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8 Rules Of Great Copywriting: Eugene Schwartz

Every piece of content you create has to do two things:

  1. Rescue its audience from their own personal hell and
  2. Deliver them unto their own personal heaven. Great copywriting is about salvation … not sales.” Eugene Schwartz
Be the best listener you ever met.

Naturally, you should always listen to what your current customers have to say, but Schwartz also advocated listening to the market — and he practiced what he preached — because by doing so, you’ll understand what the market thinks and feels. This enables you to create content that effectively targets your prospects’ hearts and minds.

Work extremely intensely, in spurts.

Schwartz was extremely productive, channelling his energy into many projects and not only creating some of the most effective copy of all time. To enhance his productive output, he developed a ‘magic formula’ for copywriting in which he set a kitchen alarm clock to 33.33 (thirty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds), sat down to write and never got up or stopped writing until the alarm went off.

Never “create” — know the product to the core and combine the details in new ways.

The more you know something, the better able you are to write about it. Schwartz was a strong advocate of taking the time to get to know a product so as to understand its strengths and the benefits it offers its intended audience. Once he had compiled a list of benefits, he then started writing the copy, combining the benefits that he had identified in a variety of ways to increase the product’s appeal to prospects. If a product is high-quality and has something valuable to offer, it will have numerous strengths that can be combined and presented in different ways to appeal to your target audience.

Write to the chimpanzee brain – simply and directly.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This follows on from the previous point in that you need to understand the product you’re promoting well enough to write about it in a simple and direct manner. A good way of putting this into action is to get to know the product and then when write about it, don’t make the assumption that your prospects have a comprehensive understanding of the product or that their needs are overly complex. Write as though your target audience is between 8 and 14-years old and has simple needs and desires.

Think about what your product “does”, not “is” — and demonstrate this.

What does your product do and how does this make your prospects’ lives better? Demonstrate the benefits, especially the emotional benefits, with your copy, images and marketing content. A good way to look at this is to write about the features of a product in a way that directly shows how it will improve the prospect’s situation.

Make gratification instantaneous.

With your copy, especially your headlines, the prospective customer should already feel like they’re getting something, that they’re already feeling the benefits your products — or doing business with your company — provide. The objective here is to create desire in prospects that incites them to take action, not just create curiosity that makes them wonder about the benefits your product may deliver.

Failing often, and testing big differences, shows you are trying hard enough.

Schwartz strongly believed in testing copy to make sure it hit the mark. Test, test, test, and don’t be afraid to fail.

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