How My 4 Kids Taught Me How to Write Kick-Butt Copy!

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By Carline Anglade-Cole

Who’d a thunk that being a mom would be the secret to becoming a million dollar copywriter?

After all, I had no idea what copywriting was when I was squeezing out my 4 little puppies.

But you know what?

Each of those 4 personalities taught me important lessons in the art of copywriting. I think you’ll find them valuable too!

Kid #1 – a lesson in overcoming objection and skepticism!

Man! My #1 daughter can drive me crazy! She’s stubborn … hard-headed … skeptical … and full of ATTITUDE.

This is a kid – who at the age of 6 months stared me right in the eyes while nursing and bit my nipple so hard my toes curled!

My husband said she didn’t know what she was doing – but I KNEW she knew – so I closed down her “cafeteria” immediately!

As she got older, we couldn’t just tell her what to do, we had to spend time to explain, convince and persuade her. If she didn’t believe you, she would find a way to rebel. But when she was convinced, she followed instructions to a T.

Guess what? Your market is the same way.

Don’t ever think you can get away with delivering copy that’s lacking proof elements and other forms of credibility. And don’t ever try to over-hype your product so the B.S. detector goes off in your prospect’s mind. You’ll lose the sale and you’ll end up in the poor house!

So make sure your package is loaded with:

  • CREDIBLE sources! I work mainly in the alternative health field. So I make sure I find ways to “name drop” as much as possible. I cite studies from reputable sources like the Journal of the American Medical Association, Mayo, Tufts, Dr. Linus Pauling, etc … People respect those names and using them gives your copy credibility up the whazoo!
  • Real testimonials! Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for testimonials. If the product is worth its weight in gold, the client should have plenty of them! One of my clients is so good at capturing testimonials, he once sent me over 300 to read! The result? I created a kick-butt package that’s nothing but testimonials! It was the easiest money I ever made!
  • Graphs, charts and other proof sources! I’ll be honest, I don’t understand graphs. I really can’t read them. But when I see them, I immediately think it must be something important. After all, somebody turned it into a graph! Something about that black bar being higher than the other or those squiggly lines moving up instinctively tells me it’s credible. Your market has been trained in similar thinking. So make sure to include these types of proofs whenever possible!

Kid #2 – a reminder for passion!

This is my drama queen. Everything with her is a production. This is a kid who would get a paper cut on her finger and wrap her entire arm in Ace bandages!

She’s also a very passionate person. She doesn’t hug you, she smothers you! She doesn’t have a “bad day” – she has “the worst day in her ENTIRE life” (with hand on forehead)!

For a high school graduation present, she got a T-shirt that said, “A little drama never hurt anyone.”

Guess what?

Your prospect is screaming for passion too!

So add some drama to your copy. Build up to a scintillating climax!

Tell stories. But not just any story – share thought-provoking, sit on the edge of your seat SPECIFIC stories. Have the reader “see” what you’re writing about.

For example, don’t just write about arthritis …

… Talk about how 56 year-old Jason’s knees “scream” when he bends … his joints forecast the temperature better than the local weatherman … his legs swell up like sausages … and his wife Shannon complains his back “goes out” more than they do!

Get the picture? Use word pictures!

Kid #3 – overcoming confusion and apathy!

This one is neither hot with passion nor cold with skepticism. She just doesn’t give a squat.

When I would threaten to take away her favorite toy as a punishment, she would say, “fine”. Again, she wasn’t rude – she just didn’t care.

Man, does that kid make me want to pull my hair out!

But I discovered that many times she would use apathy as an excuse. The real problem? She was confused, uncertain, embarrassed or uncomfortable. She didn’t want me or others to know it.

When I kept my requests simple and made sure she understood what I wanted, she followed through.

Guess what? (Ok, smarty pants, I KNOW you know what I’m going to say!)

You’ve got to prevent confusion in your copy and overcome apathy – the ultimate kiss of death!

Many times you know what you want to say as a writer. But are you sure you’re really SAYING IT right?

Make sure to avoid copy jumps that can lose or confuse your prospect.

