It took me years to discover how to use this computer key properly. It has been critical to my success as a copywriter. I am tempted to keep it a secret.
This computer key is almost universally underutilized and misunderstood. Mastering it will change your life (well, it will make you a better communicator, and that may change your life.) I wish someone had revealed to me the secret of using this key, years ago.
Okay, enough with the cheesy buildup: the key I’m talking about is the ENTER key. Here’s the simple secret of using it effectively: press it more often!
How this key improves your thinking
Want to learn to think more clearly? Learn to write better paragraphs.
Let’s say you decide to write about a topic: anything from the mating habits of muskrats, to how your business serves clients. Here’s how to get started:
Step One: Come up with exactly one thought about that topic.
Step Two: Write from one to three lines about that thought—lines, not necessarily sentences.
Step Three: Hit the Enter key to transform it into a paragraph.
Keep repeating the steps until you have organized the topic—in your mind and in your writing.
The primary unit of thought
I know what you’re thinking. This three-step copywriting formula is too simplistic. Yes, I must admit that there is more to copywriting than that.
But it is the right starting point.
Here’s what the three-step process forces you to do:
• It makes the paragraph your primary unit of thought.
• It forces you to reduce each thought to its essentials.
• It makes your writing reader-friendly.
Four amazing tricks you can try at home
Once you’ve written a first draft, use these easy techniques to make improvements.
1. Try deleting the first two paragraphs. Inexperienced, untrained writers have trouble getting to the point. In journalism it’s called “burying the lead”. Cut out unnecessary language.
2. Break up your writing into even shorter paragraphs. Don’t be afraid to use a few one-sentence paragraphs. It’s a great way to emphasize key points.
3. Rearrange the order of sentences within the paragraph. It is easy to bury the lead in a single paragraph too. Think of each paragraph as an upside-down triangle: important sentence on top, supporting sentences below.
4. Move the paragraph closer to the beginning or more toward the end. If a paragraph doesn’t sound right, it may be in the wrong place. Find the ideal placement for each paragraph, and the writing will flow better.
Writing with a business purpose in mind
When I am hired by an entrepreneur for a copywriting project, the client often learns as much as I do.
Together we think about his message. We tailor it for those in his target market. We tweak it until it’s perfect.
Getting your message right enables you to
• Attract ideal clients
• Engage them with your ideas
• Convert prospects into clients
Want to improve your business? Then get serious about copywriting your marketing message. And don’t forget to keep hitting that ENTER key.
Practice makes perfect
In the comment section below, write about one (only one) thought you had while reading this post. Keep it under 3 lines. Shuffle the sentences around until they suit you. I’ll respond personally to every comment.
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