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The fundamentals of persuasive writing

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What are the characteristics that make copy effective? Why does one ad make a lasting impression and sell merchandise, while another falls flat and doesn’t generate enough revenue to pay its own cost?

Virtually all persuasive copy contains the eight elements described in this article. The successful ad:

  1. Gains attention

  2. Focuses on the customer

  3. Stresses benefits

  4. Differentiates you from the competition

  5. Proves its case

  6. Establishes credibility

  7. Builds value

  8. Closes with a call to action

All ads do not have all eight characteristics in equal proportions. Depending on the product, some of these elements will be dominant in your ad; others subordinate.

Let’s take telephone service as an example. If you are AT&T, MCI, or Sprint, you have a long track record of success and a well-established reputation. Therefore, you will be naturally strong in elements five and six (proving your case and establishing your credibility).

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