The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly

Category: Marketing

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Goal: draft one basic guideline that make my copy sells.
Why: I need this for my crowd-funding projects!

Action: Build an archive of other copy master pieces.

3 Key Concepts

  1. Your copy must grab attention, create desire, prove benefits, and call-to-action.
  2. Writing good copy starts with writing well.
  3. Align product, audience, and copy’s objective, on one consistent idea


Here is my compiled “Copywriting Checklist” for my own business. Hope it helps your business too. Do let me know what can be removed or added to make it more practical.

Disclaimer: these contents belong to the book “The Copywriter’s Handbook” by Robert W. Bly. I just summarized from my interpretation and rearranged them in order that fits my own use.

Before writing a copy

Step 0: Define your copy’s position: why should it exist?

BDF QuestionsAnswer
Beliefs : your audience’s attitude toward your product or issues it addresses? 
Feelings : their feeling about the major issues in their lives or industries?
Desires : a change that they want in their lives that your product can help them achieve?

Step 1: Get all previously published materials on the product.

Step 2: Study the product.

What are its features and benefits?
Which benefit is the most important?
How is the product different from the competition’s?
If the product isn’t different, what attributes were overlooked by the competition?
What technologies does the product compete against?
What are the applications of the product?
What problems does the product solve in the marketplace?
How is the product positioned against competing products?
How does the product work?
How reliable is the product? How long will it last?
How economical?
How much does it cost?
Is it easy to use? Easy to maintain?
Who has bought the product and what do they say about it?
What materials, sizes, and models is it available in?
How quickly does the manufacturer deliver the product?
If they don’t deliver, how and where can you buy it?
What service and support does the manufacturer offer?
Is the product guaranteed?

Step 3: Study your audiences. Goal is to know them better than they know themselves.

Who will buy the product? To what market is it sold?
What exactly does the product do for them?
Why do they need the product? And why need it now?
What is the main concern when buying this product type?
To what type of person is the product being sold?
What motivates the buyer?
How many different buying influences must the copy appeal to?e.g. toys must appeal to
both parents and kids.

Step 4: Determine the objective of your copy.

  • To generate sales
  • To generate store traffic
  • To introduce a new product
  • To transmit news or product information
  • To build brand recognition and preference

While you are writing

Step 1: 4U Headline
Good headline must 1. grab the attention, and 2. create a need to purchase

  1. Urgent
  2. Unique
  3. Ultra-specific
  4. Useful

I think of a defibrillator for 4U headline. Heart attack urgency, unique device, for one specific person, and it can save a life.

AED Devices – South Wall Little League

Step 2: 4S Body Copy
Good sales body must 3. satisfy the needs, and 4. prove your product can deliver, and lastly 5. ask for action.

  1. Short words
  2. Short sentences
  3. Short paragraphs
  4. Short sections

Tips: there are other similar products?

  • Stress an under-publicized or little-known benefit
  • Dramatize a known benefit in a compelling fashion
  • Dramatize the product name or package
  • Build long-term brand personalities

After finish writing

Proofread your work by asking following questions. You might realize that it has little to do with originality and everything to do with “writing well“.

  • Fulfill the headline’s promise?
  • interesting?
  • easy to read?
  • believable?
  • persuasive? emotionally
  • specific? intellectually
  • concise?
  • relevant? personally
  • flow smoothly?
  • call for action?: “Buy this product, and you will get this benefit”.

We are not in the business of being original.
We are in the business of reusing things that work.

Robert W. Bly

Goal check: It took me a while, but here I got a guideline for my copy, yahoo!

Wasu’s Review
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Get this book on Amazon here!

Bonus: Proven attention-getters
How to, Why, Sale, Quick, Easy, Bargain, Last chance, Guarantee, Results, Proven, Save

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