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Sunday, January 17, 2010

This morning I took a few minutes to read the cereal box sitting on the table in front of me. Although I'm an eggs and toast kind of guy, a good bowl of cereal hits the spot now and again. After reading the promotional copy before me, I realized just how good it was from a marketing perspective - Concise, meaningful, and relevant!  It's amazing what you can find on a cereal box!

Maybe it's time you took a look at your web site or print copy

When I was in grad school, I spent a lot of time learning about direct marketing and what separates good copy from bad.  As an author, I often struggle with the written word as writing a book (SEO Made Simple) is different than writing a direct mail piece or even website copy.  I learned a lesson a long time ago that came back to me while I was reading my box of Rice Krispies.  When writing copy, ask yourself "who cares?" after each sentence you write.

That's right, "who cares?"  After writing each line of copy, I was taught to ask the question who cares?  If you actually try this exercise you'll find that a number of your sentences are without personalization, are too vague, or simply hold no value for the reader.  After writing each line of copy ask "who cares?"  If you can answer using the copy just written, you're on your way to more effective copy writing.


The other aspect of marketing copy that makes a real difference is the old acronym of "What's in it for me?"  Is your copy directed at your audience?  I was at a sales meeting this past week and presented to three similar groups. However, each group had their area of specialty and focus.  When asked to present to each group, I found myself asking, "Why should they care about the information I'm presenting?".  When I realized that the presentation wasn't ideal for groups 2 and 3, I found myself up late one night making changes to the presentation.

If what you have to say isn't relevant, it will be ignored.  Your copy needs to reflect the mindset and focus of your target audience. It's best to get feedback from those you're targeting and continually work to improve your understanding of their needs, environment, and ultimately the messages they resonate with.

What You'll Discover On Your Cereal Box

The next time you read your cereal box, you'll discover that with very limited space, and few words, good copywriters make you feel the value and benefit of what you have in your cereal bowl.  I've learned over the years that great copywriting is hard to find.  Bu then again, I never really stopped to read my cereal box.  I suppose great copywriting was there all along.  Enjoy your breakfast!


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