It All Starts With A Great Ending!
Sometimes copy just ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. And that’s a real shame, given how much time we spend crafting killer headlines and opening lines. The result is a message that just gets less impressive the longer it goes on.
Well, the good news is that writing an effective ending should actually be a lot easier than coming up with the perfect opening. You’ve already done a lot of the hard work. Try to think of endings as a natural culmination of what you’ve been saying all along. Good endings don’t tend to veer off at wild, new tangents; they just need to bring everything to a natural conclusion.
In fact, you can actually refer back to the beginning to help you come to the end…
Sow the seeds
You can sow the seeds of the perfect ending in the perfect beginning. For instance, you can go back and address any questions you may have posed right from the off. In some case you can restate the original question, with a single word response. This works particularly well if your copy has already made the answer self-evident.
Referring back to the beginning is a great way of giving cohesion to your overall argument. It makes any document seem meticulously planned and gives your readers a proper sense of closure.
Beginnings intrigue readers. They dangle carrots with the promise of more good things to come. Endings can do that too. Backed up by the value of what you’ve already said, you’re in an even better position to do it. By this stage you’ve already hooked your reader, so they should be even more receptive now than they were at the beginning. So take the chance to keep them dangling.
It all starts here…
Is this really the end? Or just the end of the beginning? Try to treat your ending as the start (or continuation) of the relationship between you and your reader.
You’ve had your say. You’ve done everything you can to present the best proposition. Now you have to let go. Have faith in your copy and take this opportunity to put the ball back in your client’s court. What do they need to do next to find out more? How can they take their next steps? Make it easy for them to get the information they need…
These are all techniques that you can adopt whenever you like. But they’re not comprehensive by any means. Sometimes, the best endings occur to you as you work towards your conclusion. So leave yourself open to new possibilities as they present themselves.
The right ending can be dictated by the type of copy you’re writing. Sales letters need to finish with a strong call to action. At its simplest, this could be something that restates why the client needs to be interested in what you’re selling, and why they need to do something about it.
Just to prove how important the ending is, a sales letter will often have a second ending or PS. It’s one last chance to grab the attention with a quick tidbit – one more lure for your reader.
Press releases buck the trend by leaving the least important bits till last. They’re top-heavy structures where all the essential info is crammed into the opening paragraph and then filtered through the body of the document in descending order of importance. By the time you get to the end, you should be in the region of interesting-but-not-essential information.
When the copy has to stop
Don’t be afraid of stopping when you’ve said everything that needs to be said. Provided you’ve done your job right, the point when the copy stops is the point your clients will really start to think about everything you’ve said…