Monday, August 16, 2010

Fred's Advertising Clinc Part 3: You've Got Their Attention - Now Get Them Interested

In our last installment of Fred's Advertising Clinic we explored the first part of the formula for writing effective copy: Gaining attention.

We did it by asking a question or making a statement that got your audience to want more information; something that would induce them to pay attention to the rest of your message.

Fair enough. We've got their attention, now what? Well, it's time for Step Two: Building interest.

Building interest is the meat of your presentation. It's where the listener gets rewarded for paying attention. You answer their questions, explain how your product can help them. You even entertain them or shock them, if that's the approach you've chosen to go with.

Let's return to the example we used earlier, dry-erase markers. We came up with some good workable attention grabbing lines, so let's build on them.

Our first attention grabber was a simple statement: "You're only human." So it follows that humans make mistakes and the great thing about dry-erase markers is that they make it easy to correct your mistakes. (Remember in our last installment we decided to focus on the mistake angle for our ad.) You can go into as much detail as you want about fixing mistakes, that's up to you as the copy writer. The important thing is that you interest the customer in the benefits he or she can derive from using your product.

We also came up with a simple attention grabbing statement: "Everybody makes mistakes." The approach to this lead is almost identical to the above. The audience wants to know about how they can fix their mistakes, and you tell 'em.

We also tried a lead that set up a specific scene in the audience's mind as our attention grabber: "It's the biggest presentation of your career...and you don't want to blow it." This can be a bit more of a hard sell style ad, but that's okay. Tell the audience how dry-erase markers can save their jobs, maybe even help them win a promotion. How? By making sure they've got the full line of dry-erase markers in the briefcase to correct those little spelling mistakes that might crop up - like misspelling their client's name on the big whiteboard; or helping them to express their ideas clearly by using all the different colors the markers come in. Or maybe, you hope along with them that they will never have to take advantage of the easy-erasure feature, but it's comforting to know it's there just in case.

My favorite attention grabber of the bunch is this one: "Dry-erase markers don't taste very good." It's the sort of attention-grabber that lends humor and personality to an otherwise dull product. So build interest in your product by playing on the humor. Contrast the great features with the one (quite inconsequential) disadvantage they have. "Dry-erase markers come in 36 different colors, but don't eat them for breakfast."

Interest the customer in your product and its benefits by building on your attention grabbing lead. Sell your product's features, sell its benefits, or sell its personality. Just keep it interesting.

Next time we'll talk about Step Three - Desire. You gotta want it!

Attention grabbing, interesting spots
that sell is what Brown Cow Studios of Boston is all about.
Visit to learn more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fred's Advertising Clinic Part 2: Grab Your Audience's Attention!

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In a different way each of these lines grabs your attention and makes you want to know more:

  • What's so great about Chuck Norvell?
  • Tell me how I can save and get free shipping...
  • No, I wouldn't want that to happen to me, so how can I prevent it?
  • How can I slow the pace of my life?

There's nothing fancy or splashy about these leads. They're quite simple. But they all have one thing in common: When you see them you want to know more.

That's what the first part of our advertising copy formula is all about -- Grabbing your audience's attention. There are many ways to do it. You can tease the audience, offer a benefit, or entertain them. It doesn't matter as long as you accomplish one thing -- Your audience has to want to know more.

Let's suppose we are writing a spot for dry-erase markers. I picked this product for our example because I've got a couple of them on my desk, and they're fairly mundane as products go. Nothing really sexy about dry-erase markers, is there?

So how do we get the listener to pay attention to our dry-erase markers? Let's brainstorm ....

Dry-erase markers come in many colors ... they are odorless ... the one I'm looking at right now has a fine point, but others have thicker points ... they erase easily ... Hey, I like that. one -- They erase easily. Can we use it? Let's try some approaches that tie into easy erase-ability:

  • We can ask a question: "You're only human, right?"
  • We can make a statement: "Everybody makes mistakes."
  • We can set up a scene: "It's the biggest presentation of your career. Don't blow it!"
  • How about a testimonial: "Dry-erase markers saved my job!"
  • We can present the unexpected too: "Dry erase markers don't taste very good."

Each of these attention grabbers gets your customers wanting to know more. "Yes, I am only human -- what about it?" "What can I do about my mistakes?" Some tug at them on an emotional level: "The last time I blew a presentation the boss yelled at me for an hour!" And the last one is just too weird not to want to know more.

The key to each is that they hook you, they tease you. They make you want to know more. As a copy writer, hooking your audience is the hardest part of the job. Once you've done it, the rest of the copy flows naturally.

Your next step is to keep your audience's interest and to build upon it -- to get them interested in your product. We'll talk about that next time in part three of "Fred's Advertising Clinic."

Need to get attention for your product or business?
Fred Pagano's Brown Cow Studios of Boston creates attention-grabbing commercials,
Internet ads, product demos and presentations that sell.
Visit the Brown Cow Studios website at to learn more.
Or send an e-mail to Fred Pagano


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