Reader Question: What’s A Good Copywriting Template For a 500 Word Article?
On Twitter the other day, a reader – Dennis Demori – asked whether or not I had a sample template for a simple five hundred word article.
I’m a big fan of writing templates. They make writing quicker, easier and they break all those annoying places where you can’t think of how to follow one sentence with another.
I decided to keep my description on Twitter for a while, but in this article I’ll go through what I wrote for that answer to elaborate. (It really is quite the challenge to explain anything with the 140 character limit.)
So, let’s get started – this is a simple template for a basic 500 word article. You can use it for various freelance projects.
Step One: Easy Planning
In a lot of copywriting, you’re going to want to be a bit more creative than following a cardboard cut-out writing template word-for-word. In many instances, you’ll play around with structure and swap sections in and out depending on your goal and what you’re writing about.
A 500 word article isn’t really the place to experiment in most cases. There are a few different formula you can pick from, but I suggest using AIDA because it works so well with a 500 word article.
Step Two: Headline
With freelance websites, a lot of the time your clients will give you the title of your article. A lot fo the time, it’ll be rubbish… but let’s face it, the customer is always right.
In the instances that they don’t give you a title, here’s what you want to do: Make up some hyperbolic statement, include your keywords and that’s it. Don’t overcomplicate it, and don’t worry about it being entirely truthful.
Step Three: Lead In
Sticking with the “don’t worry about being overly factual” theme, carry on with your lead in. Your job with your first paragraph is to get the person intrigued enough to continue. That’s all… again, you’ve got 500 words. Don’t overcomplicate things. I love rhetorical questions for this section. Specific variations on “Do you want a better life?” always work.
Step 3.5 Your Story
There are a few questions you’ll need to answer – even in a short article. These revolve around instilling trust in your reader: Why should they listen to you? This is pretty complex as a topic ad you don’t need to worry about it too much in a short article – but give some reasons why you’re trustworthy and your information is credible.
Step Four: Features and Benefits
This is the part where you’re getting to the sales aspect of the letter. Until this point, you’ve just been trying to keep the person’s attention. The good news is that if your reader is still with you at this stage, they’ll probably stay to the end of the article.
Step Five: Call To Action
A lot of people try and do the sales part here… in 500 words, you don’t have time to do a hard sell like you do in a long form sales letter. Your features and benefits should have already sold the product. Here, you just need to be to the point. “If you like this information, then click to subscribe.” Or, “you can get this product from Amazon for $50” or something.
You’ll want to change this template a bit. I have variations on this for sales letters (though a 500 word count is short for this,) reviews, how-to articles and opinion pieces. With the six paragraph structure, you’re looking at around eighty words per section. This is about three to five sentences.
The best thing about using a template like this is that if you’re stuck on a particular section, you can move on to the next section. The logical minded person always wants to start with the features and benefits, so if in doubt start there, work out from that information what your angle is going to be and then move forward.