Maslen on Marketing

How to write authentic copy

For every project, there’s often an Ah hah! moment in the briefing process when I just “get it”. For the lovely people at Blueprint Partners – a channel marketing agency I’m writing a website for – it was when their head of digital produced her favourite book from childhood to illustrate their qualities: The Velveteen Rabbit.

What’s your key word?

For another client, it came when a magazine editor described her readers as “suburban”. Another, when they described their magazine as being all about driving, rather than cars.

Is there a key word or concept that just nails your company, its products or its ethos? Find it and it can take your copy to a whole new level of authenticity and engagingness. Uncovering it is fun too because you have to talk to people.

Do you have an über-benefit?

And while you’re about it, how about finding an über-benefit. You do know what an über-benefit is don’t you? ( I know you do really.) Like this example…

In the business information industry, where I started my career, the usual approach is to batter on about your data and analysis being “accurate, detailed and up-to-date”. Trouble is, it’s a statement of the bleeding obvious. Would you be anything else? “Buy our research – it’s off target, vague and out of date.” (Plus, everybody says it.)

Far better to imagine what your clients might want to help them sleep better at night and talk about that. Maybe explaining that your research would help them deliver presentations so compelling, audience members would weep openly (though not, we hope, for the usual reason).

How to write more engagingly

There’s something, I think, about the writing process itself that, for many copywriters, stifles their natural inquisitiveness. They fall back on well-worn phrases and descriptions of features. Here’s a tip.

Don’t write your copy: say it. Get a digital recorder (your mobile phone probably has one built in) and talk about what makes your product special. Then type it up.

It’ll need some polishing for grammar and stuff but you will almost certainly have said something compelling that turns your product from just another thing to buy into a life-saver. Or at the very least, a problem solver or pleasure enhancer (no sniggering at the back please).

And I’m telling you this because?

If you’re going to sell, you have to be able to bring your products to life. Finding a creative springboard will help you leap higher into your reader’s consciousness.

A single word that defines whatever it is that’s special about you … a big, sparkly benefit nobody else in your industry talks about … a spoken appeal to your reader’s wallet: any one of them could do it.

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