Beware of double meanings … word bombs … or other copy landmines that can blow up in your face.

Take the prospect by the hand and tell them what to do. For example, many writers set up the sale but forget to ask for it.

Tell ‘em in no uncertain terms: “Don’t wait. Pick up the phone and call right 1 800 xxx-xxxx right now to receive your FREE gift while supplies last!”

Keep your copy simple and focused. And when you’ve finished writing your package, do this one important thing:

Read your copy out loud. Better yet, have others read it! Reading out loud helps you spot stumbling areas: awkward phrases, weird word usages, duplication of thought, etc … Having others read your copy let’s you know they understand what you’re trying to say!

If you don’t invest in this additional step – you may find your prospect loses interest and throws out your promotion because they don’t have time to figure out what you’re trying to say!

Kid #4 – a reminder for fun!

My son is infectious. He’s got a laugh that brings a smile to my heart. He knows how to make people feel comfortable. Little kids love to be around him. And he knows how to schmooze the older folks, too.

He’s also the clown who set off a firecracker in middle school and got suspended the day before he was to receive a “Good Citizenship” award!

This kid wakes up every day looking for ways to have fun!

Guess … (oh never mind – I’ll just get to the point!)

Add some fun – and sprinkle a little humor into your copy! How?

  • Share an embarrassing story that just about anyone can relate with. Disarming the prospect by showing him you’re a real person just like him can go a long way to making the sale. In one of my promotions for a digestive supplement, I talked about “passing gas” in a crowded room and everyone knew it was you! If you can’t relate to that story – you’re in denial!
  • Add a cartoon to your package. I’ve had successful packages where I put a cartoon right on the cover. If it’s appropriate to your theme, it can work like gangbusters. And who doesn’t like a funny cartoon or joke? One warning about jokes: Avoid off-color humor. You don’t want to take a chance of offending and turning off your prospect.
  • Add a quiz or trivia question. “Find out if you’re a sex-craved nympho. Take this quiz and see”. Now, admit it, wouldn’t you grab a pencil and answer the questions? When you include a quiz, make sure it’s easy to do and give the answer immediately. I get annoyed and feel robbed if I take the quiz and then find out I have to buy something to get the answer. I think most folks feel the same way too. Remember, the quiz is just an involvement device to keep the reader reading. Don’t add just any random quiz, make sure it’s appropriate to your package theme!

Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s ok to have some fun when writing your copy! Fun sells!

Another way to keep the fun feel in your copy is to write short paragraph and sentences.

I mean it.

Short ones.

Forget about what your English teacher taught you.

Use fragmented sentences.

And it’s ok to start a paragraph with “and”, “but” and just about anything you want!

Reading long blocks of copy feels like work – and who wants to add more work to their lives?

Remember, K-I-S-S! Keep it short and simple, Sweetie!

So my little 4 tax-deductions have paid off in a big way – yours can too!

If you’ve got kids – USE THEM! See how dealing with their personalities can make you a better writer too. Notice how persuading them can enhance your skills as a wordsmith. And do me a favor:

Let me know what YOU’VE discovered. We Mommas and papas gotta stick together. I’m still deep in the trenches of parenting – and I’ll take any help I can get!

***

Carline Anglade-Cole writes multi-year controls in the alternative health field for clients including Healthy Directions, Health Resources, True Health, Soundview Publications and Sun Chlorella USA. She also provides phone consultations and “mini-boot camps”. Put her 20 years of direct mail experience in mailing list strategies, new product development and creating kick-butt controls to work for your company!

Contact Carline directly by visiting her website at www.CarlineCole.com

Comments

  1. I love this article... It's funny and informative!
    I don't have children, so I don't have any first hand discoveries to share, yet. But, I would suggest another lesson from when I was a kid:
    Change your approach sometimes! It's not a good idea to be so predictible that your kids know your response to things before you actually respond. Or, they know how to work you when you do respond to wiggle out of things.
    I don't know what the parallel would be to copywriting because I'm new to that, but I hope this helps someone.
    Keep up the great work on your blog and with your kids! =)

    Stephanie Peay