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Ian Tomlinson
My work is about relationships, connection and being useful. I want to make a difference before I'm dead.
My work is about relationships, connection and being useful. I want to make a difference before I'm dead.

Ian's posts

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Fancy learning about what makes you tick?  Sign up to my TA 101 now!

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some great phrases here - thanks Jeff
Copywriting Tips  - Power Phrases

You might have heard about power words and phrases as you have researched copywriting online or in articles like the one you are reading now. Quite you often you will find lists of punchy but rather overused “adjectives” that begin to sound like a cheesy infomercial script. To my way of thinking power phrases are much more than flashy one word attention grabbers, they are phrases that entice a reader, that provoke emotions and help build a connection to the author. The real power of words is their ability to pull a reader into your world.

Some examples of the power phrases I often like to use include:
“Imagine this…”
Paint a picture with your words and invite the reader into your world.

“The answer is yes...”
So, what is the question and why does it matter? This is a simple formula for creating compelling copy, give the answer and then state the question.

“Let me tell you a story…”
Pull the reader into your experience and share how you overcame an obstacle, found a solution, etc.

“I know what you're thinking...”
Get inside your reader’s head and demonstrate that you actually do know what their concerns are.

“What’s more important to you...?”
Allow the reader to examine the weight of their values and form their own conclusions. A classic example: “What’s more important to you a few dollars or spending more time with your family?”

“You aren’t alone…”
The reader’s fears, desires, ambitions, etc are shared with a group of others, the reader is identified and this can be very compelling indeed.

“They all laughed at me when…”
A common story, the hero seems defeated but rises to the challenge. What challenges your reader?

“Listen, this is going to sound a little odd but...”
Frame this as an aside, as if you are sharing private information with a trusted friend.

“Remember when you…”
Develop a narrative around a universal experience. Example, falling in love, riding a bicycle, losing a job.

“How would you like to…”
Make a promise and then deliver the goods.

“10 things you need to know before…”
Critical information needed to make a sound judgement, purchase, decision.

“You need more (fill in the blank) don’t you?”
What do your readers need more of? Time, money, happiness, vacations, something else?

As you can see the suggestions that I have offered aren’t the loud, brash, hyped-up variety that you see so often in sales copy today. While there is a time and a place for shouting out the “amazing” benefits in your writing there is quite often more power to be found in simply connecting your reader to your message. Power phrases are seductive, they lure your reader to the next paragraph, they take your readers on a journey of discovery and ultimately they help to ensure that your message is delivered and understood.

These power phrases can be used in headlines, email subject lines, opening sentences and just about anywhere else in your copy that requires them. Feel free to use any of the opening line suggestions here and add them to your personal swipe file.

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Simple yet effective!
Deaing with interruptions at work:

Hi guys.  Just got this camera and have taken some great photos already.  I'm also teaching myself photoshop at the same time and I'm amazed at what can be done with the software.  My question is whether people are shooting in RAW or JPEG?  I've set up in custom to take colour images for 2 custom settings and B+W in the third but I now realise that I can do all of the image manipulation in PS.  Am I better off just shooting in RAW and turning my image B+W in PS?  All advice welcomed.
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