Write a Powerful, 83-Word Email About a Carpet Cleaner … And You Could Get a $200 Prize!
This could be your first paid freelance copywriting job!
I’m going to brief you on an online copywriting assignment, right now, in this article.
You’re going to be promoting a home portable carpet and upholstery cleaner. (One of these would come in very handy!)
And, if yours is one of the best three submissions, we’re going to award you $200.
Not a bad payday for 83 words!
We’re doing this because we want you to have immediate, hands-on experience with writing for the Web.
We’ve done this a couple of times before, and HUNDREDS of people have taken part. It’s fun!
A team of us here at AWAI gets involved in judging all the submissions, and it’s amazing to see so much creative writing.
And yes, we send out those $200 prizes to the winners!
Here’s How It Works …
First, keep reading.
I’m going to brief you on the job, just like a real client would.
Then I’m going to give you some tips on how to write the copy.
Finally, once you’ve written your copy and gone through a few drafts to make it the best it can be, you’ll submit it to us (instructions below).
Think about it. Whether you’re one of our three winners or not, this is a professional copywriting project you can put in your portfolio!
And it’s a great opportunity to get a sense of what it feels like to be given a brief to write copy for a real client.
Are you in? I hope so.
Let’s get started …
Here’s Your Brief …
Your job is to write promotional copy for the DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner.
This copy is going to appear in an email.
There’ll be a headline of 8 words or less that appears at the top of the body of the email itself.
Then a photo of the DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner in a nice home, then up to 75 words of text, followed by a button for readers to click if they want to learn more.
You probably get emails like this yourself … selling clothes, vacations, books, household items, and so on.
To be clear …
Headline of up to 8 words
[photo of DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner]
Up to 75 words of body text
[The More Info button]
Don’t worry about providing the photo or the More Info button. And don’t worry about providing the email subject line either.
Your task is just to write the headline and 75 words of compelling text.
And … in answer to a question we got last time … if you use just 6 words in the headline, no, you can’t use 2 extra words in the body copy.
And … the answer to another question I get asked … yes, two words connected by a hyphen still count as two words!
Up to 8 words for the headline.
Up to 75 words for the body text.
Basic Product Info
Your client will always give you some briefing information like this, whatever you’re going to be writing.
The product name is: DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. (I made the name up, but it’s based on a real product!)
Target Audience: People who enjoy the convenience of cleaning their own carpet and upholstery instead of hiring a service.
Product: This is a portable carpet and upholstery cleaner for small and large clean-ups at home.
- Compact deep cleaner for small and large clean-ups.
- The item weight is 12 pounds (5.4 kg).
- The power rating is 3 Amps.
- Strong spray and suction remove tough stains and spills, cleans, and helps dry in one step. Hose Length is 4'.
- Parts made from post-consumer recycled plastic, PVC-free tanks and hose; no heater.
- Tough-stain brush attachment included.
- Dirt Tank Capacity: 48 Ounces
- Measures 9-1/10 by 18-4/5 by 13-1/4-Inch
- 1-year limited warranty
What’s unique: These little machines can remove deep-down dirt, spots, and stains because the powerful suction on these machines lift them out for good. Unlike a spray that goes on and cleans the surface of stains, spot cleaners combine hot water, targeted cleaning formula, and powerful suction to get deep down in the exact spot you need it. Portable spot cleaners like the DeepKlean are ideal for stairs, upholstery, auto interiors, and more.
Price: This is a $100 purchase.
(Pro tip: Don’t mention the price in your copy. The price will be revealed on the website, after readers have clicked through from your email copy.)
How to Research and Prepare
Copy and print out the briefing information above.
Then go to Amazon and look at the features and descriptions of other portable carpet and upholstery cleaners …
Take notes. Get a feel for the products and the buyers.
In other words, do your homework!
This is how it goes with real clients. They give you a briefing, then you do your own research too, digging deeper and immersing yourself in the product or service.
Pro Tips for Making Your Copy Better
Once you’ve done all that research, you might think it’s time to start writing.
Not so fast!
That’s just Step One.
Step Two is to immerse yourself in the lives of your buyers.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the home of someone who might be interested in buying a DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner.
Will this be their first purchase of this kind or product? What’s motivating them? Why now?
Are they motivated mostly by the idea of keeping their home clean on their own on a regular basis? Do they have pets that might be causing tough stains? Do they have small children who are making messes at home or in their vehicle? Do they have light carpet or area rugs that need more consistent cleaning?
Not sure how to answer those questions?
Here’s another pro tip for you …
Go back to those Amazon listings. Now, instead of reading the product descriptions, read the buyer reviews!
THAT’S where you get to know how it feels to be in your prospects’ shoes.
Totally immerse yourself in those reviews and opinions. Get a feel for the language buyers use when talking about these products.
Do that and THEN you’ll be ready to start writing.
Remember … nobody truly needs a DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. But a lot of people might WANT one.
Why? Why do we want them? How will our lives change if we have one?
