Principles of Copywriting

  • Use Attention Getting Headlines

BPL  – Powerful performance, Incredible looks

  •  Keep body copy to the point

    If your headline and illustration has attracted the reader, he may decide to look at the small print – the body copy. This is where you explain the headline, confirm the facts and add extra selling points. If one can make people read the body copy, you have a better chance of selling your product. Be positive. Some ad starts with negative statements, which could be easily converted into positive statements.

    Indiatimes Astrospeak – A wrong move and your career might not move at all.

    Include the minor details. At the bottom of the ad goes your company name, the address and telephone number. If you leave it out you aren’t really trying to get sales. If you are selling packaged goods, you will need to include a pack shot – a photo of your product. If you can’t use a pack shot, your logo will provide a visual reminder for the reader. A list of stockists is important if your product has limited selective distribution. Other options include a money – off coupon, or a coupon to be mailed back to you for more information.

    Case: Enchanting Tamil Nadu

    An ad. Promoting Tamil Nadu, which includes all the contact details.


  • Expand Headline with Lead Paragraph

    Follow up the headline immediately with the first paragraph. If you ask a question, answer it. If you propose a thought, explain it. Don’t leave them hanging too long; you may end up hanging yourself.

    Introduces an industrial area with a saying by a newspaper regarding that land.


  • Draw the Reader In

    Avoid page and advertising layouts that are confusing or hard to read. Reading your message should be a pleasure to read. Keep your copy simple, clear and concise. Talk to your reader as you would a friend or family member. Be straight and sincere with them. Spell it out and explain points that need explaining. Don’t leave your reader second-guessing your copy.


  • Focus on the Reader, not the Product

    Of course your copy must contain information and facts about your product or service, but that is not your focal point. You must focus the reader. Use their needs, wants, desires, fears, weaknesses, concerns, and even fantasies to sell your product or service.

    Case: Lakme

    The ad for Lakme Deep Pore Cleansing begins with the headline “There’s a lot that shows on your face”.

    The body copy includes  – Now, one-and-a-half minutes is all it takes to uncover the real you. Presenting the complete Deep Pore Cleansing Regimen from Lakme. Simply because your face says it all.

    Thus, not only does the ad talk about the product, it also focuses equally on the reader. Using words like “you” would make the reader feel good, rather than an ad that boasts about the product but says nothing about how to use it, how it could make your life better, etc.


  • Use the “That’s Right!” Principle

    Get your prospect to agree with you. Tell them something they know already. Get them to say to themselves, “That’s Right!”

    Case: JW Marriott

    The print ad for JW Marriott starts with the headline -: Your mom knows exactly how you like your bed, your toast, and your coffee….

    This headline will indeed make the target exclaim – that’s right!


  • Ask Provocative Questions:

    Leading into your copy or headline with thought provoking questions will grab the reader’s interest and move them to read more for the answer.

    Car ads. Usually ask a question such as “Planning to buy a new car”?


  • Move Quickly from Intro to the Pitch:

    Don’t waste your reader’s time trying to “warm them up”. If they got that far, there’s blood flowing already. People are busy creatures. If you lose their interest, you neither sell nor profit. Get on with it!


  • Be Sincere:

    What’s the number one fallback for sales on the web? Fear! Fear of being scammed or ripped-off. The more sincere you are the better your chance of building a “selling” relationship.

    Case: Air Sahara

    The sincerity and genuineness of Air Sahara comes across in its ad where the body copy says – as hard as we may try at this time of the year (winter), there are chances of flight delays due to weather conditions. Every step is taken to help passengers get to their destinations on time. To make this process easier, we need your help too.


  • Don’t Contradict Yourself:

    Double-check your copy. You would be surprised to know that many copywriters unknowingly contradict themselves leaving the reader suspicious, thus destroying your credibility with them.


  • Keep Your Focus Aligned

    The more focused your target group, the better your chance of meeting their needs. Don’t try to sell everyone!


