‘Choose me, you English words.’
There’s a major difference between being a ‘good’ writer and a copywriter…
We know the terms: ‘he writes well.’ she’s a good writer; ‘that was well written.’
What do they mean?
An impressive use of language: encompassing fine words, melodious words, the right words in the right place and some unusual words you’ll need to look up…
All used with authority and clarity: the writer knows what to say and how to express it in a clear and understandable way.
Easy to read: logical, flowing and carries you along.
Critical Eng Lit pieces or essays are about expression: putting assessments and ideas over in the most felicitious ways and using … well, those lovely English words.
Now I hear you say: ‘isn’t all writing in English about those words?’ Well, obviously…
But copywriting – which boils down to telling a story about a product or service – is far more than a series of words forming sentences, paragraphs, chapters…
It’s a means of capturing and transforming life so it becomes memorable, informative and educational – and, in the best cases, deepens the level of wisdom.
You can read a piece of ‘fine’ writing and admire it, but nothing changes in you apart from the feeling that it read well or that it was beautiful.
And beauty is just – itself: a landscape, a flower, or an image of a woman.
The story or copy on the other hand has a purpose: to create change in the mind.
To take you from point A where you are up to the point B where you have the mental and cognitive equipment to make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed.
In other words, it’s a call to action.
And to make a purchase with regard to the goods or services on offer.
How many words should one use? The great ad man, David Ogilvy was commissioned to introduce a new Rolls-Royce. Perhaps not exactly an impulse buy, so in his very wordy ad he keeps us reading by listing 13 features: from the technical features of the engine to the luxurious picnic table that swings out.
It’s all about context. When you have less space or need to grab instant attention, a few words – ‘sale starts Friday’ – may suffice.
A copywriter has one overarching job: to get you to buy the product or hire the service…
Without the words getting in the way.
ps: Edward Thomas was a poet, so found it reasonable to ask the words to choose him.
The rest of us have to do the choosing!
pps: In his famous ad, Ogilvy came up with the brilliant headline:
‘At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.’
Yep, you remember it already!