Write to Sell – by Andy Maslen

‘The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting’

Write to Sell – by Andy Maslen

On the surface, this book is about copywriting and using the written word to sell a product or service. But when you boil it down, it’s really for anyone who needs to communicate effectively through writing (which is everyone). This book covers things like the difference between features and benefits, writing to your audience, making a plan, finding what works and what doesn’t, writing clearly and simply, and how to attract and interest people and get them to take action.

Grab a copy of the book here: https://www.bookdepository.com/Write-Sell-Andy-Maslen/9780462099750/?a_aid=adamsbooks


Here is a dot point summary of the book!


Chapter 1 – It’s not about you

  • Where most people go wrong is understanding your reader, not your product
  • Tune in to wifimo


What people are not interested in

  1. Copy writers state of mind, “I am delighted to tell you..”
  2. Statements about the job or industry
  3. Narratives about your company development (we were formed in xxx)


What they are interested in:

  1. Themselves, that’s it


Tell them how your product will make their life easier, better or rewarding

  • People buy on emotional grounds first. Let them rationalize buying



Chapter 3 Getting to know your reader

Identify the attributes of your reader

Busy – away from to do list and towards time

Tired – stressed overworked toward sleep

Ambitious – away from low status and towards power money


Think about your typical reader and write to him conversationally


Chapter 4 A word about business people

In every business transaction, the parties are always people. You are writing to people


One reasons CEO care about shareholder value is because their bonus depends on it

One reason IT manager cares about network is because his pay rise depends on in


Chapter 5 – B word and the F word

B – benefits – write about the benefits not the features

F – many people rant about features



Plan what you want to say. Without a span you are going to spend more time achieving less

  • Jot down bullet points


Ch 7 Set out goals

Ch 8 Simple but powerful fast food mnemonic for creating perfect plans


K all about knowledge, facts. Include some facts about your product

F – feel. What do you want him/her to feel?

“Excited about being our customer/Worried that if they don’t do anything they will miss out/Desperate to sign up”

C – Close – Tell them exactly what you want them to do, when, and how…


CH 9 Understand what your really selling

We focus on what it is, but we should focus on what it does.

To make a sale you need to dramatize the facts in terms of benefits



Product: Lottery ticket

Appears to be: gambling slip

Appears to compete with: bingo, slot machines, betting shops

Is: cheap escapism

Actually competes with: magazines, chocolate bars


Product: Online structural engineering course

Appears to be: learning resource

Appears to compete with : universities

Is: beating colleagues, fast tracked learning

Actually competes with : more exciting industries


Paint the picture of life without your product in a darker tone if necessary

  1. What will happen if the reader DOES do what you want?
  2. What WONT happen if the reader DOES do what you want?
  3. What WILL happen if the reader DOESN’T do what you want?
  4. What WONT happen if the reader DOESN’T do what you want?


CH10 Killer structure

  • 4 Times as many people read your headline as read your body copy, so that’s where you should invest your time
  • Headlines that deliver news, promise benefits and arouse curiosity are the most powerful of all
  • Benefit examples:
  • Make money, save money, make your money go further, save time, enjoy life more, be healthy, provide for your family




Feature – weights less than a gram

Benefit – No need to pay extra postage when you use it to keep letters together

F – Made of steel wire

B – Won’t break and lose your important documents

F – Recyclable

B – Helps preserve natural resources

F – Smooth finish

B – Wont tear or scratch your papers


CH11 What works

You have identified your reader as a single individual. You’ve thought long about what keeps him motivated and gets them down.

Now for the tricky bit, writing


  1. Staying focused on the reader
  • Every sentence you write must mean something to your reader. Think of what you’re doing as reeling in a fish. Keep the line taut and you can bring safety to the net. Let the line go through sloppy writing or plain boring writing, and off it goes downstream in search of watery pleasures
  • Your opening sentence is your main chance to hook your readers for the journey. Address them directly, start telling about them and their concerns, needs and wants, and you have their undivided attention. Well maybe not their undivided attention, but enough of it to start making your case


  1. Brevity

“Brevity is the sister of talent” if you need a ruthless desire to cut your copy


  1. Long copy – bust must be quality
  2. Story telling
  3. Asking questions
  4. Establishing rapport… example “As you know, it can be difficult…”
  5. Fresh ideas


CH12 What doesn’t

Are you communicating meaning or status? We don’t need jargon


CH13 The black arts (and a few magic words)

  1. Broken lists between paragraphs
  2. Teasers at paragraph ends… new ideas from around the world. But that’s not all…
  • And here’s why
  • And there’s another reason why subscribing makes such good sense
  • So why subscribe?
  • If your not already convinced, how about this?
  1. Page ending mid sentence
  • Subscribe to What You Will Learn and you are 5 times more likely to
  1. Promise goodies later on. “In a moment , I am going to reveal the five most important errors most copy writers make on the order form. But first….


The 6 magic words that unlock success

  1. Easy

People are inherently lazy

  1. Quick

People are impatient

  1. Free
  2. Now
  3. Please
  4. Guarantee



Use verbs not nouns

Noun: We focus on performance, measurement, management and standardization

Verb: We measure, manage and standardize performance


CH15  – Good English for copy writing

  • Avoid cliches
  • Never use a long word when a short one will do… Most people contract thesaurus itis at some point

Make a few redundancies

  • At this point in time, (replace with) now…
  • Due to the fact… Because


Limit your words in a sentence


CH16 – Tone of voice: What is it and what to do with it


  • Many people warn off conversational tone. YOU want a conversational tone of voice


CH19 Editing Your Work

“Writing is rewriting”, it is just a work in progress. Rewrite the same piece a lot


Ch20 Proof reading

Checking your writing is slow. But it’s not as time consuming as trying to repair the bad impression your intemperate or badly written email has made on your reader


CH24 My tips for action

  • To be able to practise, you need to become aware of your writing as writing. You need to see it as others see it. Print it out and leave it overnight


CH25 how to brief an external copy writer

CH26 the last word



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