The 2 Most Important Words in Copywriting

…they are: “So what?”

If your copy provokes that reaction in the reader, you lose.

Make sure your copy — and all your marketing — passes the “so what” test.

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • James

    Would have been nice if you gave Gary Bencivenga credit for this tip as he’s the one who first came up with it anpopularized it.

    • I would have been happy to do that if that had been where I got it.

      Thanks for sharing.

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  • Great post. This is a strategy question. Advertising agencies are bringing on account planners – and advertisers are asking for account planning – to answer questions just like this at a deep level.

    Of course, most of us have to be our own strategists. It can be fun, as long as we know what problem our ad solves for both our advertisers and their audiences. Fun stuff if you like strategy.

    • And if you don’t like it, you might want to learn to! 🙂

  • TheEmailWriter

    I love this. But like all great advice this is hard to follow. What makes one person say “So what?” will make one person say “Oh yeah!” Oh, the challenge of tuning into your customers…
    I test out most of my copy on my spouse. If she falls asleep I delete everything I wrote. If she doesn’t fall asleep then I know that I have something worth publishing.
    If she hits me then I call it a day and go on a shopping spree because that copy is going to make me filthy rich by the end of the week. Well, no it won’t…
    But I find that it’s a good way to make sure my copy isn’t boring.

  • Alan

    While a “so what” uttered by the reader spells doom, using “so what” to dig deeper into product benefits or reason’s why can prove invaluable for crafting highly persuasive copy.

  • I will not forget to ask, “So, what?” Sometimes, even if it’s creative and innovative, it may not answer the question…