How to inject some punch into your copy
Let me now talk to you about how to really increase the quality of your words.
As we get deeper into the details, I want to help you understand the elements of good marketing and what makes a great copy.
A lot of adjectives and adverbs in your copy might make it appear more powerful. This is what marketers are taught to do.
It’s just bloated copy. This copy becomes hype-filled or hyperbolic.
You want powerful verbs. You want to use the fewest adverbs and most powerful verbs.
Make sure you go through at least one copy of your marketing copy. This is where you simply look at the verbs and see if there are any that can be improved by a stronger verb.
Let me show you how a “so-so” verb can be distinguished from a verb with more emotional power. The difference between “embarrassing” and “humiliate” is obvious. Humiliate is an emotionally charged word. There are two words: “get” and “sees”, “take” and “grab,” as well as “touch” and “stroke.”
You could visualize the second one more if you said “He touched her hair” instead of “He stroked her head.”
Imagine someone softening and gently stroking the hair. Instead of “touched”, which can be difficult to imagine an image for because it is hard to picture how he touched. It’s not exactly an image-painting word.
We have “drink” and “gulp”. Gulp is a more dimensionalized verb.
“Fill” versus “stuff”, “make,” “force,” and “force,” respectively. “Fill” versus “stuff,” or “fill,” versus what? “ran,” versus what? “sprinted.” “I ran over” or “I sprinted across.”
“Hit” versus “smack.” It isn’t as emotionally charged, but you can see how “hit”.
It doesn’t paint a full picture, does it. It’s not as strong as “smack” in feeling. It is visible in your mind.
That’s what we really want.
Here are two examples of “very tired” versus “exhausted.”
This is a better way to use a verb. A single power verb can replace the words “very tired”. It can be used to indicate a weak construction. “Cry loudly” can be replaced by “sob.”
Then we have “walk slowly.”
Here’s another example of an adjective. Here’s another example of an adverb. We have a verb and an adverb. The adverb can be replaced by a stronger, more powerful verb.
At least one pass should be where you improve the power and punch of your verbs.
Take a look at the title of this section. I intentionally did this to illustrate this point.
“How to inject some punch into your copy”
You could have said “Give Your Copy Punch,” however, I wanted to use an even stronger verb: “infuse.”
“Infuse” is better than “How to put more punch in your copy.”
“Put”, such a weak verb, is so common. “Put” is a weak verb. “Infuse”, pack, “stuff”, and “slam”, are much more powerful verbs.
You’ll then have adjectives.
Adjectives, or one these types of word choices, are something that you don’t often think about. I believe we can often remove adjectives to make your copy more engaging. When you do use adjectives, ensure that they are clear and add more detail. This will paint a better picture.
For example, “tall” versus 6’8″. What does it mean to say that the guy was tall? It’s hard for me to imagine that. It doesn’t clarify. It doesn’t add more dimension.
It’s not hard to say that the guy is 6’8″. Or you could say “beautiful skin”. What does this mean? We mean “Beautiful Skin”. How does it look?
Beautiful? It’s not possible to see it in your mind’s eyes. This doesn’t provide any more information. If we instead said “Smooth, yellow skin”, you can now see it. It now has more detail and clarity. It is smooth. It’s dark. It’s dark, right?
“Amazing Voice” is better than “sultry voice.” What does it mean to have an incredible voice? An amazing voice is what we mean. Amazing deep voice, loud voice, soft voice? What kind of voice do you have?
These words – “amazing”, “great,”” “fantastic”, “superb,” and “cool” — don’t add any detail so they don’t help clarify.
“Sultry Voice” provides more detail, more clarity.
“Incredible savings” is better than “half-price discount.” What is an amazing saving? Consider a 20% discount, 30% off, 50%, or 80% savings. It’s simple. It doesn’t provide more clarity. It doesn’t clarify. So “half-price discount” does.
“A lot of people” is better than “more people than a Jay Z concert.”
Can you imagine what you are seeing, or can you picture a large group of people gathered together?
But, “a lot of people?” But what is “a lot of people?” Are there 12? Is it 12? Is it 15? Is it a mob of people? It isn’t more descriptive to say “a lot of people”.
“An older man” is different from “an elderly man.”
If you are looking for a way to get along with an older man, such as a man in their early eighties or late seventies, “elderly”, is a better description than “older.” It is difficult to imagine an “older man”. You can picture an elderly man with gray hair and maybe a cane.
“Fast car” versus “350 horsepower Ferrari”.
“Huge bodybuilder,” versus “310lbs of solid muscle.”
It’s not as descriptive of “310” as “huge bodybuilder”. “Big guy” is certainly better than “huge bodybuilder,” right? Or “big weightlifter.” This adds even more clarity, but we can also get more descriptive clarification.
“A Mensa-level genius uncle” is different from “a really smart uncle”.
He is “really smart.” Is he really that smart? Is he a teacher or a professor? Is he a teacher? Anything, “really intelligent” can be replaced with “genius” if needed.
Then we can give you the details with this “Mensa-level genius.”
“Wealthy neighbor” versus “filthy rich neighbor.”
“Nice chandelier” verse “glowing, crystal chandelier.”
“Nice” does not add any more clarity. “Glowing crystal” helps you see more of the action.
If in doubt, you can also remove the word “that”. It is easy to remove the word “that”, and your copy will flow more smoothly. It adds more punch.
Let’s take an example. “I knew I would be able go to the store at 3 o’clock.”
We can eliminate the word “that” and the sentence still works. “I knew that I would be able go to the shop at three o’clock.” This word is unnecessary. You need tighter copy. You desire shorter, more punchy copy.
Another example: “The doctor told her she couldn’t play basketball anymore.” That could be removed. No pun intended. “The doctor told her she couldn’t play basketball.”
Another example: “It meant I would have to be on medication for many years.” This can be eliminated. It meant that I would have to take medicine for many years.
We are looking for ways to reduce the amount of copy. A tighter copy flow is better.
You can’t delete the word “that”, because it’s not always possible, but sometimes you have to use the term “that,” so I would suggest that you look into whether you could replace “that” by the word, “which.”
Instead of saying “I bought an iron sword that can cut through cement,” say “I bought an iron sword which can cut through cement.”
Writing is as important as speaking. Write as much as you talk. You want to talk as much as you write, no matter if you are going to use the marketing message in a long-form sales email or as part of a VSL.
Writing like a book is not what you want. Write like you’re talking so that it feels and sounds like conversation. You don’t need to worry about grammar. Do not worry about ending sentences with a dangling participle or something like that. Write as much as you speak.
This is why I like to speak out loud when I write copy. I want to ensure that what I say flows and that the words are written in the same manner as I would talk.