The Power of Your Ego in Writing Online Copy
I obey one main rule when writing copy for the online world: Get
out of my ego and into my reader's ego. It's a basic marketing
truth that shouldn't be violated anywhere. Yet it's violated
every day online. Let me explain.
One day I received the following email:
Dear Mr. Vitale,
Your name was mentioned on a site that I came upon
while I was looking for informational material to market
on the Internet. Can you PLEASE, give me some feedback
on this. The site is
Thank you for you time.
I took a quick peak at his site. If you did, too, you saw that
his site is a sales letter. There is nothing in that headline to
appeal to your ego in a way that is acceptable online.
Off-line that sort of hard-sell headline might work. On-line it
won't. Why? Because it is too sales oriented. It looks and reads
too much like an ad. If you think of your reader's ego, you
wouldn't post something so heavy-handed online. Instead, you
would give them information they want. Information they can use.
Think of it this way: Write your website copy as if you are
writing a how-to booklet or a news release. Give facts. Give
details. Give specifics. I might rather write this fellow's
website as a special report on the rise of e-books in the new
millennium. I might even give pointers on how to write your own
e-books. In short, get out of your ego and into your visitor's
ego. Appeal to their interests and they will eventually show
interest in yours.
Let's look at another example.
Hello Mr. Fire,
I am not a copy writer but I am trying to write a copy
that sells my information product. Can you please check
out my website and tell me whats wrong with the copy I
Thank you for your time.
Did you take a look at his site? Same problem as the one before
it. It's written by a person trying to make a sale. That means
the copywriter was writing to his own ego, not to mine or yours.
Again, to transform this or any other website, think of what
your READER wants to see, not what you want to sell. Think about
it. Don't you care more about what interests you, than what
I might rewrite this fellow's website by writing a news release
or a special report on "The Top 10 New Ways to Make Money
Online." I'd research the top ways, too, list them, explain
them, and make what he wants to sell just one of the new ways to
make money online. It's the traditional way to sell anything
with a news release: Simply plug your product or service within
a story of genuine news.
Are there any examples of websites using this basic copywriting
principle? Of course. But they aren't easy to find. Obvious
examples are www.ebay.com and www.amazon.com. Both focus on YOU.
When you look at ebay or amazon, for example, you don't detect
an ego behind the sites. Instead, you can easily look around for
what interests YOU. Again, get out of your ego and into your
I just took a moment from writing this article to browse some
random sites. I went to www.etour.com and let it bring websites
to me based on what I told it I was interested in. It's a
marvelous tool. Sites I saw were one on new music releases. No
ego here. This had a search engine for me to type in my favorite
artist or style of music. Another site was on how to give CPR.
Never know when it may be needed. Yet another site taught me how
things operated. Type in anything, like engine or website, and
an article at the site revealed how an engine, or website,
works. Again, all useful information. No ego. No selling.
Which leads to the question: How does anyone make any money
online when they have to create ego-less websites that focus on
the visitor and do little or no selling?
The answer is this: It's called Hidden Selling. It's what all
good publicity people or "cause public relations" people do.
They engage you in something you want to know about and sell you
after the fact. It's the soft sell. It's what Hallmark Cards
does when they fund a movie. You don't tune in to watch their
commercials. You tune in to watch the movie they sponsored. As
you do, you are also fed the commercials. Good websites do the
same. They offer you want you want, and sell you quietly, by
focusing on serving you, not selling you.
This whole topic may need more space than what I have here to
fully explain. The bottomline for me is this: You'll create
better copy on your websites if you focus on your visitor's ego,
not yours. Think of serving them, not selling them, and
ironically, you will end up selling them.
About the Author
Joe Vitale, regarded as one of the world's most powerful
copywriters, is a best-selling author of numerous marketing books and courses. His tremendously successful "Hypnotic
Writing" e-book is now succeeded by "Advanced Hypnotic
Writing," a breakthrough book that reveals how to use the
phenomenon of hypnotic suggestion to turn your words into cash.