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Make Your Words Sell

Anyone actually bought this book?



8:05 pm on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Has anyone bought the "Make Your Words Sell" package? It's a book that's supposed to help you write good copy for your web site.

Like all of these things, their site is very compelling, and promisses the world. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has actually purchased it, and whether or not they'd recommend it.

Any comments (pro or con) would be appreciated!


8:24 pm on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member digitalghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have it, wasn't as impressed by it as I was by Net Words by Nick Usborne and the Online Copywriter's Handbook by Bob Bly and On The Art of Copywriting by Hershcell Gordon Lewis...

If you want to write great copy, read great copywriters. Study Leo Burnett, Neil French, Barb Nokes, Rosser Reeves, Bill Bernbach, Jim Durfee Ed McCabe and others.

Then write. Every day. Write an ad or an essay or a poem. Roll around in words. Drink them in, exhale sonnets, write pithy paragraphs. After you have written copy that you like, edit it. Remove words that don't work. Cut all the dead weight and then read it aloud. Edit it again after you remove the clunky phrases you noticed while reading it aloud.

For ad copy you want every word on the page to work. When the words sing, you're finished. Just make sure you haven't written an opera.


1:14 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've heard of that Net Words book. It gets mixed reviews at Amazon.com though. What was it that you liked about it?


4:08 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member digitalghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The book covered speaking in a unified voice quite well and made several points worth remembering about becoming more personal in copy.

It also reinforced the concept of making every page sell.

From Memory:

It touched on word velocity, creating the right tone, email copy, barriers to customer service, length of copy, and the book gives a solid foundation of the basics of writing good copy.

Tedster and I were just having a discussion about unified voice/consistent copy over here. [webmasterworld.com]


4:52 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

When I first received NetWords from Amazon, I was disappointed. I expected it to be more of a "do this and increase your conversion rates by 50%!"

However, I came back to the book several months later and was amazed at what I missed. This definitely is more of the art and philosophy of writing. It is about finding your own, unique voice in your writing and staying true to that voice across your website and e-mails.

As far as specific help with copywriting, I actually have enjoyed Yanik Silver's Ultimate Sales Letter Toolbox. It was a bonus when I purchased Instant Sales Letter. While I wasn't impressed with ISL, I feel like I got my money's worth with Toolbox.

Bly's book is pretty good, too. However, I think NetWords is probably the best place for you to start. If you want to see some samples of Nick's work, check out his column on www.clickz.com.

Best of luck!


5:31 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I think of Net Words as a partner with Cluetrain Manifesto in that both point to a shift in our world, brought about by the Internet.

We've all grown used to stupid corporate copy, slick and full of business cliche. Not only have we grown used to it, we grown used to ignoring it - or quick skimming if we think it might contain a nugget that we care about.

But Nick Usborne points us to a truth our ancestors never had to think about, because it was all they had -- communication is about people talking to people. An Inbox is a very personal space, and the more that email copy feels like a real person talking rather, than a Cliche Machine, the more effective it will be.

Web pages are not quite so personal as the Inbox, but the same principle applies. Does the copy feel like it comes from a real person, someone we could talk to and definitely from someone who is talking to US, rather than launching words into the ethers.

Here are some examples of the voices we want to avoid --

Now if you're Mr Common Sense you won't believe me when I tell you that I've got a little envelope here that can wash your car while you're driving at home to work.

-Firesign Theater (comedy troupe)

Enterprise engenderment accelerates initiative platforms, reducing staffing components, integration of technical accessibility, resulting in bottom line pluralisms, benefit-wise. Incidental re-sizing staff requirements through attrition can be accelerated by paridigm shifts and focusing on core suitability and cross-training.

-Business Nonsense Generator


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