The Copywriter’s Job Is…

Often client’s I work with misunderstand what it is a copywriter should do for them.
Many of them believe we are like mystical creative creatures, able to “whip” up some clever phrase or killer headline for them in a matter of minutes. The conversation might go like this:

Client: Hey man, I’m so glad we finally got to connect. Can you help me with a headline for my whiz bang product?

Copywriter: Sure, why don’t you send me over some details on what it is, what it does, who benefits from it and what the price point is.

Client: Well it’s pretty simple actually. It’s a 1 hour DVD that teaches people how to make money on the internet. I sell it for $29.

Copywriter: Can you send me a copy?

Client: Well sure, but I really need this done today. Can’t you just knock something out without seeing it?

Copywriter: (Silently to himself – oh brother, I got another one.) Mr. Client. Would you marry a girl sight unseen if I told you she promised to be a good wife, or would you want to see a picture of her, know how she was raised, what her habits are and what you might be getting yourself into with such a commitment? It’s the same with writing killer copy for your whiz bang DVD…

strong>The Copywriters Job

Depending on the kind of copywriter you are, there are certain things that separate you from earning a few bucks an hour to earning hundreds, even thousands per hour. If you want to read a bunch of books on using headlines and bullets and hypnotic or NLP writing and a dozen other “technique” based approaches…you may or may not end up producing winning copy.

My belief is, as a copywriter, my charge is:

1. Be the best listener on the planet.

I must listen to what the market is saying. Eugene Schwartz used to get into a taxi and start interrogating the cab driver, because that’s one good way to tap into what the market is saying. Watch the top 10 box office movies. Even if you don’t like it, watch anyway because that is what the market is thinking and feeling. When you do that, you end up writing copy that directly targets their minds.

2. Don’t “create”- first of all, understand the product to the core and combine the details in new ways.

Get your mind into and around the product or service. You must get to know it the same way you would a potential mate. (Don’t get weird on me here). The point is, how the hell are you going to describe the emotionally critical aspects of a product or a service you do NOT know? You can’t. You don’t have to create anything new, but you do need to uncover and extract all its existing gold and combine them in new ways to present it to your target audience.

3. Tap into existing demand – never sell.

Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we can write words that create desire. Well, we do and we must…BUT…you do not create desire for a product or service, you take an existing demand in the market, and you direct that into your product or service. So for example, for a market that is into staying young, you don’t create a desire to stay youthful, or to get physically more fit, or to speak with more youthful expressions. You tap into what the market already wants and direct it back. Then, your chance of success is a lot higher.

4. Think about what your product “does”, not “is”- and demonstrate it.

You must talk about the physical benefits, and really talk up the emotional benefits. Features are what the product has. In my above example a couple features might be. This course is 60 minutes of Hollywood quality High Definition video instruction on DVD. The features should take a back seat to the benefits. Benefits would be; ” This DVD will show you through exciting and humorous stories and simple, step-by-step instruction, how to turn your internet connection into your own personal ATM. Imagine how you’ll feel every time you log in to your Paypal account and see hundreds of dollars of sales! You’ll be able to puff your chest out, knowing that you have discovered a way to bring in as much money as you want even while you sleep.”

So…in the end, the true job of a marketing copywriter is to uncover and communicate all the beautiful benefits that already exist in a product or service, (many times these are hidden even to the client) and then communicate them in a way (this is where your technique comes in) that will make it irresistible to the prospect. That’s my belief and it’s how I work.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? I welcome your feedback and any examples you wish to share.
Blessings and all the best,
AJP




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