In the event you’re like me, you’re not writing that banner advert, Site, or touchdown web page to make your English instructor proud. You’re writing to promote.
In the event you get an “A” when you’re at it, nice. However don’t rely on it. To get prospects to click on, name, or purchase, you’ll must take some liberties with the English language.
As direct-response legend Herschell Gordon Lewis so aptly stated, “Grammar is our weapon, not our god.”
Though copywriting requires a special method than Strunk and White would advocate, don’t burn your grammar books simply but. It’s essential to know the principles earlier than you break them.
Following are some guidelines to maintain and a few guidelines to bend or break. However first an essential precept.
Subsequent time you face a grammar grappler, ask your self this query: Which phrase building can be clearer to the prospect or buyer?
Readability comes first as a result of it’s the prescription for quick comprehension. Copywriting that blurs which means (which typically consists of grammatically excellent writing) slows studying and jeopardizes curiosity — and gross sales.
WARNING: This isn’t license to play havoc with the English language. Literacy should prevail. Following are some guidelines to maintain.
Guidelines to Hold
Topic and verb settlement. Whether or not you’re writing an infomercial or Struggle and Peace, singular topics take singular verbs and plural topics take plural verbs. All the time. A easy rule, execution is usually problematic. The hot button is to obviously establish the topic of the sentence.
The lively voice. If you would like your copywriting to have most punch, use the lively voice at each alternative. Lively voice: I wrote the sentence. Passive voice: The sentence was written by me.
Use of Modifiers. Modifiers could cause a wide range of issues. There are the questions of which and what number of modifiers to make use of. Once more, let readability be your information. Additionally, poor placement of modifiers leads to confusion, your enemy. To make comprehension simple, put modifiers close to the phrases they’re modifying.
Guidelines to Bend or Break
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ushered in a brand new period in American literature. One of many primary causes was Twain’s use of vernacular. He wrote the best way individuals talked, a departure from the stiff, formal English widespread in the course of the Victorian interval.
For copywriters, writing the best way individuals discuss is completely important.
Why? As a result of copy that’s pleasant, casual and conversational stands a greater probability of getting prospects to click on, name or purchase. Which is strictly why sacrificing the next conventions may be within the copywriter’s finest curiosity.
Ending sentences with a preposition. To some a no-no, ending a sentence with a preposition can heat up your copywriting. Which sounds friendlier to you: “Right here is the data you requested” or “Right here is the data you requested for”?
Starting sentences with a conjunction. Starting sentences with conjunctions (and, or, however, nor) is extra widespread, even in journalism. Not solely is it the best way individuals discuss, it could actually shorten sentence size, a plus in delivering gross sales messages.
Different casual gadgets. Use contractions to heat up your message. Additionally, use sentence fragments. Not solely do they shorten common sentence size, they add rhythm. And drama.
Punctuation. Use punctuation to your promoting benefit. I’m inclined to make use of extra dashes and an occasional exclamation level and ellipsis so as to add drama and pleasure to the gross sales message. Commas may be fairly subjective, so I generally tend to make use of the minimal quantity to maintain readers shifting via the copy as rapidly as doable.
Hold that grammar ebook, stylebook, dictionary and different author’s references close by. You’re nonetheless going to want them.
But additionally don’t let grammar be your god, or your subsequent on-line promotion may very well be a large gross sales flop.
(c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel