What Is The Weight Limit For A 12 Year Old Writing Sales Copy – A Lesson in Third Grade English

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Writing Sales Copy – A Lesson in Third Grade English

Dear Business Builder,

My 12-year-old son calls himself the “cop” of our neighborhood.

As soon as anyone allows his or her trousers to slide down a bit and bend over, the boy exclaims with glee, “No crack!”—and falls helplessly into fits of laughter.

Happened to me just last night. In front of the nanny. Damn humiliation.

Now, as your friend and mentor, I don’t want that to happen to you – especially when you’re showing your copy to clients.

Showing your teacher — proving you skipped school the day you taught grammar and punctuation rules in third grade — isn’t going to put your career on the fast track!

No, I’m not picking on you. In fact, this question is more about my health than your career.

See, I get tons of spec assignments and samples from writers who want to work with me. In addition, I edit a lot of sales copy for “A” and “B” grade writers who work for my agency, Response Ink.

If I have to correct one more stupid and/or careless grammatical or punctuation error, my head will explode.

So convinced that attempts to stop a heart attack or stroke are futile, I’m sure I’ll strike the next time I see the same brain-dead error in sales copy — here are 17 simple guidelines I’ve discovered to make it possible Contribute to the educational website of…

1. A verb must agree with its subject.

2. Likewise, never use duplicate redundancy.

3. Be more or less specific.

4. Additional clarification, however relevant, is (usually) unnecessary.

5. No sentence fragments.

6. Foreign words and phrases are inappropriate.

7. Don’t be redundant; don’t use unnecessary words; it’s very redundant.

8. Never generalize.

9. Never use double negatives.

10. Avoid symbols, abbreviations, etc.

11. Avoid the passive voice.

12. Remove unnecessary commas. But words in parentheses should be enclosed in commas.

13. Never use a big word when a small or small word is enough.

14. Use words correctly, no matter how others use them.

15. An understatement is always the best way to come up with an earth-shattering idea.

16. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

17. Proofread carefully to see if you have any words.

Now, I’ve heard that in addition to the rules above, those of you with sheepskins on your walls were taught something about communicating effectively in English, but that’s not true – like…

1. One-word sentences? exclude. no way! I’ve found that when used sparingly, one-word sentences or even one-field paragraphs in sales copy add emphasis and make the page look more engaging.

2. Who needs to ask the rhetorical question? I know – who is that! Rhetorical questions are a great way to stop a prospect in their tracks and make them think. My rhetorical title, “What’s Wrong with Getting Rich Quick?” mailed for years.

3. Shrinkage is unnecessary and should not be used. nonsense! Abbreviations should always be used when writing sales copy—unless not using them would add appropriate emphasis: “Don’t buy any stocks today” is much less emphatic than “Don’t buy any stocks today.”

4. Prepositions are not words used to end sentences. Not necessarily true. Remember: Our goal is to write colloquially—and most of our potential clients break that rule like crazy.

5. Do not start sentences with conjunctions. Incorrect! Conjunctions are linking words… when used at the beginning of a paragraph, they are very helpful in increasing readership.

6. It is a mistake to split an infinitive. Again – it can sometimes help if you talk to your prospect colloquially.

7. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.) That’s about as stupid as a bag of hammers. Clichés, metaphors, and other figures of speech are not only accessible, but comforting; they tend to paint vivid mental images. As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

8. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration. Some of the most effective titles of all time use alliteration to make them memorable. Ben Sivenga’s legends “Lies, Lies, Lies”, “12 Smiling Liars” and so on.

9. Comparisons are as bad as clichés. Who wrote What about the rules? Comparisons are essential in sales copy. To prove my point, I often compare what’s happening in the economy or stock market today with what’s happened in the past few years.

To simplify things, I often compare what’s going on inside the body to what’s going on outside: “This supplement is like a trochanteric root organ for arteries.”

Of course, comparing the high-value advantages my product brings to its low cost is a clear winner.

10. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake. Again – analogies are words and pictures…they are used in spoken dialogue…they are a quick way to get you to the point.

11. Kill all exclamation points! Not always! Judicious use of exclamation points when writing sales copy can help emphasize the point! However, overuse can be fatal!

12. Remove quotes. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotes. Tell me what you know.” You can quote me: Waldo is a drooling idiot. Citing implicit or explicit endorsements of your reasoning, topic, or product by top experts is a powerful way to build credibility.

13. Heard it once, is a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; no writer in a million can use it effectively. Exaggeration is like art: no one can define it, but everyone thinks they know it when they see it. As an author, you alone should judge whether your tone and choice of words are appropriate or hyped.

14. Puns are for kids, not complaining readers. Tell Arthur Johnson: He knows that lighthearted humor—including puns—can be a powerful readership and response booster, especially in headlines and subheads!

15. Stop by the barn at noon and avoid colloquialism. nonsense. oral communication. look up.

However, there is another set of rules that I do try to follow carefully – and I think those are more likely to be broken than any other…

Use apostrophes where appropriate and omit them when not needed.

Ah, the apostrophe. Those little demons seem to haunt everyone I know. The thing is, abusing apostrophes is a bit of a bug of mine.

Can’t explain why, but they make me see red when I’m using them incorrectly in copy I’m reviewing, criticizing, or editing.

My blood pressure “spikes”, those little “veins” on my forehead bulge, a gallon of adrenaline “gets” poured into my bloodstream, and I have to resist the urge to smother the poor soul “who” offended me.

In my opinion, nothing — nothing — can make your sales copy appear ignorant more than the misuse or abuse of the humble apostrophe.

do not you know? Just about everyone in my office…every copy kid I work with…every vendor who sells something to my company…every client I have…even the top writers I plagiarize chief on a daily basis …can’t” not use apostrophes properly if you put a gun to their “heads”!

Look. It’s not brain science or rocket surgery: Three times — and only three times require an apostrophe…

Time #1 – Make a word possessive:

Rule A: If the root word is not possessive and does not end in an “s”, adding an apostrophe followed by an “s” makes the word possessive.

example:

“This is Clayton’s article.”

no “This is Clayton’s article.”

Rule B: If the word already ends with an “s”, no extra “s” is needed. An apostrophe at the end of a word is sufficient.

example:

“That’s the Martin Weiss newsletter”

no “That’s the Martin Weiss newsletter”

Rule C: Words that already have a possessive do not require an apostrophe, whether or not they end in an “s”.

example:

“Is this yours?”

no “Is this yours”

“Is this his?”

no “Is this his?”

“Is this hers?”

no “Is this hers?”

“Is this theirs?”

no “Is this theirs?”

“It Says Its Product”

no “It says it’s the product.”

absolutely not “It says its product.”

Time #2 – Using an acronym to combine two words into one:

An apostrophe is used to replace missing letters in compound words.

example:

it is = it is

don’t = don’t

won’t = won’t

can’t = can’t

she is = she is

he is = he is

they are = they are

Clayton is = Clayton’s

Time #3 – Colloquially, a letter or part of a word or number is missing.

example:

Clayton has been called the “Sultan of Persuasion.”

Back in ’87, the stock market crashed…

————————–

There.

I feel much better.

I’ll never have to correct these things again – right?

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