The Role of Ad Copy

I think that, these days, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of ad copy in ads.

In the 1960s, the renaissance era of advertising, ad copy was considered essential. It was the source of the sales message, and ad agencies understood that no products could be sold without that message.

Unfortunately, most of today’s ads contain only a headline and a photo or graphic. There’s practically no sales message.

And, of course, companies are running around and asking people, “Why isn’t anyone buying our products?” The answer is simple: Consumers aren’t being given a reason to buy anything. They aren’t being told how any given product will benefit them and solve their problems.

Note: I originally posted this comment in a LinkedIn group.

Copywriting For Affiliate Offers

Quality ad copy should support and enhance the graphics that are being used to promote a product. Text and imagery should work synergistically. For example, while at the affiliate network, The Useful, I was tasked with designing and writing the ad copy for a landing page featuring baby products. The domain name was, so the target market was low- to middle-income women.

I knew that I had to build trust and communicate a benefit quickly. My approach involved placing the headline under the site’s logo, which was heavily stylized, giving it a branded feel. The headline, “Be good to your baby,” appealed to every mother’s need to raise her child well. Pictures of happy babies pointed to two content boxes. One box featured the baby products and used the call to action, “Get a baby product, FREE (with completion of program requirements).”

Below the call to action was an additional statement. The purpose of the statement was to reinforce every mother’s need to keep her baby happy. This statement read, “Be a good parent. Pick a product.” In a content box to the right of this ad copy was the email submission form that would route site visitors into a registration path.

Each visitor would then have to opt-in to several offers to qualify for the chosen baby product. Traffic was driven to the landing page through various publishers, as well as with a radio spot running in our target markets. The publishers were very enthusiastic about the baby offer. They pushed quite a bit of traffic to it and made money on it. The landing page can be viewed here.

A Direct Marketing Copywriter Tells All

Source: BrandWeek

We brought back award-winning copywriter Karen Gedney, president & creative director, Karen Gedney Communications, for a second round of questions. Gedney helped lead direct mail campaigns in the 1980s and ’90s for such big-name brands as Newsweek, American Express and Citibank. In more recent years, she’s been writing e-mail, Web and direct mail copy for Gartner, Prudential and Natural Resources Defense Council, among others.

Specifically in terms of fundraising, Gedney’s contributes prose and direction to the tune of campaign revenues that are often dozens of times larger than the initial investment. How does she do it? Like all crafty direct marketers, she tests like crazy. Gedney recently spoke with writer Christopher Heine about her techniques. Read more


How to Write for SEO


I often fill these pages with rants about what not to do when writing copy for search engine optimisation (SEO) and for a web audience.

However, it struck me recently that I have not spent much time exploring best practice in SEO copywriting and how to ensure your content is as fit for purpose as possible.

I am going to remedy that today. Please comment if you have any questions or additions.


Spiders are the crawlers sent out by search engines such as Google to trawl through the web, recording details and information about the pages they visit. Read more about SEO copywriting

Tailor Your Ad Copy to Buy Cycle Stages


A couple of our paid search columnists have offered some great tips on generating ad copy. I’m going to build on this and talk about gearing ad copy to the consumer buy cycle. By targeting specific stages, advertisers can increase relevancy by delivering appropriate messages at the right time in the buy cycle. In this article, I’ll outline the various buy cycle stages and provide some ad examples (fictional) related to “on demand publishing.” Read more about ad copy

How to Use Content for Viral Marketing

On the Net, written content is the key to success for Webmasters. Web surfers regularly look for informative news articles about virtually every type of subject. After all, the Internet is known as the information superhighway.

Blogs are considered a great source of online information. They’re essentially daily diaries written by people who specialize in a specific subject. Interestingly, many blogs allow for community contribution, enabling Web site visitors to post comments on the blogs themselves. These comments expand on the content and create a buzz that is key to viral marketing, which involves influencing other people to spread the word about your Web site.

There are three ways to use content for viral marketing:

1. Syndicate your content.
2. Enable site visitors to email your content.
3. Create content for other Web sites.

Syndication is a method for enabling other Webmasters to feature your news articles on their Web sites. By placing one line of syndication code on your site, it’s possible to use another site’s content effortlessly. When that content is updated, the updates will appear on your site automatically.

There are two popular types of syndication feeds: RSS and JavaScript.

RSS is known as Really Simple Syndication and is created using XML (Extensible Markup Language). After an RSS feed is uploaded to a server, the URL for that feed can be given out to Webmasters. They can then use the URL in conjunction with RSS feed readers to translate it into HTML. The HTML displays news article summaries and article links on their Web sites. Most blogs generate RSS feeds automatically. That’s why blogs are used for viral marketing.

JavaScript feeds are the easiest to use. They consist of one line of code that can be dropped into a Web page to display news article summaries and links to articles. Master Syndication Gateway V2, a software program created by, can help you generate JavaScript feeds

E-mailing Content
There are tell-a-friend scripts that can enable your site visitors to email your news articles to their friends. This is a very powerful form of viral marketing that can generate huge traffic for your site. There are many available software programs that supply this feature.

Writing For Other Web Sites
If you’re an expert in a specific field of study such as Internet marketing, spread the word about your services and Web site by writing Internet marketing articles for other Web sites. Doing so will boost your credibility and generate a lot of business for you.
There are many marketing Web sites that publish content from other Webmasters, and these sites will generally let you include your biography and Web site link at the end of your article.

In conclusion, effective use of viral marketing techniques can drive traffic to your Web site and generate revenue for your business. You can benefit from syndication, tell-a-friend scripts, and writing content for other Web sites.