This blog is an oldie but a goody. Sally Ormond takes a look at the world of copywriting and why we could all learn a thing or two from Kirstie Allsopp.
If you’re looking for a new home, there’s no one better than Kirstie Allsopp to help you find it.
As a fan of Location, Location, Location,I enjoy tuning in to watch Kirstie and Phil Spencer attempt to find the perfect homes for two couples.
The word ‘attempt’ is used because, week after week, the couples they help sorely tempt their patience.
Just in case you haven’t seen the programme (why on earth not?), Phil and Kirstie are each allocated a couple that, for various reasons, have been unsuccessful in their hunt for a new home.
At the outset, each presenter is faced with the couple’s “wish list” – i.e. ideal location, size and type of property etc. Pretty much every week they run into the same issue – their budget is incompatible with what they’re looking for. But, undeterred, the couples are determined to get everything on their list.
Now and then they’ll get people they can’t help because they’re not prepared to look beyond their self-imposed blinkers, but those that are prepared to compromise usually come up trumps.
What does all of this have to do with copywriting?
Well, it’s a lot like the early stages of web copy (in fact all types of marketing content, but web copy is the biggest culprit).
Web copy beyond the blinkers
More often than not, when working with clients, they have a fairly set view on how they want their web copy.
It must be:
- Written to make them sound impressive
- Centred on the business
Nothing wrong with that?
Hmm, there’s plenty wrong with it.
This is where my inner Kirstie comes out.
When faced with a wish list like that one, it’s my job to explain how web copy should work.
It should always be written for the person who’s going to read it – that means your customers.
Because it should be written for your customers, it must be relevant to them, outlining how your product or service is going to benefit them.
To do that it must be written in plain, simple language. It doesn’t matter if your target audience has doctorates or GCSEs; the language must be straightforward and instantly accessible. No big words, no complex sentences and no jargon.
The most important thing is that your website does what it’s supposed to do – draw in visitors and convert them into customers.
If a client is willing to look beyond their preconceptions (which I would hope they would be willing to do otherwise what was the point in hiring a professional writer?) the results is a website that works like a dream.
If they are adamant that, despite all the years’ experience I have, they are right, and I am wrong, I can’t help them because it would be very unprofessional to write what they want knowing it won’t work.
Kirstie and Phil are property experts who understand their market and what it takes to find the ‘as near as humanly possible’ ideal home.
A copywriter understands marketing and, although not an expert in your business, knows how to write to draw people in and persuade them that yours is the company with which they should be dealing.
So next time you engage a writer for a project, listen to what they have to say and try not to impose any of your preconceived ideas on them. Trust in their judgement about what will work.