Your English Teacher Was Wrong.   2 comments

Hate to break it to you, but Mrs. Marple, your 8th grade English teacher, put you on the road to utter boredom.  At least when it comes to compelling ad copy.

You know all the rules that were drilled into our heads:

  • Use complete sentences!
  • Don’t ever end a sentence with a preposition!
  • Do not use contractions!
  • Write in the third person!
  • Give lots and lots of details!
  • Do NOT break the rules!

OK, here are Promobabe’s Rules for copywriting that works: 

Love the word “you.”  Sprinkle it liberally throughout your copy.

  Talk to one person at a time – not a group.

 Envision the prospect you’re talking to.  You’re having a conversation, not giving a speech.

 Do not use “do not.”  Or “we are.”  Or “I am.”  Stop channeling Mrs. Marple and embrace the fact that when you’re writing ad copy, contractions are your friends.  They make everything so much more friendly and readable.

 Too many exclamation points!!!!!  It’s overwhelming!!!! Unless you’re a 14 year old girl on Facebook!!!!!  Or wanna feel like a 14 year old girl again!!!!

 Sentence fragments are good.  Sometimes very good.  They add flow and rhythm to your copy.

 Ending sentences with a preposition will NOT result in jail time or the removal of your Writing Rights (in most states).

 White space is also your friend.  Be sure to break text up into paragraphs and/or bullet points for readability.  Your bleary-eyed customers will thank you for it.

And remember, now that you have the rules – feel free to break them anytime.  If you have a really good reason – and Mrs. Marple isn’t around. 

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Posted August 16, 2010 by promobabe in Copywriting, Creative Services

Tagged with , , ,

2 responses to “Your English Teacher Was Wrong.

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  1. When it’s appropriate to use humor, my two goals when writing copy, tweets, posts, ads, etc. are to first be clear and then clever.

  2. I’m all for humor when it’s used well and at the right times for the right messages. And you’re right, the key thing is to be clear first, then go for a chuckle. A mistake I regularly made as a new copywriter “back in the day” was using too many overly clever play on words. I sometimes fell in love with my own wittiness at the expense of my client’s message.

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