Pricey Enterprise Builder,

My 12-year-old son has appointed himself “The crack cop” round our home.

The minute anybody permits his or her pants to slide a little bit low after which bends over, the boy gleefully shouts, “Say no to crack!” – after which collapses helplessly into spasms of laughter.

Occurred to me simply final night time. In entrance of the nanny. Frickin’ humiliating.

Now, as your buddy and mentor, I might hate for something like that to occur to you – particularly while you current your copy to a shopper.

Displaying your keester – proving that you just performed hooky the day they taught the foundations of grammar and punctuation in Third Grade – is not any approach to put your profession on the quick monitor!

No, I am not selecting on you. In truth, this challenge is extra about my well being than your profession.

See, I get tons of spec assignments and samples from writers who need to work with me. Plus, I edit reams of gross sales copy from each “A” and “B” stage writers who work for my company, Response Ink.

And if I’ve to right another dumb and/or careless blunder in grammar or punctuation, my head’s going to blow up.

And so, in what I am positive is a futile try to move off the guts assault or stroke I am positive will strike the following time I see the identical brain-dead errors in gross sales copy — listed below are 17 easy pointers I discovered on an academic web site that will assist …

1. Verbs has to agree with their topics.

2. Additionally too, by no means, ever use repetitive redundancies.

3. Be kind of particular.

4. Parenthetical remarks (nonetheless related) are (normally) pointless.

5. No sentence fragments.

6. Overseas phrases and phrases are usually not apropos.

7. Don’t be redundant; don’t use extra phrases than needed; it is extremely superfluous.

8. One ought to by no means generalize.

9. Do not by no means use no double negatives.

10. Keep away from ampersands & abbreviations, and many others.

11. The passive voice is to be averted.

12. Remove commas, which are, not needed. Parenthetical phrases nonetheless ought to be enclosed in commas.

13. By no means use a giant phrase when a diminutive or minuscule one will suffice.

14. Use phrases accurately, irregardless of how others use them.

15. Understatement is all the time the best possible approach to put forth earthshaking concepts.

16. Exaggeration is a billion instances worse than understatement.

17. Proofread fastidiously to see you any phrases out.

Now, I hear that along with the foundations above, these of you with a sheepskin in your wall have been additionally taught some stuff about speaking successfully in English that simply ain’t true – like …

1. One-word sentences? Remove. No manner! I’ve discovered that when used with discretion, one-word sentences and even one-word paragraphs in gross sales copy add emphasis and make the web page look extra inviting.

2. Who wants rhetorical questions? I do – that is who! Rhetorical questions are a good way to cease prospects in his or her tracks and get them pondering. My rhetorical headline, “What’s Incorrect with Getting Richer Faster?” mailed for years.

3. Contractions aren’t needed and should not be used. Baloney! Contractions ought to all the time be used when writing gross sales copy – until NOT utilizing them provides acceptable emphasis: “Do not buy any inventory as we speak” is way much less emphatic than “Do NOT purchase any inventory as we speak”.

4. Prepositions are usually not phrases to finish sentences with. Not essentially true. Bear in mind: Our goal is to write down colloquially – and most of our prospects break this rule with wild abandon.

5. And do not begin a sentence with a conjunction. WRONG! Conjunctions are connecting phrases … when used in the beginning of a paragraph, they are often very useful in selling readership.

6. It’s flawed to ever break up an infinitive. Once more – if you happen to’re chatting with your prospect colloquially, it might generally be useful to.

7. Keep away from clichés just like the plague. (They’re outdated hat.) That is as dumb as a bag of hammers. Clichés, metaphors and different figures of speech are extra than simply colloquial and cozy; they have a tendency to color vivid psychological photographs. And as we each know, an image is price a thousand phrases.

8. Additionally, all the time keep away from annoying alliteration. A few of the handiest headlines ever written used alliteration to make them memorable. Bencivenga’s legendary “Lies, Lies, Lies” “12 Smiling Swindlers” and many others.

9. Comparisons are as unhealthy as clichés. Who wrote these guidelines anyway? Comparisons are important in gross sales copy. To make my case, I typically evaluate one thing that is occurring within the financial system or inventory market as we speak with one thing that occurred in years previous.

