Do you ever wonder why so many ads, web pages and emails sound the same? And why is it that some copywriters get their content to sound so much better?
Is there a secret copywriting conspiracy going on? Do they know something we don’t know?
Yes, they do.
And I’ll tell you what it is… right after I tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, I wasn’t on the inside.
I began my copywriting career in PR. I wrote press releases for the music industry, which was pretty cool. But, I was never initiated into the uber-secret-mad-men-esque clique known as “agency copywriters”.
I didn’t get the secret memos. Or the decoder ring.
Sure, I could tell the difference between average copy and stellar copy, but I didn’t really see what that difference was.
And as I began writing more and more website copy, I became frustrated and fascinated by this one missing piece of the puzzle. What was the secret I wasn’t seeing?
I needed a clue – fast.
It wasn’t that my copywriting was poor or anything. I had clients, I received recommendations, and my business grew.
I was doing something right.
Then I met a copywriter who had worked in agencies for his entire career. One sunny afternoon over coffee, we talked about the biz and I said something about how when my clients wrote their own copy, it was all self-focused and myopic.
He replied that, in his experience, clients write self-focused copy because it’s very difficult for most people to write from another person’s point of view.
And that’s when the secret was revealed to me.
Most website copy seems like same-old advertising because do-it-yourself businesses are trying to write website copy that sounds like advertising.
And of course, most businesses are also comfortable simply writing about what they know best: themselves.
What separates the average from the great is copywriting perspective, because great copy focuses only on the prospect’s problems, and then it shows those prospects how the product or service solves that problem.
Delving deeper into perspective
My instincts were right, I just didn’t know why.
I could see that most businesses write about themselves: “We do this; we make these; our products solve these issues,” but now I knew the secret ingredient.
Brands that stand out and knock their competition to the ground are the ones who write about their customers: their challenges, their needs.
Have you seen website copy like this before?
Business123 offers our customers the top solution to distribution problems. By combining our knowledge and expertise in supply chain management, we have created a platform solution that gets results.
Yep. You’ve read something like it before because that’s the default website copy for most businesses.
Now here’s the same company speaking to their customers’ perspective:
When your margins keep continuously eroding while you search for new suppliers and spend time managing a growing global distribution network, you need a solution. Fast.
Can you see the difference perspective makes? Rather than telling the prospect all about themselves (which is boring at dinner parties, so why do it in advertising?), the business shows the prospect that they understand what’s happening.
This then infers that they have the solution.
Try copywriting perspective for yourself.
The next time you find yourself writing copy that isn’t quite clicking, take a look at its perspective.
Is it self-referential? Could it speak to a prospect or customer about their problems instead?
Ask questions. Get their attention. Show them you know what’s going on inside their company, that you know where the pain is.
Then show them how you can take the pain away.