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Knowledge Of The Spoken Word Makes Copywriting Sell by Andrew Barnes

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Knowledge Of The Spoken Word Makes Copywriting Sell by
Article Posted: 05/20/2013
Article Views: 78
Articles Written: 421
Word Count: 531
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Knowledge Of The Spoken Word Makes Copywriting Sell

There are two things that distinguish top copywriters from the rest of the hoi polloi - 1. A deep, reverential knowledge of street-wise salesmanship... and... 2. A love affair with the English language. Yes, I talk endlessly (endlessly!) about the salesmanship stuff, because that's the thing most rookie copywriters lack. Europeans look at language differently than Yanks, probably because every fifty miles or so everyone is speaking a completely foreign tongue. Language is identity. Across the pond, it matters how you form your vocal outbursts, and large vocabularies impress. Back here on the farm, most local dialects of English have degenerated over the generations. Americans have pathetically tiny vocabularies (though most understand more words than they routinely use when speaking). Language gets a bum rap here. Which is great...if you're a serious writer. The top copywriters and marketers have a Thesaurus in their head... but only after years of actually using a physical one. We've just memorized a bunch of different word choices, through the act of beefing up our writing over and over again. I call it Creating Power Word Charts. Most rookie copywriters and marketers choose common verbs as they write. That's fine. During editing, though, whip out the Thesaurus and see what other choices are available for that dull, over-worked word. Write them down on a piece of paper. Then, look up each of those words, and see what other connotations exist. And write some of the best of those words down. What you will have is a page full of choices, all connected like a genealogy chart back to the initial word. For example, let's say you used the word run in your copy. On page 693 of my trusty, beat-to-crap Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus, the synonyms for run take half a column. Let's see... dash, scamper, scoot, scurry, sprint... and a suggestion to check out scuttle. Related words listed: race, bustle, hurry, rush, speed, scorch. All this work... just to find one right word? You bet. It may seem like a hassle, but it's just detective research on the language vehicle that will carry your pitch. The right word in your headline can transform the level of interest you create in your reader. However, don't make the rookie mistake of going overboard with this. Most of the vanilla verbs and other words you use are just fine in your copy. You're not trying to challenge the reader, by leveling odd and trippy word choices at him with every verb. No way. It's the critical verbs and phrases that you need to tend to - the parts of your pitch that suck your reader in, and hold him tight while you shovel your sales message into his quivering brain. Probably, you don't need to change the word run in your copy. The English language is the most adaptable and useful language in the world. It's just that we don't make full use of it... which is a shame for the communicative powers of your average Joe, but a criminal act for a writer. Words are easy to fall in love with. They have the power to seduce, entrance and slay. Get hip.

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