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Review of the book “Copywriting” by Paulo Maccedo » Portal Insights
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Writing is one of the oldest forms of human communication. And, although it has been with us for so long, many people still cannot use it in a way that turns communication into profit, the fundamental principle of copywriting. Paulo Maccedo is not one of those people.

On the pages of Copywriting – The most coveted century-old writing method on the American market, Maccedo makes it clear that he not only knows the strategies for copywriting but also lives from it. In a context so full of “gurus” for “miraculous results” that are more like “do what I say but don’t watch what I do”, Paulo Maccedo is a breath of sanity, technique and, in fact, achievement.

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And, if you've read this far and are curious, it means that the book's learnings are practical and can be measured right after you put it on the shelf.

Standing on the shoulders of giants such as David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach and John Emory Powers, Maccedo breaks down copywriting. It is a writing technique focused on conversion, going through all its characteristics, from the pre-conception of the idea to the potential of transforming an advertisement into an editorial.

In this way, he proves that copywriting is not a “new wave” of digital marketing: the technique has demonstrated results since the last century, mixes the disciplines of advertising and journalistic communication and can, with the expertise of a good copywriter, transform text into sales.

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The book is technical and considers communication philosophy and sales pitches. Therefore, it tends to sound more familiar to those who already have experience with advertising writing or web writing, but that doesn't mean that a “newbie” to the subject won't enjoy reading it. One of Maccedo’s greatest strengths is being didactic and convincing – crucial characteristics of a respected copywriter.

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Key Copywriting Lessons

The author's preface begins with a quote from Shakespeare. The brief explanation of the advent of copywriting is preceded by Machado de Assis and its origin is explained based on a thought by Mark Twain. The use of literary icons to open the academic discourse demonstrates that, even in the first pages, Maccedo sells, between the lines, an important copywriting lesson:

The copywriter needs to be, before being a writer/editor (writer, in English), a reader.

This maxim applies to those who like to write fiction, non-fiction, scripts and, apparently, it also applies to those who want to make money by manufacturing advertisements. Even because, as the author constantly reminds us in his book, the new generations of consumers no longer swallow any soft talk.

Had I started without citing great writers, perhaps this would have been implicit. But, as she mentioned, the message is loud and clear: read, read a lot, read a lot before you dare to write. Technical improvement requires repetition and repertoire. Without these two characteristics, the copywriter runs a serious risk of producing more of the same.

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Another important lesson from the work is to make us see copy as an advertising goal. In other words, made to attract attention, arouse desires and, ultimately, make money. Copywriting requires studies, updates and a keen eye for good ideas, but it is not for charity. Enchanting the reader just for the sake of enchanting is not worth it: you need to sell.

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The more, the better.

One of the crucial practical actions for you to be able to internalize this objective is to develop the AIDA model. Once you know your persona and know exactly what they are looking for in your product or service, it's time to start calling your Atension, awaken your Iinterest, create the Dwish and invite to the Adog.

The attention starts with the title of the copy and, therefore, this title needs to be incredible. It's not hyperbole: that's the right word. The more useful, unique, urgent and specific it is, the more likely you are to lead potential consumers to read your message. Maccedo gives several examples of titles that draw attention to these characteristics to serve as inspiration.

Interest will be created from the language used. It is worth remembering that the product description does not always arouse interest, since description is generally a cold speech. Creating a consistent narrative, using storytelling elements, that is interesting and strong is what will keep your reader interested.

The creation of desire comes from the differences of the product or service and, mainly, from the testimonials of other people who have already used it. If the copy is urgent, useful and unique, what is missing for its total success is the generation of trust. Testimonials will serve as social proof that what you offer really works.

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But remember, copywriting is done to sell. Therefore, you cannot leave your reader daydreaming about the advertisement you made: you need to invite them to act. In current marketing, this last step is called CTA, or call-to-action. The author explains that:

“A CTA should never come alone, out of context. It should summarize, in a few words, the value proposition of the offer and say what will happen after the action. It is important that the elements of the copy 'speak' the same language and are convergent to convince the visitor to take a certain action.”

When Ogilvy ran an epic Rolls Royce ad in a newspaper at the beginning of the last century, the end of the ad said: “If you want to experience a great car, call this number.” Your copy must end in a way that is as impactful and accurate as this.

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Today, the action will not always be calling. Sometimes, signing up for an email, making a purchase, asking for a quote are more assertive options. It doesn't matter how you end your text, as long as you remember to invite your reader to become a customer.

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A melting pot of insights

The best part of reading a technical work like Copywriting – The most coveted century-old writing method on the American market It's realizing, through the pages, that the author really knows what he's talking about. That he studied and is ready to teach, and the techniques he intends to pass on are not just words in the wind.

Paulo Maccedo makes this magic happen from start to finish – and that's why the most prudent recommendation is that people who want to make money writing articles read the book until the end. Otherwise, a lot will be lost – and not just in relation to Paulo's knowledge, but also that of David Ogilvy, Rosser Reeves and other names that made history in advertising.

It is using one of these masters, Jonathan Ive, or Jony Ive, designer responsible for several of Apple's successes, that Maccedo gives us one of the greatest insights in the entire book. He opens the chapter on the text using the words of the British:

“It is very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.”

In a way, this phrase – so brief and striking – perfectly describes the objective of the copy. In increasingly disruptive marketing scenarios, where entrepreneurs and businesspeople are racking their brains trying to reinvent the wheel, the key to advertising success lies in a century-old method.

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And it's not enough to be different, because, if you look closely, everyone today is different. Social networks, websites, infoproducts are full of “differentiation” seals. But, in fact, who are the best?

Who does it better than Apple? Starbucks? The RD Station? Who does better than those who actually sell? The result is the lord of possibilities. So, don't try to be different; seek to be the best.

Final balance

The pages of Copywriting – The most coveted century-old writing method on the American market They are full of techniques, sales channels, forms of content and genres of intent for those who want to create an audience, produce leads and close sales.

Those who have no experience with writing may be attracted by the variety of possible actions, and those who are already writers can learn valuable lessons to advance in their field.

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But that's not all: from Shakespeare to Lord of the Rings, through personal stories and even biblical verses, Maccedo inserts culture, information and sensitivity into his considerations. Thus, a person who consumes the entire work and still does not see practical value in it (which I, personally, think is unlikely), will increase their repertoire with good ideas and a lot of acquired knowledge.

If it is not to bring benefits beyond what the title sells, what would advertising be for, right?

Paulo Maccedo's book is a class that every digital marketing specialist should read before calling themselves a digital marketing specialist. There are no loose ends or gaps: the author talks about a little of everything, within the countless communication possibilities that the digital environment provides.

The chapters are short, the writing is fluid and the author invites us, on several occasions, to immediately practice what he is suggesting. This way, whoever reaches the end of the book will be able to understand and create copy that earns them recognition, satisfaction and, of course, money.

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You will discover, before page ten, what makes Paulo Maccedo considered one of the biggest names in copywriting in Brazil. Spoiler alert: the signs are in the care and respect he gives to those who read him. This honest answer to those looking for quality reading is priceless – perhaps the only priceless thing in the marketing era.


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