A long copy sales letter can run to around 10,000 words…
Writing so much copy takes a while.
So, it figures you’re going to have moments deep into the writing process when fresh inspiration comes.
I had this recently with a letter I’ve been working on for a financial newsletter in the US.
The idea I’m writing about is a live one and new stories are breaking all the time about what’s going on in the market. So, each time I sit down to write, there’s often been some new development.
Of course, not all of these new developments are worth writing in. But sometimes a story will help bring an element of your initial research to the front of your mind. It will complete the puzzle, so to speak, you couldn’t quite work in before.
When this happens, it’s only natural to write it in to the letter at the point you’re at. Chances are you’ve already done much of the core work on your headline and lead and you don’t really want to mix things up.
So, you drop this new piece in around page 20 and rationalise that it’ll be good when the reader gets there as they’ll be re-engaged. It’s a nice theory, but there’s a problem with that.
I’ll tell you what it is and what you should do in a second, but in the interests of not hiding my own best stuff, I also want to first thank everyone who’s already pre-ordered a copy of my book, The Art of the Click.
I think I’ve emailed everyone personally to thank them, but if you pre-ordered and sent me the confirmation and you haven’t heard from me – chase me up.
If you haven’t yet pre-ordered your copy – it would be great if you did today.
As soon as you do, forward me a copy of the order confirmation and I’ll add you to the list for the webinar I’ll be hosting in early August exclusively for readers of All Good Copy who pre-order the book.
You’ll also receive an exclusive copy of a swipe file report I’m putting together at the moment, which shares a load of my promos with some notes on stuff to look out for and try in your own copy.
Now, we were talking about why you shouldn’t hide your best stuff…
Because we all (should) know when it comes to copy, most people only ever read the headline and lead.
The battle for attention is a tough one that only ever gets harder.
So, it’s important you assume your reader is constantly on the edge of their seat…
Not in an excited ‘I want to read more’ way, but in a ‘I’m busy, I’m leaving’ way.
It’s why, when you finish your first draft, you need to consider the structure all over again, with fresh eyes.
Top-load your copy, and then keep refilling at the bottom
I finished a first draft.
Not quite complete, but almost there.
It was to the point I needed to get some more eyes on it.
And I should point out here, I would always recommend you get a few other people to review your first draft before you settle on a final structure.
The advantage of doing this is two-fold.
First, other readers will see bits they like later in the copy and raise them for you. Then you can pull them up to be higher in the copy.
Second, by seeing your copy through the eyes of others, you’ll also see stronger bits you’ve buried and be able to pull them up yourself.
This happened with the draft I just submitted.
The publisher read a section hidden away down on page 20 he thought was strong and suggested pulling it up.
As I was looking at how I could bring it up (it ended up on page 2), I noticed another section that was obviously stronger than the section before it and was able to move that higher to.
Technically, the sections were easy to move, but once they were in their new higher positions, they improved the copy and another read through suggested more ways to speed up the pace of the copy and get to the good stuff faster.
This is all a natural part of writing long direct-response copy, but so many people often skip it and run with their first draft.
I strongly recommend you take the time (usually a few days) to let the copy settle, your mind reset and then re-examine the copy to make sure you’re not hiding your best stuff.
Having moved good stuff higher, it follows the stuff left below might not seem as strong.
Just leave it, right? People only read the good stuff at the top anyway!
Of course not…we need to get real here.
Yes, the headline, the lead and the first pages of your copy must be super-strong to engage your reader, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the middle and end sections of your copy.
Once you’ve moved good bits up, you need to replace the bottom bits with stronger stuff.
Look for ways to improve your offer, different approaches to delivering a guarantee, drop in some fresh and current proof to bring the main argument back in.
Remember to give the later parts of your copy as much love and attention as you give to the opening.
And if you hit on something even stronger in the process that should be up top…start the process again. (Or to save yourself going insane, you could test a different headline and lead.)
Bottom line is: don’t hide your best stuff. Make sure it’s there where people can see it.
I expand on this idea in my book, The Art of the Click. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, make sure you do today.
Soon as your order conformation comes through, forward me a copy and I’ll as you to the exclusive webinar guest list.