Impersonation, Knowledge & Mudslinging.
No matter who we’re writing to, we’re always selling the same thing: Response. Persuading people to actually say “Yeah, I want that, here’s my money” is hard as hell, but it’s a little easier if we take the right first steps. (Isn’t everything?)
Be the audience:
Amazing but true. In a lot of agencies, copywriters have no idea who they’re writing to.1 Nobody tells them. Years ago, David Ogilvy, or his brother – I forget which – wrote a direct mail letter in Greek and sent it to headmasters of British schools. Huge success because he knew who his target audience was and he became one of them.
If you don’t know your audience, you can’t get into their skin and if you can’t get into their skin, you’ll find persuading them is unnecessarily difficult. “Being the audience” will give you a non-fake personality, a tone and an attitude your readers can relate to. You’ll be halfway home before you even start.
1 Copywriters would almost never write “… to whom they’re writing.”
Know your stuff:
There is no substitute for knowing what you’re talking about. You’re supposed to get the info you need in what’s called a Creative Brief. Once upon a time, briefs were crammed with information. Now they’re not. Instead, they’re filled with corporate gobbledygook and cover-your-ass generalities. Read the brief anyway, if you’re lucky enough to get one, and take notes. Then ask as many questions as you can get away with, do some research on your own and write your own damned brief. Read the rest of this entry »