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Tip #9: Launch Your Idea. Don’t Detail It.

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We all repackage our stories for the best effect

Writing copy can be disorienting—especially for English majors. Rather than grading on how they develop an argument and how well they follow particular usage rules, they are graded on how well their copy meets a marketing need. They are graded on how well their creativity pulls in the target audience—and how quickly. Each exercise and assignment becomes more about the big idea and the execution of the idea rather telling all the detail in an orderly fashion.

Copywriting_01It can be disorienting because we might have mistakenly thought copy was just emotional marketing hype, the (nearly invisible) stuff that abides in much of our current messaging (“clutter,” you might say). Copywriters just toss any word in an ad, like “new” or “organic” or “protein” to get people to buy in, right?

But copywriting is more like a lab where you boil down the raw material to get an essence. Then you adjust the pheromones in that essence to get the behavior you want in the audience you seek.

Wait—that sounds manipulative.

If it is, it is a common trait and practice shared by all humans. We’re all packaging and repackaging our stories in real time. We constantly change-up our experience and knowledge and opinions as we deliver them to friends and family, prospective mates, acquaintances and strangers. It’s not a purposeful misleading, it’s just that the human condition is constantly changing and we see things differently at any given point. And we all want to be heard, so we change how we say things.

Mind you—orderly telling is still critical for copywriting. But audiences don’t make time for essays (sadly). And developing an argument is still critically important—it’s all just very, very fast.

The key is getting—and holding—attention.


Eight other copywriting tips for English majors here.



Image credit: Dumb sketch by Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

April 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

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