FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
Is there any time where we’d want to up our vocabulary and use more sophisticated words? Karen L. Woodhaven, NY
I wouldn’t label it a choice between a short, simple word and a “sophisticated” word.
I would rather call it a choice between a universally understood word and a word many in your audience might not know. That said, we write to our audience. If we are writing for computer engineers, there are terms that this group uses that are not necessarily understood by the general population. I call these words “jargon” – words associated with certain “specialty” audiences.
So yes, there are times when jargon is definitely OK…but most often, I’d stay away.
How accurate is the 7 second limit for getting your main message across yo a reader or website visitor? Stanley Z, Tulsa, OK
The latest scientific information we have is the average attention span of an adult in industrialized countries is 8 seconds. Depending on your audience, it could go a few seconds either way, but not many.
Best practices say, shoot for 7 seconds if at all possible.
I love when you use Quotes from others in your guides. Do you have more of them and can we get them? Allen W.
Yes, I do and yes, you will.
I am putting your suggestion on our To-Do list. Thanks. It’ll take a bit of time because I’m constantly writing and testing for new additions to the University.
I’ll try not to make you wait too long.
I’ve been reading the “20 Commandments For Wannabe Copywriters” and I understand most of them. I’m hung up on the idea of what is a relevant image and what is not. Can you clarify? Jared O., Spokane, WA
Non-relevant images may attract, but not necessarily in the way that you’d want. Example: using a photo of a cute baby as your lead image in a piece about the necessity of protective gear for football players. The two can be tied together, but it requires too much “explaining” and thus, your message will not be clear and concise.
For more on this see “False Alarm Headlines” in the Headline Toolbox.
How can I tell if I’m using too much verbiage? Ron S., Darien CT
I chose Ron’s question because 1) it’s a question many have, and 2) because it gives me a chance to explain the meaning of “verbiage”.
Here’s how I was trained back as a newbie in a top Madison Avenue agency.
- First, write everything you want to say as best you can. Go for content, not style in this first draft.
- Set it aside for a day.
- Revisit your piece and remove every non-essential word; then re-write.
- Repeat steps 1-3 until you’re satisfied.
By the way, “verbiage” means an excess of words (never good).
How can I prepare myself to be a (well paid) copywriter? Emerencie T., Chicago, IL
By your question, I can guess you never got my free report, “How To Make Real Money As A Freelance Copywriter”.
Click on the following link to download the report. https://pocbm8sm.pages.infusionsoft.net
As for how you’d prepare yourself, I know of no better way than becoming a member of Write Like A Madman University.
I took your 7-Minute Website Power Test and got a C- (Needs help). Is this just your way of getting us to subscribe to Radical WebPower? Paul A., New Hampshire
My answer is simple and based on two facts, 1) Your website scored 3 out of 7 and, 2) “Radical WebPower” can help you immensely.
If you scored 6 or 7 out of 7, my answer would change to “No” because you get it.
Sir, what do you consider to be the most critical asset of a good copywriter? Nigel A., England
Tough question – but important.
Of course, writing talent and training would be on the top of anyone’s list, Nigel. However, in my opinion, the best asset a copywriter can have is two-fold: the ability to put him/herself in the mind of the ideal (or avatar) prospect – AND – the ability to understand when to shut up and stop writing.
Easy to say, not so easy to do.
How do you create those fantastic InfoGraphics? Renee K, AZ
I use a platform called Venngage.com.
They offer a huge number of templates for the beginner and, as you get more proficient with their system, the flexibility to design and brand your own line of InfoGraphics. I’ve used Venngage to create ads, logos, announcements, certificates, etc. in addition to InfoGraphics. Downloadable as png or pdf.
You can try it free, but I’m happy to pay $19 a month for their Pro+ plan.
I’m a recent subscriber and I’m getting a hell of a lot out of WLAM U, but I find similar information in various places in the University. Why would you do that? Francine S., Flushing, NY
We do that because people learn differently.
Some do better with a video, others in print, still others by InfoGraphics, Case Studies, or Audios. As Chief Content Officer, my #1 job is to do give the best information to all our members – regardless of how they prefer to learn.
Often, people write saying they enjoy seeing similar information in varying ways because it makes it easier and faster to reach their goals.
Thank you for including the basics of marketing in WLAMU. I am starting my first business at age 32. I find Marketing For Smarties 101 and 102 to be a real help. I also get a lot of use from the Glossary. Myron G., Baltimore, MD
Although this is not technically a question, I’m happy to include it here.
Myron, what you’re doing takes a lot – passion, knowledge, and courage. I started my first business at 33, and never looked back. Some of the best times of my life have been the late nights working on my business or helping clients with theirs.
Write again if anything comes up that needs some explaining – and don’t forget, as a member you’re entitled to a free Zoom consultation with me if you need it.
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