of your reader is all about making a real connection that triggers a ‘yes’ response.

I’m a big fan of the legendary copywriter, Joseph Sugarman. He spent years learning how to be a salesman before he was a writer, and he knew the importance of understanding the product or services you are selling, what problem you are solving for your customers, and how to get them to say yes right from the very first sentence.

Writing effective (sticky) copy is all about writing for that one person; a face-to-face relationship that builds trust. And the only way you can do that is to be authentic. 

Your readers are intelligent, savvy people who know what good quality is, can see bogus claims from space and like to be entertained, informed and surprised. So here are the 7 secrets to writing sticky copy that sells. This post is sponsored by the letter S. 

Short and sweet: Make it concise and distill your message

A lot of people scan an article, website or post. No, they don’t read every carefully chosen word you wrote. That’s why blog posts like this have handy subheadings; easily scanned to get the gist of the information. Sticky copy is often short and sweet and to the point. 

Simplicity: Skip the jargon and make it clear and real

I see a lot of jargon in advertising and on websites, and it is the biggest barrier to getting across your message. Many people use jargon because they think it makes them look more competent, but it does the opposite.

Be clear and real, communicate like a human. The same also goes for small print and caveats. Can you write the copy without invoking a million symbols and lines of small print? Depending on the industry it can be a challenge, but try your best. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Surprise: Be intriguing but avoid clickbait

It is possible to be intriguing without being corny. Forget misleading headlines, use your imagination and make a statement that is true but perhaps left field.

This is the fun bit, and the more you know about the product you’re selling, the more you’ll have to work with to make a great headline. Joseph Sugarman was a master at this, so check out some of his work. 

Skepticism: People are skeptical of big claims so don’t do that

Honesty sells. Grand claims that can’t be explained do the opposite. As Zig Ziglar said: The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity”. If you are clear and back up your claims with reasons, you’re going to demonstrate honesty to your readers. 

Story: Use nostalgia and tell a true story well

Telling a true story engages your reader. We all love stories and if you are buying a product or using a service, knowing the story behind that business is a powerful way to connect. But… it has to be a true story. I’ve seen large companies fake customer stories, and it never works. Customers can smell BS. 

Strength: Use emotion, empower your audience

If you can empower your audience in an authentic and meaningful way, you’re going to get people to say yes. Think about your customers’ pain points and how the products or services you’re writing about have an impact on their lives. 

Slang: Don’t be afraid to break rules and use pop culture

If you want to write sticky headlines, breaking the rules can have great results. Don’t be afraid to be creative, play on words, use rhyme, slang and pop culture references. Have fun!

The most effective way to write good copy is to be authentic, know your product inside out and know your audience.

Being sticky is sweet.

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