“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer
Every copywriter has, at one time or another, wondered how to begin a project.
Sure, you know you need an emotionally driven headline, perhaps some deck copy, and a strong lead, but then what? What are the rest of the pieces to the puzzle, and how is it all logically structured?
That’s what we’re going to attempt to sort out today as we take a look at three beginning outlines for short, medium, and long copy assignments.
1. Short-Copy Outline
Short copy — the kind you find in TV and radio spots, postcards, and very small print ads — needs to hit fast and remain very visual throughout. It requires the following elements:
A powerful benefit-based, emotionally driven headline that is easily remembered.
A brief paragraph that drives your headline’s lead benefit home in a powerful, emotionally charged way.
A credibility element — perhaps a statistic, expert endorsement, or customer testimonial — that proves what you’re claiming is true.
A restatement of the primary benefit and a justification of the price.
A call-to-action that tells the prospect exactly what they must do to accept your amazing offer. Usually in short copy, they order by calling a toll-free number. Online, you might ask them to click a link. For TV and radio viewers and listeners who may not have a pen and paper handy, it’s essential to repeat the toll-free number as many times as possible. If it’s a TV ad, keep the call-to-action number on the screen for the entire duration.
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