And to simplify issues, I typically evaluate one thing that occurs inside your physique with one thing that occurs outdoors it: “This complement is sort of a rotor-rooter in your arteries.”

And naturally, evaluating the excessive worth of the advantages my product delivers with its low value is a confirmed winner.

10. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake. Once more – analogies are phrase photos … they’re utilized in colloquial dialog … they usually’re a fast approach to drive your level dwelling.

11. Kill all exclamation factors! Not all the time! Even handed use of exclamation factors when writing gross sales copy is useful to emphasise essential factors! Overuse can kill, although!

12. Remove quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “I hate quotations. Inform me what .” You possibly can quote me on this: Waldo was a drooling moron. Quoting a high knowledgeable’s implicit or specific endorsement of your rationale, theme or product is a robust approach to set up credibility.

13. In case you’ve heard it as soon as, you’ve got heard it a thousand instances: Resist hyperbole; not one author in one million can use it successfully. Hyperbole is like artwork: Nobody can outline it, however everybody thinks they realize it once they see it. As the author, you alone ought to choose whether or not your tone and phrase selections are acceptable or hype.

14. Puns are for kids, not for groan readers. Inform that to Arthur Johnson: He is aware of that gentle humor – together with puns – generally is a highly effective readership and response booster, particularly in heads and subheads!

15. Go across the barn at excessive midday to keep away from colloquialisms. Nonsense. Colloquialisms talk. See above.

Nonetheless, there may be another algorithm that I DO attempt to comply with fastidiously – and that I see damaged greater than another …

Use the apostrophe in its correct place and omit it when it is not wanted.

Ah, apostrophes. These little demons appear to bedevil everybody I do know. Downside is, the misuse of apostrophes is a pet peeve of mine.

Cannot clarify why, however once they’re used incorrectly in copy I am reviewing, critiquing or modifying, they make me see pink.

My blood strain “skyrocket’s,” these little “vein’s” in my brow bulge, a gallon of adrenaline “get’s” dumped into my blood stream and I’ve to withstand the urge to throttle the poor individual “whos” offended me.

In my humble opinion, nothing – NOTHING – makes your gross sales copy look extra ignorant than misusing or abusing the common-or-garden apostrophe.

And would not it? Virtually everybody in my workplace … each copy cub I work with … each vendor who sells stuff to my firms … each shopper I’ve … and even the highest writers I copy chief daily … could not use an apostrophe accurately if you happen to held a gun to their “head’s!”

Look. This ain’t mind science or rocket surgical procedure: There are 3 times – and ONLY 3 times when an apostrophe is named for …

Time #1 — To make a phrase possessive:

RULE A: If the foundation phrase is NOT possessive and doesn’t already finish in an “s,” including an apostrophe adopted by an “s” makes that phrase possessive.


“That is Clayton’s article.”

NOT “That is Claytons’ article.”

RULE B: If the phrase already ends in “s,” no further “s” is critical. An apostrophe on the finish of the phrase is adequate.


“That is Martin Weiss’ publication”

NOT “That is Martin Weiss’s publication”

RULE C: Phrases which are already possessive don’t want an apostrophe, no matter whether or not or not they finish in an “s”.


“Is that this yours?”

NOT “Is that this your’s”

“Is that this his?”

NOT “Is that this his’?”

“Is that this hers?”

NOT “Is that this her’s?”

“Is that this theirs?”

NOT “Is that this their’s?”

“It stated its product”

NOT “It stated it is product.”

And DEFINITELY NOT “It stated its’ product.”

Time #2 — To mix two phrases into one utilizing a contraction:

The apostrophe is used to interchange a lacking letter within the mixed phrase.


It Is = It is

Don’t = Do not

Is not going to = Will not

Couldn’t = Could not

She is = She’s

He’s = He is

They’re = They’re

Clayton is = Clayton’s

Time #3 – Colloquially, to point {that a} letter or a part of a phrase or quantity is lacking.


Clayton has been known as “The Sultan of ‘suasion.”

Again in ’87, the inventory market crashed …



I really feel higher.

I am going to by no means must right this stuff once more – proper?


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