Write a Powerful, 83-Word Email About Sleep Buds … 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.
For this contest, you’re going to be promoting a pair of Sleep Buds. (A pair of these would be very useful to have when there are a lot of new ideas racing around in my head at night.🙂)
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 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 DeepSleepBuds. (It’s a fictional product, but based on a real one.)
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 DeepSleepBuds in the ears of a man getting ready to go to sleep, 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 DeepSleepBuds (will be provided by the client)]
Up to 75 words of body text
[The More Info button (will be provided by the client)]
You do not need to worry about providing the photo or the More Info button. And don’t worry about providing the email subject line either. (Your “client” will provide those.)
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 answers to other questions I’ve gotten asked … yes, two words connected by a hyphen still count as two words … quotation marks don’t count as words … and don’t use symbols like the & (ampersand) in your copy. DeepSleepBuds counts as one word.
So, to recap, you’re providing:
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: DeepSleepBuds. (I made the name up, but it’s based on a real product!)
Target Audience: People who want to get a good night’s sleep and have trouble because their mind is racing or there’s too much noise in the background.
Product: This is a pair of earbud headphones designed for use when sleeping.
- Plays original content from the coordinating app (does not stream music or podcasts).
- Sound Library features 40 specially curated sounds, including tranquil tonal environments and sounds from nature and beyond, and engineered noise-masking sounds designed to cover nighttime disturbances like snoring, outside traffic, and next-door conversation.
- Relaxation content to calm a racing mind or be transported to relaxing surroundings.
- The app also lets you set an alarm only you’ll hear, and access other features including Phone-free Mode, which allows you to program your settings ahead of time so you can leave your phone in another room.
- 3 sizes of eartips for a secure, comfortable fit (even if you toss and turn or sleep on your side).
- Easy to use: download favorites directly onto the earbuds to customize your nighttime routine, control the volume, and access features like the personal alarm.
- 10 hours of battery life (enough for a full night’s sleep).
- Bluetooth compatible.
- Convenient charging and storage case plus USB cable.
What’s unique: DeepSleepBuds work with a dedicated app to deliver relaxing sounds that help you fall asleep, and use noise-masking technology so you stay asleep all night. Note, the DeepSleepBuds are not noise cancelling; instead, engineered masking sounds combine with the noise-blocking design of the buds to cover unwanted nighttime disturbances. The sleep technology has been clinically proven to help the wearer fall asleep faster … and with up to 10 hours of battery life, this is the easy solution to better sleep — from wind down to wake up.
Price: This is a $325 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 sleep headphones …
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 and lifestyle of someone who might be interested in buying a pair of sleep buds.
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 having soothing sounds to listen to as they go to sleep? Do they live with someone who snores? Are the neighbors next door partying loudly every night? Or are they in need of a way to calm their racing mind?
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 pair of DeepSleepBuds. But more and more 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. EDT (one minute before midnight) on October 26, 2021.
Then we’ll announce the three winners in 10 days or so after the end of the contest.
Again … Your submission needs to be dated by 11:59 p.m. EDT, October 26, 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 practicing on your writing … and good luck!
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.
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Thanks for the practice and challenge.
1. To stay w/i word count, if client provides More Info button, may I still write brief CTA ex: 'Get better sleep now' leading to it or just end my email without CTA in case More Info button link is worded with a CTA format?
2. Some AWAI emails tease new products but don't name the product which piques curiosity for the reader nudging them to click More Info button. Do you suggest we use the name DeepSleepBuds in the email or not? Just name the benefits?
I had the same question about the CTA. Should we say, Click here or just the button do that for us?
Guest (Twitticus) –
Nerwin... for question #1, I'm not sure I completely understand, but the word count does include the call to action. For #2, that's entirely up to you. : )
Nick Usborne –
Twitticus... for the purposes of this contest, Click Here will do fine. : )
Nick Usborne –
The photo of the product and the CTA button were to be provided by the client in the said copy above. How do I get them?
Guest (Kevin friday) –
Kevin... No need for a photo... and no need for the button. Just say "Click Here" if you want.
Nick Usborne –
Is the $200 prize cash?
Heyward Hawkins –
I have a question are we supposed to add the features or just get them excited enough to click on the page that shows the features?
Guest (Darlene) –
Darlene... get them excited enough to click through. Good question. : )
Nick Usborne –
I'd love to see the winning emails. Will those be posted somewhere?
Carrie Saunders –
Guest (Irene Gabelnick) –
Irene... announcement coming soon. : )
Nick Usborne –