Warren Buffett and copywriting?
Warren Buffett (also known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” and no relation to Jimmy Buffett) is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
With a net worth soaring over $60 Billion dollars (and yes, that’s Billion, with a “B”), he’s also one of the world’s sharpest investors, and his market and economic wisdom is revered and followed by many people. Buffett’s also well-known for his folksy and straight-forward mannerisms (his favorite beverage is Cherry Cola) and the way he communicates.
Recently, he was reading through the 270-page annual report of a large bank he was considering working with, and he became incredibly frustrated. He’d personally highlighted over 25 pages of text even he didn’t understand in the report. And if he didn’t understand it, Lord knows the average investor’s not going to have a clue what’s going on in there.
Which leads me to the point of today’s tip: One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re writing sales copy, or coming up with a marketing pitch, is… not being clear.
Keep in mind, what YOU get out of your material, is often dramatically different to what your readers get out of it, and what your prospects get out of it is really the only thing that counts.
So with that in mind let me give one of the easiest ways to spot your mistakes:
By far, the fastest way to identify problems is to read your copy out loud after you write it. And I don’t mean read it “out loud in your head, with your mouth moving”… I mean, read it out loud from your mouth. Or better yet, if you can get someone else to read it out loud to you, that’ll work even better.
When I first started writing copy, my son was 10 years old, and when he was around 12 years old, he started reading my letters out loud to me. You’ll catch ALL your mistakes when you do this, and I do mean all of them.
Even today, when I’m working on something I’m still not 100% sure is right, I’ll read my own sales copy out loud.
In the event you don’t want to do this, then another option is to get a voice recognition program to read your copy out loud to you. The one I used to use, before I switched over to Mac, is called “Read Please” (readplease.com). I liked it because not only will it read your sales letters out loud to you, but you can program and adjust how fast you want the letters read back to you, and the kind of voice you want reading it back.
They have male and female voices, and they even have foreign-sounding accents.
I always picked the voices with some sort of accents, because oddly enough, your mistakes stand out even more when a foreign accent reads them.
Remember, you can have the best offer in the world being put out to the hungriest marketplace around, but if no one understands what’s going on and why… you’re out of luck, game over.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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