Sales copy can make or break your marketing campaign. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that it is as strong and persuasive as possible.

The first step, of course, is to get the first draft of the copy down on paper (or computer screen) as quickly as possible. I always tell copywriters not to worry about getting every word right. Just “let it all hang out.”

Then, the real work begins: the editing. That’s when you transform your copy from decent to good – or even great. As copywriting expert Clayton Makepeace says, “The more compelling you make each section of your sales letter, the greater your response and average order will be.”

In my last article for ETR – “4 Simple Ways to Turbocharge Your Writing” – I said that the best way to do the editing is to focus on one thing at a time. And I walked you through the first four phases of the process.

There are four more steps to take in order to polish your copy to perfection. Put them to work for you, and you’re sure to end up with sales letters that blow past your competition.

1. Call Out the Bucket Brigade

In this phase of the editing process, you smooth out and “stitch” everything together by using “bucket brigade” copy transitions. Like the old-time firefighters who transferred buckets of water from hand to hand, these phrases keep propelling the reader forward. Phrases like these:

• And that’s just the beginning…

• As you read on, I’ll tell you more about how…

• But before we go into that…

• But better still…

• But don’t take my word for it…

• But I’m jumping ahead. Let me tell you how this all came about…

• Here’s more…

• Fact is…

• Here’s the deal…

• Here’s the scary part:

• Listen, there’s more. Lots more…

• My strong hunch is…

• Needless to say…

• What this all boils down to is…

• What’s more…

• What’s the catch?

• Then it hit me…

Anytime you can use a copy transition, you will improve the readability of your copy and move the reader closer to the sale. (I have compiled 226 copy transitions that I use on a regular basis.)

2. Read It Out Loud

I don’t know what it is about reading sales copy out loud, but it gives you lots and lots of insight into how good (or bad) it really is. All the bumps and rough spots jump out at you.

Even better than reading it out loud yourself is to have someone else read it to you while you take notes on a printout of the copy. One big advantage of this is that he is completely impartial. He won’t stress certain words to make the meaning clearer. And if he stumbles over a phrase or sentence or paragraph, you know that’s an area you need to rework.

Another thing I do during this editing phase is make sure the copy is geared to the prospect’s benefit. I do it by changing some of the “I’s,” “We’s,” and “Me’s” to “You’s” – e.g., changing “We are giving you 6 must-have bonuses”toYou’ll get 6 must-have bonuses.”

Much stronger that way.

3. Sleep On It 

At this point, let your copy sit for at least a day. If you don’t have the luxury of an extra day, even a few hours will help. When you come back to it, it will be with new eyes and a fresh perspective. You’ll find errors that weren’t apparent before, and better ways of saying what you want to say.

Every sales letter is significantly improved with rewriting. I will often do three, four, or even five rewrites before I’m satisfied.

4. Grammar and Spelling – the Final Phase of the Edit

On my final pass-through, I check the grammar and spelling. Often, I will have someone who is better at “proper English” take a look, too. I take their suggestions with a grain of salt, because sales copy is more “conversational” than formal writing. Still, I definitely want to make sure I don’t make stupid mistakes like confusing “their” and “there.”

Despite the importance of the editing process, most copywriters don’t bother with it – or, at best, give their copy one or two quick “final” reads. But if you take the time to do a thorough job – going through all eight phases, one by one – you will see a guaranteed improvement in the selling power of your writing!

[Ed. Note: As master Internet marketer Yanik Silver ( says, careful editing can make the difference between mediocre and blockbuster sales copy.]

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Yanik Silver

Yanik Silver is an established internet marketing expert, having been in business online since 1998. He has numerous internet products to his name, including Instant Internet Profits, Internet Marketing Lab, 21 Mind Motivators, Instant Sales Letters, Million Dollar Emails, Autoresponder Magic, and Instant Marketing Toolbox. Yanik has a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland. He is also a frequent guest speaker at internet marketing seminars.

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