Answer those questions and you’ll be well on your way to writing some great copy.
Three More Important Tips
I’ve been a professional copywriter for over 40 years now.
But still, after all those years, my first draft is NEVER my best draft.
So … if you want to be one of the three writers who is rewarded with a $200 prize, write several drafts of both the headline and body text.
Keep writing new drafts until it’s the best you can do.
Almost every purchase we make is driven more by our hearts than our brains. We buy stuff to satisfy our emotions. We buy stuff to make ourselves feel good or to fulfill something in our lives.
So … don’t focus just on the features … give thought to the emotional triggers too.
You’re not trying to close the sale with this copy. There’s no buy button.
Your task is to make the reader want to click through to a sales page on the company website.
The purpose of the email copy is to make people interested enough to want to learn more.
Make them click that More Info button!
There Are Two Rules
First rule …
Play fair. Don’t copy text from the Web. Make this all your own work.
Remember, the real value here lies in the practice, and in having a piece of writing for your portfolio.
Second rule …
You have a deadline. There’s always a deadline!
We will cut off entries at 11:59 p.m. EST (one minute before midnight) on February 15, 2021.
We’ll then announce the three winners in The Writer’s Life. When? That depends on the number of entries. But we should have our winners selected within a couple of weeks.
Again … Your submission needs to be dated by 11:59 p.m. EST, February 15, 2021.
Submit your entry here.
Only one entry per person.
Remember, following the guidelines from a client is very important. So any submissions that do not follow these guidelines will more than likely be removed from consideration.
I look forward to seeing your work!
Time to get moving … and good luck!
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.
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For the writing contest, can we also add one additional picture, along with the picture required in the directions? The picture would tie in to the Headline I’ll be using.
Guest (Violet) –
Do quotation marks around a word count as separate words?
Just wondering, what do we use to create this? MS Word or something else?
Guest (Steve Nelson) –
I would not write copy for a client who gave me six pages of instruction for an 83-word ad.
Guest (Sam R) –
Hello! In regards to the picture for the DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery cleaner, is it supposed to be a generic image of a portable carpet cleaner?
Answers to questions so far…
No, quotation marks around a word don’t count as separate words.
Create it in Word. Submit it as directed.
Photo questions. Stay tuned… I’ll get back to you on that.
Nick Usborne –
And...about the photo. Apologies for the confusion. We're going to clarify the language in the brief.
Long story short... you DON'T need to provide a photo or image of any kind. Just submit the words.
Nick Usborne –
This is very great, uncle Nick.
I have always loved and admired you greatly before now. But your writing competitions for up and coming copywriters have endeared you to me even more deeply.
I like to encourage you, sir, to continue with the good work.
You're impacting deeply on our lives and writing ambition.
I'm going to be part of this competition. I've always participated in your competitions.
I'm hoping that this time luck will shine at me.
But whether or not luck shines at me, I continue to love and admire you greatly, sir.
I want to use this opportunity also to give a shout out to auntie Rebecca Matter - I call her Rebecca Divine. She's Godsend.
A BIG shout out to EVERYONE reading this. You're simply awesome.
Kennedy Idigu –
Can we assume this is a dual-tank model? All the existing styles are that way (one tank each for clean water and dirty water).
"Sounds clear to me what client wants" GOOD LUCK EVERYONE...........
RL Allen –
I just wanted to know how the prospects ended up on the email list?
Claire Ane –
Does & count as a word?
As in "DeepKlean Carpet & Upholstery cleaner" Would that be considered 5 words or 4?
Guest (Lisa C) –
Okay, saw the comment about quotation marks but what about symbols, such as an ampersand or plus sign, etc.? They are not counted as words in Word (which sounds absurd! - rhyme!) but want to make absolutely sure. Many thanks!
Guest (Rebecca Kessler) –
I just realized that for some reason I used 65 words in the body instead of 75. Should I re-submit another entry or just let it fly like it is? Thanks Ron
Ron B –
Does & count as a word?
Lisa CC –
Do contractions count as one word or two? Also does the ampersand in product name count as a word? Did not see mention of these.
Guest (JC) –
Trying to understand the product. Does it heat the water or not? Under features it is described as not having a heater "no heater", but under "What's Unique" it says "spot cleaners combine hot water". So my question is does it have a heater or no? Other than that, thanks for this opportunity. I am excited to try this!
While submitting Email Copy, I missed a spelling mistake..
The Word document automatically changed "deep-down" to "drop-down ".
I noticed it after submission. Is that ok for you?
Thank you for the Amazing Brief and Opportunity to write and Win!
Guest (Hassan) –
Pardon the newbie question but do punctuation marks count as words?
The deadline has passed… and my apologies for not replying to the last batch of questions.
A long weekend problem, I’m afraid.
Anyway, good luck, and I look forward to reading your submission!
Nick Usborne –
It is ok that you were not able to answer. I was able to figure out how to phrase my copy without having those answers.