How To Write Amazing Copy That Sells, Like Mad Men's Don Draper

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Riveting your reader to their leather recliner and capturing their full attention for the duration of your new blog is a finely balanced high wire act.

Too many smart words bewilder and befuddle while keeping it too simple runs the risk of falling from the high wire into the bulging net where all the other dunce blogging failures have piled up.

The middle road is filled with acts that walked the tightrope but never quite captivated or engaged their audience. They just went through the motions in the expectancy that it was enough, never looking like they may fall to an untimely death at any moment.

In addition to a dull, lifeless blog, copying your product descriptions from other websites may seem like the quickest way to make your site live, but with no zing to the bling or pizzaz for the topaz, your flat and monotone style is a guaranteed conversion killer.

You don't have to become the next Hemingway or Asimov to produce compelling sales copy or an entertaining blog, follow these simple rules to become Don Draper's next capable assistant:

1. Tell A Real Life Story

Telling your story is a method of copywriting that doesn't base itself on how good or bad you are at joining words together. It's all about your experience and how you involve the reader in the emotion of the subject.

"There is nothing to writing – all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Writer Ernest Hemingway

A real-life story about how you struggled to hold down two jobs, got made redundant and sold your house to start your business is guaranteed to be a compelling read. It doesn't matter what business you are in, emotional connection is the difference between apathy and affection.

2. Inject Your Own Personality

Just because everyone else writes their blog as though they had a frontal lobotomy and the opinion of a politician doesn't mean you have to produce bland, middle of the road averageness to fit in. If you have an opinion, then voice it because that will elevate you to the top echelon of blogging superheroes overnight.

Blogs devoid of original thought, using text that is copied, thieved and barely rewritten to disguise itself from the plagiarism police is so common that anything with a dash of personality and brio stands out like a paupers lunch at the regal banquet.

3. Be An Imperious Authoritarian, Not A Weak Submissive

Write like you mean it and display your sound subject knowledge so that readers understand you to be the expert you say you are. Writing like a whimpering, simpering guttersnipe should be left to those who do it best using words like "maybe", "perhaps", "could be" and "might".

The use of these suppliant words indicates that you might have left your spine in the wardrobe when you got dressed this morning. Rid your text of this insipid banality and instead use "certainly", "definitely" and "never" to state your greatness.

Become an avaricious researcher and back up your words with key facts and figures so that no one can be left in any doubt who wears the trousers around here.

4. Space Out Your Sentences

No reader likes to be confronted with a solid wall of text that looks like a page from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot".

Space out your sentences so that they can easily be scanned for the good bits and a quick understanding of the context of your post. Use plenty of subheadings to make the text easier to grasp.

5. Use Images To Support Your Text

Part of being a good blog writer is finding appropriate supporting imagery, and this can take a lot longer than you might think if you haven't done it before. If you need help finding images then here's a post I wrote just for that eventuality.

Adding images to your copy brightens up the page and presents an opportunity for the reader to pause and consider the meaning. Stay away from cliched images like people shaking hands or working on laptops because it looks like you couldn't be bothered to put any real thought into it, which happens to be true.

6. Turn Appliances Off And Become A Monk For A Few Hours

Take writing seriously and turn off your phone, your music and anything that might go "ping" in the middle of a sentence. You can't write anything worthwhile with headphones on, or if you are attempting to reply to emails at the same time.

Human multitasking is a fallacy and a trap that you shouldn't fall into. Computers multi-task by dividing their processing power between operations. The more concurrent operations, the slower everything runs because processing power is not infinite.

By contrast, humans are unable to focus on more than one thing at a time. Continually switching your attention between multiple tasks destroys your concentration and ensures each task will take longer to complete. It's much better to write for an hour or two in one session and then repeat to a conclusion to maintain a high level of productivity.

7. Read, Re-Read, Read, Publish, Re-Read

A big problem of being a self-published author is that you have no copy editor to read your work and ruthlessly edit it. There are several steps you can take to mitigate against the disaster of publishing error-ridden copy.

The first is to use Grammarly, which will remove all the obvious punctuation errors and help you to eliminate writing in the past tense, which is a common beginner's error.

The second is to read and re-read your work several times even after it is published. After a year or two of writing, it can be astonishing to read your older copy and notice how much you have improved as a writer. This is an excellent reason to get in the habit of updating your older posts.

So, to summarise, If you have designs to become the next Don Draper try telling a real life story that has some personality woven into it. Make it clear that you are a master of your craft and space out your sentences to make the text easy to read. Add some images to spice up the piece and concentrate fully on the writing task at hand.

Be your own harshest critic and copy edit fiercely.

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