  • Make Your Product Irresistible

    Dress it up. Your product should sound like the cream of the crop. Focus on your selling point (price, quality, etc) and make it impossible for the reader to imagine another in comparison.

    The FedEx ad which shows a company employee carrying a baby in his arms.


  • Use Fear as Motivation:

    Fear is both a weakness and strength, but also a powerful selling tool. Fear of injury, death or missed opportunity. If you sell a safety product you would use this fear to your advantage. If you’re offering an opportunity, the fear of missing their chance is a strong seller.

    Saffola oil talks about the heart problems among the high risk Indians


  • Flattery will get you everywhere

    Yes, everyone likes to hear a little flattery. Keyword here is “little”. Don’t overdo it!


  • Be Personable

    Let them know that there is a kind, honest and real person behind the page. People would rather deal with people, not companies, corporations or conglomerates. Add the “Human Touch” to your copy.

    Case: Eureka Forbes

    The institutional ad for Eureka Forbes which shows model Aditi Gowatrikar with her child has a human touch to it, what with the body copy saying – “…times have changed. Yet your dreams remain the same. So open up. Say ‘yes’ to life…”


  • It’s Guaranteed

    A guarantee reassures the reader that you are reputable and will live up to your promises.

    Case: Vim Bar

    In the Vim Bar TVC, the anchor promises that if “your” detergent is better than Vim Bar, you will get a year’s supply of your detergent free. This guarantee lends credibility to the offering and induces the viewer to act.


    Share a Secret

    People want to get the inside track. If you can convince your prospect that you have an exclusive message for them, you’re one step closer to a sale.


  • Use “Power”ful Words:

    “Power” words are words that move a buyer by enhancing and reinforcing your presented idea. Certain words have proven to be movers and shakers in the advertising world.


Examples of persuasive and attention-grabbing words
Easy convenient exclusive Indulge
genuine advantages comfortable dependable
immediate instant WANTED WARNING
more biggest oldest Original
  • Keep It Lively:

    There are many ways to keep your copy lively. Telling a (brief) story is a strong technique for getting your message across. Separating and highlighting key information or facts is another. Using personal pronouns like “you”, we and us will add a sense of warmth to your copy.


  • Go with the Flow

    Writing copy requires the ability to make a smooth transition from one point to another. Rather than laying them out like a list, learn to use transitional words. Transitional words are used to go from one point to another.


  • Check Your Spelling

    Take the time and spell-check your work. Finding misspelled words in copy leaves the reader wondering how competent your product or service could be, if you cannot take the time to be sure you spelled the words in your web copy correctly.


  • Use Photo’s to Demonstrate:

    Use photos to demonstrate your product or service. If used correctly a picture really is worth a thousand words.

    The VLCC ‘Before’ & ‘After’ Ads.


  • Use Graphics to get Attention:

    Using buttons, icons and arrows can help direct the reader’s attention to important details. If organized correctly they can also help sort facts or messages into categories.

    The Fila ad. shows how similar is a design of a Fila shoe and a F1 car.


  • Offer Testimonials

    Offer short, reputable testimonials. People want to hear what others have to say about your product or service.

    Loreal – Diana Hayden – Miss World 1996 offers testimonial for Loreal Hair color.


  • Create a Memorable Logo

    Create a simple, but memorable logo or custom graphic that your visitor can easily relate to your product or service

    Nike swoosh, BMW, Mercedes


  • Create an Unforgettable Slogan

    Use a short, easy to remember slogan that a reader will walk away with on his or her lips.

    Nike – Just Do It.

    Visa – Go get it

    Pepsi – Yeh Dil Maange More

    Asian Paints – Merawalla….


  • Get a response

    There are many techniques for getting a prospect to respond. Spell it out for them. Tell them to respond. Tell them why they should respond. Give them a reason they should respond now. Offer a bonus or freebie if they respond.

    This can be done by using words like – order now, order today, for a short time only, last chance, etc.

    Service – ICICI Bank – Two Wheeler Loans

    “Take Home Passion (Hero Honda Passion) by just paying Rs. 3999 only”

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