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One of the greatest copywriters of all time was P.T. Barnum. He's the guy who made the Barnum and Bailey Circus such an enduring success and created such memorable slogans as “The greatest show on earth.” In 1850, he took an unknown Swedish singer and, purely through the effectiveness of the ads and posters he wrote, caused a sensation when she arrived in America. More than 30,000 cheering fans — who had never heard her sing a note! — met her ship at New York harbor.

Perhaps better than anyone else in his time, P.T. Barnum knew how to unlock the selling power of words. In fact, many of the copywriting techniques he pioneered are still being used today.

Copywriting is indeed a powerful tool. From sales to marketing to public relations, every field of persuasive communications without exception relies on it.

You may not realize it, but copywriting plays a big role in your day-to-day life. And it's not just because of all the ads! The words on the side of a cereal box are copy. So are the words on a restaurant menu, catalog, coupon, and even the back cover of this book. Effective copy is meant to educate you on the product, get you excited about it, and, hopefully, motivate you to buy it.

So how do you write effective copy? The “trade secrets” aren't just for ad agency scribes sipping cappuccinos in their Madison Avenue offices. Many people can benefit from learning how to write great copy — a manager who needs to send out a press release, a freelance writer struggling to craft a client brochure, a self-employed professional promoting her own business, or a dad trying to sell his baseball card collection on eBay.

The good news is copywriting basics are relatively easy to master. How do you craft a powerful headline? How do you write tantalizing body copy? What are the best words and phrases to use? How do you decide what to say, and how to say it? What are the proven formulas for creating a killer sales letter, ad, or Web page? All these questions and more are answered in this book

But that's not all. This book also features many of the cutting-edge tips, tricks, and strategies used by the top copywriters in the world.

Of course, the information in these pages won't make you a superstar copywriter. Only practice can do that. (Don't clear space on your mantle for all your ECHO and Caples awards just yet!) But if you follow this book closely, your copy will be more effective, and you'll reach and persuade more people with your words. That's a promise.

The Everything Guide to Writing Copy is divided into two basic parts. The first part guides you through the craft of copywriting — the rules, techniques, and strategies. The second part looks closely at more than fifty typical copywriting projects and provides you with tips and formulas on how to complete them successfully. Need to write a powerful ad? A knockout Web site? A sizzling sales letter? It's all here.

In addition, we also cover how to make a living as a copywriter, either on staff at an agency or company or on your own as a freelancer.

Copywriting is as fun to learn as it is to write. You get to be creative and play with words and ideas. Sure, it can be challenging, too. But that's part of the appeal. Even when writing copy is hard work, it's often worth the effort. There are few things more satisfying than having the words you so carefully crafted work so well in a sales, marketing, or public relations piece.

Ready to get started? To borrow another famous line by P.T. Barnum, “Ladies, gentleman, children of all ages,” welcome to the world of copywriting!

  1. Home
  2. Writing Copy
  3. Introduction
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