Why Great Copy is a Conversation, Not a Soliloquy

Why Great Copy is a Conversation, Not a Soliloquy

Reader Comments (31)

  1. Additional tip: Count the number of times you use the word “you” in your copy – If you’re saying “I” more than “you,” then you’re probably that guy.

  2. Wow, Dan. You’ve got great timing, I was just working on my website!

    Between you and Anna (who I recently featured over at About Freelancing), The Hired Pens must be on FIRE:)

  3. This reminds me of the saying “People don’t want to buy drill bits. They want to buy holes.” Focusing on the outcome is the way to go, every time.

    (Gee, you were really selling that knife, weren’t you? Slitting your own throat to get out of a conversation is pretty rough, but if it can be done ‘quickly’ and ‘easily’? Sold!)

  4. I think I met “that guy” at a wedding last week. On a more serious note Dan makes some great points. Every company could benefit from putting the needs of their customers first. Companies are great at touting features but fail miserably when it comes to communicating how those features will benefit users. A great copywriter once told me, “Great copy is about them, not you.” So simple, so right!

  5. Since the copy is to be used to communicate with the prospective buyer, we are communicating with the buyer which begs the question of conversation vs soliloquy. Communication like conversation is a two way street.

  6. Thanks for reminding us to keep a sharp focus on customer perspective.

    I especially liked when you pointed to the reality behind effective markting: our customers don’t always care about what matters to us.

    So it’s up to us to target our message around what matters to them.


  7. I recently applied some of the copywriting techniques I learned here to writing a killer ‘apartment for rent’ ad on CraigsList. It was so different from the usual ad that I couldn’t keep up with the calls and emails. I found a great tenant in only two days! One caller left a message saying, “You’re right. Those are the reasons why I want to live there.” It was amazing the responses that I got.

  8. The point of this article goes beyond copywriting. It stretches to all avenues of marketing. Whether it’s blogging, writing an apartment ad like Steve did, or selling a guitar in a guitar store . . . you have to show your customers the benefits of what you are selling (or saying) and not simply the features. They are human. So speak to them in terms they can relate to.

    Who buys a hot tub because an ad mentions it features 30 jets? What they are really buying is the benefit of those 30 jets; the way those 30 jets make them feel after they have messaged their body. So tell them about it!

    Keep in mind to always point out benefits to your buyers. So many Realtors miss this point when they advertise a house. Sell the sizzle, not the steak!

    Good article, Dan.

  9. EMPATHY – is something that one has naturally.

    Not everyone has the capacity to see the other person’s perspective.

    Some are completely self absorbed and will always be that way, regardless of how they are tutored.

    Their brains just are not wired to think outside of their focus.

  10. To do this well, you really have to know the “you” you’re talking to. If you don’t have any knowledge about your audience, it will be really hard to supply them with the answer they are looking for.

  11. Good tips, Dan. This is a nice reminder for those of us who are in-house copywriters. Unlike freelancers, we tend to be very close to the product(s), so it’s sometimes harder to remember that we’re supposed to be providing value and benefit to the audience, not just the company (after all, if the audience can see no benefit, they won’t become a paying customer).

  12. Piggybacking on commenter #1, Jon, try to stay away from the (self-serving) pronouns “I” and “me” as much as you can in your marketing copy.

    If you must refer to yourself, use the more collective “our” because it’s so much more inclusive than the self-serving “me, me, me.”

    Yuwanda Black

  13. Excellent points. I — I mean “you” — I mean “we” — should always try to get ourselves in the habit of divorcing ourselves from the product before we begin writing about it. Nice Web site, too. Best read of my day, easily.

  14. Your article describes networking events and why I loathe them. The ones that do the talking are never the ones that start the conversation.

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