Is Your Copy Filled With Hype?

pointer.jpgDo you worry that your copy might be too “hypey”? defines “hype” as: “an ingenious or questionable claim, method, etc., used in advertising, promotion, or publicity to intensify the effect.”

One of the additional definitions is: “a swindle, deception, or trick”.

I rather think the second one is what we have in mind when we say a copy is full of hype.

There is a place for the kind of hype that is “an ingenious…claim, method, etc., used in advertising, promotion, or publicity to intensify the effect”.

There is not a place in a respectable copywriter's toolbox for the kind of hype that is “questionable” or that uses “deception or tricks”.

The most reliable test for whether your copy is filled with the “bad” kind of hype is simple: is the claim being made in the copy true? If so, and if you can prove that it's true, then it's not the “bad” kind of hype.

What's more, if your copy is presented to the true prospects for your product or service, it won't be perceived as hype.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Start a proof file.

    As you gather info for a project from various sources keep track of where it came from and when you found it.

    A project specific swipe file is very helpful in focusing your efforts. But, I suggest that you fortify this swipe file with specific reference info.

    Web copy doesn’t typically use footnotes and references. But, there are very good reasons that book and report authors use them. It keeps their writing honest.

    We can keep footnotes and references in a special text file called a proof file. This file should be archived along with the finished product.

    Maintaining a proof file will help keep your writing good and true.

  • Cheryl Antier

    One of the questions I always ask new clients is how sophisticated their customers are – and I’m not talking about their cocktail party chatter.

    I’m talking about their sophistication (knowledge) with the product or service being presented. Because haven’t you found that the more knowledgeable someone is about a product or service, the less information you have to give them about it, and the more low-key your copy should be?

    Which doesn’t mean that if someone doesn’t have any idea that your product or service even exists that you get to fill your copy with hype. It just means that you’d better do a much more thorough job of answering all the possible objections and providing proof.

    A perfect example of is in Ray’s “Web Copywriting Explained” – and particularly the second “million dollar letter” that he wrote for Jack Canfield. (By the way Ray, just finished going through it, and I want in on the membership site you were talking about – when is that going to be available?!)

    Something I thought was particularly brilliant was the way you used the FAQ section to overcome all the objections without a single word of hype! That was a really nice bit of copywriting. And for anyone who’s trying to figure out how to get rid of the hype, that’s an excellent example that should be added to every copywriter’s swipe file. In case anyone wants to check it out, go here:
    (I hope you don’t mind Ray…but it really is that good.) ;-0