Copy with a Kick

“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.” -David Ogilvy

So you’re on a first date, dressed to the nines, flowers in hand, waiting for that special someone at the corner bistro. You’re nervous, the two of you were set up by friends, and this will be your one chance at a first impression. What are you going to say? How are you going to keep her attention? Will you order the veal or the beef? A glass of the Bordeaux or the pinot? Which goes better with the beef? Will she even notice? All of these questions and only one date to answer them.

Writing copy is no different; it is a client’s first impression of your product. Where you make the bold decision to put your business out there and say, “Here I am. I think we could work… and here’s why.”

Connection in Clarity
There is a fine line between cleverness with your writing and failing to get across the benefit of your product. It can be easy to unintentionally shroud your value in a cloud of creative word play. However, effective copy not only catches the audience’s attention, it honestly connects with them. As the advertisement in a publication, be it a magazine, newspaper, etc. your words are the “un-invited guest.” The audience paid for the publication’s content, your business paid for the chance to be a part of it. Establishing a relationship with your market, to where your business conjures specific emotion, is critical. Yet this can only be done through authenticity and an accurate grasping of your company’s value to the consumer. You only have so many words and so much space to convey your benefit, so be creative, but be sure not to sacrifice clarity in the name of entertainment.

In order to foster attention, a “reward for the reader” can be offered i.e. the advantage of your company/product. According to Victor O. Schwab, this reward can be painted in either a positive or negative light. Copy radiating positivity concisely conveys the gain of your product. How the incorporation of what you are selling into the consumer’s life can pay dividends for them. Will your business provide security, or satisfy a desire in the clients day-to-day?

Contrary to popular belief, “negative” copy does not paint the competition in a bad light. Rather it advocates for your product’s ability to eliminate and/or reduce risk, stress, or monetary loss; eradicating a pest in the client’s life. Your product acts as an alleviating force in this case, taking on the worries of your consumers and doing away with them.

Study Up
There are a lot of fish in the market sea, each boasting a unique identity that dictates their actions. In order to ensure their attitudes and activity coincide with your business you must do your research. Copy that works is copy that resonates, for within it the reader makes a personal connection. This requires a study of your target market; a strong foundation of knowledge affords your brand a distinct plan and direction for each un-tapped client base. Your brand has a relationship with the marketplace, protecting that fragile dynamic between business and audience is critical. Striking copy is forged out of clear direction and the execution of a game plan based on the identity, desires, and buying habits of your consumers. The concept and body of an advertisement must be constructed on a case-by-case basis. An advertisement that finds success in a pop-culture magazine won’t necessarily hook a weekly sports update readership; those are two different environments, with two completely separate types of fish. The bait of your advertisement, and within that the advocated benefit of your business, will not translate.

Call to Action
So your copy caught the reader’s attention and now they’re carrying it with them. But in order for the words to truly have an impact your copy must call the audience to action. What is the end result of your campaign? What are you asking your audience to do? Imploring your target market to take real steps towards interaction with your business ensures the experience of your advertisement isn’t brushed aside with the turn of the page. The encouragement to “act” engages the viewership. More powerful than simple observation, the power of “doing” leaves the client with a distinct memory and idea of your business.

When the folks at Breed & Co., an Austin hardware staple, were looking for a revamped market presence, Screamer Co. was there to implement an advertising campaign with a “get-up and go” attitude. Founded more than 40 years previous, Breed and Co.’s brand was outdated and with that, their copywriting. At first, the Screamer team took the business through an intensive brand evaluation process, defining clearly and concisely the unique value of the hardware store. Hoping to expand their market into the younger generations, Breed and Co. was in need of a modern campaign which advocated for their “all-in-one” business model; Where every need and base of home life, from gardening, and decoration, to gifts for the parents, is covered at the “Breed.” But the process didn’t stop there, for soon enough the Screamer team found themselves in jeans instead of slacks, stocking shelves, and maintaining the store while engaging with loyal Breed & Co. customers, discovering what brought these individuals back time-after-time, and what they valued most about the hardware store.

By gaining an understanding of not only Breed’s brand, but also their client base, Screamer Co. was able to better devise a multi-faceted creative campaign consisting of both an online and print ad presence. Where headlines with a “hook” enticed prospective customers with imagery of Breed & Co.’s diverse and charismatic products.

Writing copy requires careful consideration, it is more than simply putting pen to paper and letting it fly. Only through a breakdown of your target audience and your brand’s benefit can you hope to develop creative work that stands out in the diverse marketplace. The difference is in your approach and your preparation. It’s an understanding that your writing can not only improve but become more insightful, concise, and significant in the process. If you’re looking to build up your writer’s muscle, while sharpening your study and knowledge of your target market, download the Writer’s Workout below.

Let’s hop into the “writer’s workout” and bust out a few sets to craft your copywriting muscles!

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