Watch Your Mouth, Copywriter!

yousaidwhat.jpgThe Story: Have you ever read a website and it just seemed to “stiff” or “formal” to you?

Or you felt like they were talking over your head, using a lot of buzzwords and lingo you didn't understand?

Me too.

That leads to this little tip that will really help your copy make more sales (or generate more leads, or whatever you need it to do)…

The Point: Copy should read like conversation; it should flow naturally and be easy to listen to (or read).

The Resource: Any tabloid. I like the Enquirer.

3 Ways To Keep It Simple:

1. Use strong, punchy language.
2. Write in short sentences and paragraphs.
3. Avoid jargon.

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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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  • Cheryl Antier

    Hey Ray,

    I have to tell you, your “CopyCasts” are becoming addictive!

    Luckily I don’t consider them to be one of those “time wasters” you and Kirt Christenson talked about in an earlier Webcast.

    You know, the one you did about how immersion can improve your skills and ramp up your business success? It’s here, if someone wants to listen to it (if it’s still available that is…)

    Speaking of which, when are we going to start hearing about the results of that event? I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m dying of curiosity to find out more…)

    When I read your post and then listened to your podcast on this topic, it reminded me of something I was confused about when I first started out as a copywriter.

    One of the things I heard about – but didn’t understand how to actually “do” – was to “carry on the conversation your prospect is already having inside his/her head.”

    So I wanted to add it to the excellent points you’ve already made about how important it is for us as copywriters to “watch our mouths.”

    I wrote a special report for my new clients that talks about how important it is that they understand where their visitors are coming from when they get to their Website.


    Because your copy should give visitors the information they are expecting to receive when they get to your site.

    You have to know why they’re searching for you. (Are they looking for general information about your industry, specific information about your products or services – or the affiliate product or services you’re promoting, or did they just get lucky?)

    One of the ways to figure that out is to know what keywords or keyword phrases they’re using to find you.

    And you should know where they’re coming from. (Search engines, your list, someone else’s list, advertisement, etc.)

    Because once you’ve got all of that information, you’ll know what information they’re expecting to find. And you’ll know exactly how to continue the conversation they’re already having inside their heads.

    So you’ll be able to write copy that catches their attention, whets their appetite to find out more or deepens the relationship.

    Which means you’ll be able to smoothly lead them through whatever your process is for taking whatever action you want them to take.

    1. Using (their) strong, punchy language.
    2. Writing in short sentences and paragraphs.
    3. Avoiding jargon (unless they’re expecting to find jargon).

  • Ray Edwards

    @ Cheryl:

    Great comments, Cheryl. I am getting back on the CopyCast bandwagon this week. The daily schedule was a little tough to keep up, so I’m not sure I’ll promise daily ones. Maybe weekly. What do you think? (And anyone else who wants to chime in)…

  • Cheryl Antier


    I don’t know how you do the daily one anyway! (I was thinking maybe you’d made a deal with the devil or cloned yourself or worked 90-plus hours a week or something.) With running three very active divisions of my company, and working on two JV projects plus actually having a personal life – it’s all I can do to pull off one teleseminar a month!

    Seriously, I think a weekly CopyCast would be great. You give great information – and so far, every single time I’ve listened I’ve found a little gem that I can put into action in my business right away.

    Thanks for your commitment to helping us. It’s appreciated.

  • Being from a technical background I have always written in very short, to the point and accurate sentences. Most people respond to that kind of writing with indifference. I have intentionally elaborate points and use more visual descriptions.

  • Ed Erickson

    Great idea on a weekly copycast. Don’t kill yourself Ray! Your readers/listners value what you have to offer… so we need you. : )

    You know this even applies to the trend in book sales, even in the business catagory where you’d expect mature readers with older school attention spans. Check out this blog post by Steve Berlin Johnson

    Here’s a snip:

    Pretty interesting study. Shows how these trends are across all information products, especially the written word.

  • In general, simple writing is better. But sometimes jargon can be good. It lets your market know that you’re one of them.

    For instance, I’m reminded of something John Carlton wrote once. It was something like, “even you’re riding buck naked on a clapped-out single-stroke dirt bike!”

    It was something like that.

    Carlton didn’t even know what “clapped-out” meant. He just asked his client for a phrase. That’s what his client gave him. Apparently, the phrase (which I think is jargon) resonated with the target audience.