May 01, 2008

Copywriting tips: Setups and Payoffs

Copywriting Our friend Casey Demchak provides us with another installment of his copywriting tips. (You can see his past contributions entitled Why it’s good to break old writing rules and Just how important is writing good copy?)

Print ads, sales letters, e-blasts and direct mail are all important components of nearly every marketing communications campaign. The success you achieve with these materials hinges on your ability to immediately grab the attention of your target audience. One way to do this is by creating dynamic setup and payoff combinations in your copy. 

Setups and payoffs are the vital relationship between a headline and the first few lines of body copy in a direct-response piece. Too often, lead-generation materials fall flat because a snappy headline is followed by copy that is not directly tied to the headline.

Avoid this mistake. Always think of a headline as a setup and your first line or two of body copy as its payoff. If your headline asks a question, the first line of copy should answer the question.


Why Do 4 out of 5 Doctors Want You To Use Jim’s Throat Syrup?

First line of copy:
Because clinical tests prove it reduces soar throat symptoms faster than other brands.

Setups and payoffs also apply to headline/copy combinations that do not involve questions.


Communicate Cable Has Acquired Global Explorer

First line of copy:
But this is only our first step towards providing you the best possible Internet service. There’s a lot more to come. Stay tuned.

We Have Exclusive, Behind The Scenes Investment Secrets

First line of copy:
Interested? Of course you are. Because you’re an investor dedicated to staying ahead of the game.

Maintain a tight link between your headline and your first few lines of body copy, and your writing will always be more dynamic, and your chances of instantly engaging your readers will dramatically increase.

Casey offers more copywriting tips in his free bi-monthly e-newsletter, Casey On Copywriting.


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Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here. Keep it up!

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