By Aaron Orendorff

Source: Copy Blogger

So, you’ve written a piece of sales copy. Congratulations — that’s no small feat.

But, before you celebrate, there’s just one issue: Now what?

After all, as I’m sure you’ve heard before: “There is no such thing as great writing. Only great rewriting.”

And why is “great rewriting” important? One reason: the bottom line.

  • Will it compel?
  • Will it convert?
  • Will it close?

You need to learn how to optimize first draft copy to support your bottom line.

A step-by-step optimization guide

Optimizing your own copy is a bit like scaling Mount Everest without a Sherpa. It doesn’t matter if you’re in shape; if you go it alone, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up a crumpled human popsicle.

Well, help is here.

To save you (and your copy!) from a shallow, frosty grave, I’ve put together 51 bottom-line questions that will help optimize every element of your online copy.

This step-by-step guide breaks down the entire optimization process into the 10 most valuable elements of any page.

  1. Headline
  2. Subheadline
  3. Value proposition
  4. Introduction
  5. Subheads
  6. Conclusion
  7. Call to action
  8. Voice
  9. Arguments
  10. Weapons of persuasion

The list is big, so we’ve turned it into a poster you can download. Print it out, tape it to your wall, and, above all, be ruthless with your optimization.

Let’s get started.

Headline

The headline is the most important element of any page. It isn’t just your audience’s first impression; sometimes it is their only impression.

For help creating headlines, check out Copyblogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines ebook or Jon Morrow’s 52 Headline Hacks.

Once you write your headline, ask:

  1. Audience: Does your headline directly identify and address your audience?
  2. Emotion: Is one dominant emotion (i.e., “mass desire”) powerfully verbalized?
  3. Interest: Does the headline startle your audience or “enter a conversation already taking place in their minds?”
  4. Clarity: Does your headline contain any technical or unnecessary words?
  5. Intention: Does your headline show the audience exactly what they should do or expect on your page?
  6. Momentum: Does your headline propel the reader into the introduction and first subheadline for an answer, solution, or explanation?

Subheadline

After the headline, your subheadline — also called a “subhead” or “mini-headline” — is the second most read element of any page.

Not every site uses an initial subheadline. Copyblogger, for example, does not. On my site (see here), I do.

So, if you choose to use a subheadline, what questions do you need to ask to optimize it?

  1. Connection: Does your subheadline retain and support the same thought, concept, or dominant emotion in your headline?
  2. Qualify: Does your subheadline narrow your audience by adding qualifications?
  3. Intensify: Does your subheadline amplify the one dominant emotion from your headline?
  4. Push: Does your subheadline push the reader into the first sentence to find an answer, solution, or explanation?

Value proposition

A value proposition is a one-line answer to the question: “Why should your ideal prospect buy from you instead of your competition?”

Your “value proposition” is not your motto or tagline. It’s not clever, and it’s definitely not vague.

For help crafting a compelling value proposition, check out Joanne Wiebe’s “The Great Value Proposition Test” or MarketingExperiments “Value Proposition Worksheet.”

Once you write the value proposition for your copy, ask:

  1. Unmistakable: Is your value proposition visually prominent and unmistakable?
  2. Desirable: Does one key benefit, or “mass desire,” powerfully verbalize your value proposition?
  3. Unique: Does your value proposition clearly differentiate you from the competition in at least one specific way?
  4. Target market: Does your value proposition directly address one target market?
  5. Simple: Is your value proposition clear, concise, and memorable?
  6. Quantified: Is your value proposition supported by at least one piece of concrete data?

Introduction

How do you write a killer introduction?

To start, check out Brian Clark’s “5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang,” or listen to the “How to Nail Your Opening” episode of The Lede podcast.

After you think you have indeed nailed your opening, double-check:

  1. Build: Does your first sentence continue the momentum — the same emotional or mental energy — from your headline and subheadline?
  2. Flow: Is your first sentence smooth, simple, and incredibly easy to read?
  3. Body: Do your first, second, and third paragraphs intensify and expand the same dominant emotion contained in the headline and subheadline?

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