3 Outlines for Short, Medium, and Long Copy Promotions

Writer making notes in a notebook

“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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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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