Granted, this is not advice you're about to hear every day when you embark on a postcard mailing. But it is, in my experience, some of the most valuable experience around.
I adapted this very clever idea from a journalism professor I had in college who had worked for The New York Times. I figured if it was good enough for him (as well as The New York Times), it was definitely good enough for me.
The idea is simple. The premise rests on the fact that most of us know what we want to say. And we can say it, but we don't always say this in the proper order.
To implement the jigsaw method of copywriting, you start by simply writing your copy. Write why your customers should use your service, what benefits they'll receive and provide them with an offer they simply can't refuse. Follow the standard formula of AIDA. Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.
Additionally, be sure to put in some subheads. When you believe you've written your copy - and the reasons why your readers should actually become your customers, then print this piece of paper out.
Now take a pair of scissors and cut the document into "paragraph size" pieces. Make sure that each piece you cut contains one - and only one - paragraph on it. (This assumes that you've been writing in short bursts of paragraphs all along!)
Now read through these again. And now that these are separate pieces of paper, decide if you want to keep these paragraphs in the same order. You may decide that you've mentioned your offer to early in your letter. Take that paragraph and others dealing with the offer and place them behind others.
The idea is to put these paragraphs into an order from first to last that will create a complete postcard mailing for yourself. Once you have every paragraph and subhead in its proper order, rearrange them on your original document in the computer.
No, you're not quite done yet. Your next step is to re-read this copy again. Decide if you need to create any transitional sentences to make the copy flow better. You may even decide you need to rewrite a sentence or a whole paragraph. You may even decide you need to punch it up some with more action-oriented verbs. A few more well placed exclamation points. Even a couple of interjections that create excitement.
Go ahead. Make all the revisions you need to. If after that you think your copy would benefit from another printout and another round of jigsaw puzzle working, then by all means do so. Before you know it, you've painlessly and nearly effortlessly, created an effective postcard mailing.
What at one time appeared to be an overwhelming task and simply out of your grasp is now tamed and brought under control.
Don't you wish everything worked like that?