copywriting lessons from arguments

What an enormous fight can teach us about copywriting

“Cut the cr*p.”

I’m a peaceful soul, not one for an argument. In fact, I’d rather get off the bus and walk the next two stops than listen to people quarrelling. But I live in busy, buzzy, crowded London and that means I’m never far from people “kicking off”.

It occurs to me there’s some great copywriting advice in the average argument…

“What’s your point?”

Before you put fingers to keyboard, what is it you want to say? What’s your goal? Do you want to change your reader’s mind? Want them to buy something or request a demo or vote for something?

Be laser-focused and make sure all your copy supports your goal.

“Why is it always about you?”

This is the classic “features versus benefits” approach to writing. Your customers don’t care that you are “proud to announce the launch of Crumbley Ltd’s chocolate biscuit 3.0”. They care that they can now tuck into a meltingly soft and chewy choccy biscuit that’s guaranteed to survive tea dunking.

Always think about your audience and how you are going to make their lives easier and more pleasant.

“Leave it out.”

When you started writing, you had a clear goal in mind. As you flesh out your copy, keep revisiting that goal and leave out everything that doesn’t help move your readers towards it.

“Choose your words carefully…”

Be economical with your syllables. Skip anything you can imagine reading in a corporate memo and pick shorter versions of words. Far from dumbing down your message, it’ll create friendlier, more readable text

“Cut the cr*p.”

Keep it simple. Don’t use four words where one will do. Swap “fell rapidly and dramatically” for “crashed” and your readability soars.

Check “and” and “but” – maybe you can use separate sentences instead. “That” is often unnecessary and “of” might be cut with a change of word order.

“Where do we go from here?”

What is your call to action? What do you want people to do next? Make it clear what the next steps are and make it easy to take them.

Angry phrases often encourage us to be economical with our words, to get to the point quickly and to be clear about what we want the other person to do next.

When we’re angry, we don’t have the headspace to be verbose. We’re single-minded about our goals. There’s golden advice for the blank page, especially if we can stay calm…

And if you need help writing with clarity and purpose, get in touch.

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