28 December 2008

be as good as your words

Have you ever noticed that bad copywriters rely too much on alliteration when talking about themselves? It seemed that way when I was looking through about 70 CVs earlier this year. Three Ps - powerful, punchy and persuasive - kept coming up. It didn't feel very surprising the first time I saw those adjectives strung together. And by the third or fourth time it was downright boring. This is the kind of thing I was referring to when I mentioned writing to be interesting versus writing to persuade. Too much brand communication simply sets out to convince or charm you - to sell, that is - and it's usually pretty boring. To stand out, as a brand or as a writer, I'd say you have to stand for something bigger. You have to be able to be interesting. You have to give the reader/viewer/listener something they can engage with. You've got to care how you make them feel. (Yes it's obvious, but it's rarely achieved.) In the craft of writing you've got to have your bag of tricks, but always use them in service of an idea. Great writing lives and breathes the idea - even if that means leaving your tricks, including the plosive alliterations and other such devices at home. After all, in a communications world which is increasingly about bringing brand values to life through real-life experiences and digital toys, words have never mattered more. They help to provide the right signposts and emotional touchpoints, frame the experience and reinforce the brand connection, so they have a powerful part to play. Add to this the fact that people also consume each other's lives as content now through their preferred social media. Your competition for attention is a thousand times stronger than any other sales message. The acid test for a successful campaign is now probably, "Would I post this on my profile page?" So "how interested am I?" becomes much more important than "how persuaded am I?" Just remember that in order to be interesting you have to respect the people you're talking (or writing) to. You have to want to share the idea. Anyone who knows me understands I'm really bad at coming to the point when I care about something. So, finally, I suppose what I'm really trying to say is that the best copywriting - the most interesting copywriting - feels invisible. It doesn't really feel like copywriting at all. (Pic courtesy of this person and that person.)

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1 Comments:

At 12/29/2008 03:08:00 am , Blogger Rish said...

'Good writing should feel invisible' - as a manifesto of sorts, that's brilliant.Be

 

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