Here is one of the best tips I received that prepared me for writing marketing copy for authors and business coaches.
“There’s writing to please your English teachers and get good grades, and there’s writing to make money and sell things – and they’re two completely different crafts.”
A professional writer said this to me when I was a freshman in high school and I’ve never forgotten it.
I recommend that you remember it too when you’re writing marketing messages for your books and programs.
Marketing copy with an academic tone that would please your eighth-grade English teacher can come across to your audience as lifeless and stilted.
On the other hand, marketing copy with a lively style that mirrors the way you speak can grab and engage your audience.
However, when you write the way you talk you’re bound to break a few grammar rules … and that’s Ok.
Let’s face it, when you talk to people you end sentences with prepositions, you split infinitives, and you break other grammar rules that would make your old English teacher cringe.
If you don’t lose sleep over the way you talk to your prospects, you shouldn’t lose sleep over the style in which you write your marketing copy.
Now, you don’t want to hack up the English language and misspell words and be sloppy with your writing. But, you do want to write your copy in a conversational tone that sounds like you.
If the tone in which you speak to your crowd is authoritative, gritty, witty, or inspirational, then the tone and voice of your marketing copy should be authoritative, gritty, witty, or inspirational.
If this means splitting an infinitive, ending some sentences with prepositions, or using a sentence fragment here and there …so be it!
To gain further insight into when it’s acceptable to bend grammar rules when writing marketing copy for your books and programs, check out this week’s Quick Answers to Copywriting Questions video.
Never be afraid to sound like yourself when writing your marketing copy. In fact, I urge you to discover your true authentic voice and write all your promotional materials through it.
Here are few examples of age-old grammar rules you can break without getting arrested.
Ending a sentence with a preposition
Instead of writing, “There are risks and complications of which you should be aware,” give yourself permission to write, “There are risks and complications you should be aware of.”
Splitting an infinitive (go find 10 people who even know this rule)
Instead of writing, “We’ve decided to eliminate our service fees completely,” allow yourself to write, “We’ve decided to completely eliminate our service fees.”
Using sentence fragments
It’s perfectly fine in marketing copy to use sentence fragments to establish a sharp tone, keep your sentences crisp, and give center stage to specific selling points. Here’s an example.
“Zach’s pain relief cream does it all. Relieves aches. Reduces inflammation. And it eliminates the need for ice packs and hot pads. No wonder so many doctors recommend it. Zach’s pain relief cream. Stay in the game for life.”
Remember, if writing copy that sells means breaking a few grammar rules you learned in school, don’t worry about it. However, don’t overdo it.
There’s a fine line between bending the rules and writing sloppy copy that one would expect to see from an amateur. Always respect this line and try not to cross it.
Will this post make it easier for you to write conversational marketing copy without fearing the wrath of your old English teacher? Please leave a comment and let me know!
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