Web copywriting tip from “Cool Hand Luke”

By 01/24/2011March 13th, 2014No Comments

Web copywriting must connect

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” 

Classic movie buffs and old-timers will recognize that line from “Cool Hand Luke,” the 1967 film starring Paul Newman. 

Newman stars in the title role as Luke, a prisoner who wins the respect of his fellow inmates by refusing to conform or submit to authority.

As a business owner, perhaps you can relate to Luke’s non-conformity! But as a web marketer, you obviously need to connect with your reader and communicate. 

One way to connect better and improve your web copy is to eliminate what I  refer to as “warm-up copy”  

Try this: read your subject line, headline and lead (generally what you see “above the fold”) out loud. If the first paragraph or two sound nice, but it’s really the third paragraph that gets to the “meat” of the copy and says anything substantive, get rid of the first two paragraphs (the “warm-up copy”) and start with the meat.

Web copywriting for readers who scan

You can do the same with all your web copy. Author Elmore Leonard advises fiction writers to “try and leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” Good advice for web copywriters, too. 

Go through the copy on all you website’s pages and look for parts that don’t communicate something meaningful. Make sure every word, every sentence is strong, and pulls the reader through the copy.

Conversational writing

And one last tip from Mr. Leonard, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” If your writing doesn’t sound like you’re talking to your best friend, it’s not good copy. Stick to conversational writing, and chances are you’ll keep more readers to the end, win them to your way of thinking, and ultimately, move them to action.

Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

More posts by Steve Roller

Leave a Reply