Scottie Claiborne on Informercials and Web Copy

Thread Title:
What You Can Learn About SEO Copywriting From Infomercials
Thread Description:

This piece by Scottie Claiborne, her of the highrankings modship, comes via chris and, once you get past the intro, is pretty cool.

There's nothing so much that you havn't heard before, but maybe you're like me and need to hear some things again from time to time to really let them sink in - it's just my kind of article: Short, to the point and chocked full of chocalately goodness :)

She argues that sales copy for websites, SEO'd websites that is, can learn a thing or two from the infomercial people that pervade the american daytime TV networks. I was a bit shocked when she mentioned keyword stuffing though...

If you listen to an infomercial, you will notice that they never refer to the product as "it".

"The Chocolate Dream will brighten your life, the Chocolate Dream is easy to clean, with the Chocloate Dream,you'll never have to worry about what to have to for dessert again."

Many writers today will tell you if your copy isn't natural or in a conversational style that it's poorly written. However, infomercial copywriters know that repetition is the key to branding and product recall, so they repeat the name as often as possible.

If you are writing a conversational-style piece, or informational copy, it may not make sense to repeat the product name throughout. However, if you are writing copy to sell or increase relevance with the search engines, think infomercial.

You can definitely go overboard with repetition, but keep relevance, branding, and recall in mind when writing sales copy and be sure to use the relevant phrase throughout.

heh, only kidding Scottie - nice read...


Thanks, Nick!

Thanks for the notice. ;)

You noted the core idea that prompted me to write this one... I'm tired of hearing everyone say that "web copy must sound natural" and implying that if you wouldn't speak that way in a conversation, it's "bad" copy.

If you listen to how other forms of media write their copy, you can see that keyword phrase repetition is important in sales copy, period. Whether it's on TV, in print advertising, or on the web, you do have to get your point across and that takes repetition.

Sure, it can disintegrate into keyword stuffing if you go overboard, but there is a good balance.

Your're most welcome Scottie

If you wanna write stuff like that here - be my guest heh..


Sitting at my 'puter all day listening to the radio, I have noticed that the best radio commercials are totally keyword stuffed. So there must be something to the whole repetition thing.

Write your pages like you would for a radio ad and you may just be golden!

Good usability on the web dic

Good usability on the web dictates you write in bulletized phrases and short sentences anyway. People turn their brain off when they are on the web, they dont' read, they scan.

I give up.

Why the comparison between infomercial/radio and print is even being made is beyond me. Different mediums. I'm willing to let the jackasses think that print copy should read like a radio spot though. Ogilvy would have a heart attack.

Had to edit, just to mention the transitory nature of radio spots v. print, author intrusion, thought interruption, reader drawback, purpose, etc...

is beyond me

Me too.

With respect to scottie I think it is dreadful advice, the polar opposite of what I would consider best practice [hehe]. Does it work? Quite frankly I don't care, I'd rather shovel shite than write infomercial style copy.

It may be a cultural thing in someways, over this side of the pond we seem to like the soft sell approuch.

There is no one way to write

Well, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to everyone! It depends on what you are selling and who you are selling it to. It's just another approach to consider when picking the best strategy for a site.

Depends how you read it

What i got out of it was the idea that repeating certain key parts of the selling points/process would be a good idea - and i think it is.

If you read it to mean that you should copy the way infomercials work exactly, then that's not how i did...

Repeating certain key selling points at different sections of the buying process would seem pretty sensible to me no?

It's not meant to be literal!

I definitely wouldn't write in infomercialese... however the structure of an infomercial is a format that works.

What's the problem? You are out of ink for your printer. It's too expensive to go buy at the office supply store, takes to long to order it. The problem is that you are losing precious time or wasting money, people are unproductive, etc.

What's the solution? Online Affordable quality ink, sent overnight at NO EXTRA COST. Get back to work at a minimum of cost.

What are the benefits? You minimize downtime, without spending a fortune. You don't have to worry about substandard inks clogging your system.

Features: Every bit as good as OEM ink, without the cost or the wait, money back guarantee.

USP: Overnight delivery at no extra cost. Money back guarantee

Targeting: Business owners, therefore the focus is on saving time and expense.

Makes sense, no? I think I need to go order some printer ink... ;)

Nah - not I!

I'll run down to wallyworld and buy it - cheaper in the long run, brand name matched for printer, if it doesn't last very long you can usually get them to replace it, etc....

Of course, your point wasn't necessarily about ink. I was about the repetition one gets in infomercials. Which causes me to absolutely never buy the product. But that's just me.

There is more than one point

Whether or not you prefer a local store to buying online isn't really the topic here. Neither is whether you personally like the style. I hate long sales copy and would never buy from it, and yet it's successful for many sites or they woudln't keep using it.

One point is that setting up problems and showing the solutions (not just listing features) is a great way to sell the customer on your product or service, the other point is that sales copy in many types of media use repetition to help sell.

If it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work. That's cool. There are hundreds of ways to structure your copy. But for a lot of people, it's an easy way to understand and look at setting up persuasive copy.

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