My writing career really got started when I wrote classified ads for my father’s real estate business. Since we tracked the response, each and every ad I wrote gave me tremendous, real-word feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
I’m not alone in discovering that the most important word in effective advertising or copywriting is the word you, referring to the potential client. At the same time I also learned that when working with clients I had to be much more interested in what they were saying than it what I wanted to say.
It turns out that writing copy for others and writing copy to promote yourself as a writer isn’t that much different. In fact, remembering that it’s about the client works in sales conversations as well.
When a person reads an ad, they don’t want to know about the company or the product; they are interested in how what’s being offered will make their lives better. Sure, they want to be reasonable sure the company or person making the offer can and will perform, but that’s part of the same goal. The potential client or customer is really thinking only of themselves – period.
Think about ads for products we don’t really need – the effective ones show us how XYZ will make us better, smarter, sexier, thinner, etc. In other words, they identify a problem and show how the product solves that. In fact many ads make us think we’ve got a problem we weren’t aware of before and then offer a solution.
People who hire writers have a problem – talk about how you can solve their problem and you’ll probably get hired.
Think about the difference between say, I am a great writer and will write for you at $x per word, and, You need articles that will draw high ranking in search engines. I know how to do that.
Or how about the differences between My company specializes in sales letters. We have x years of experience and many satisfied customers and Sales letters that both sound like you and get response are exactly what you’re looking for. Let me show you how I can do that for you and your company.
Do you see what I mean? It’s so easy when writing copy to talk to much about the company or the product or ourselves as wonderful writers. After all, we know about that. But it doesn’t make the sale.
While the potential writing client does want to know you can do the job, they evaluate that in terms of themselves. If they sense you’ve really heard what they say they want, they will be interested in you as a person who can meet their needs. If you listen deeply enough to hear not just what they think they want but what they really need and address that, you’re almost certain to get hired.
That means you’ve simply got to address the client in their own terms.
One way, maybe the best way, to get in the frame of mind to write copy addressing the client’s need is to really understand that you’re offering a service. You’re there to help. Sure you need to get paid and deserve it, and you need to set rates, invoice promptly and all the other business things that need to be done.
It turns out that an attitude of being of service works well with being in business.
How to you know you’re of service?