Introducing Copywriting (for all us non-business people).
A few months ago, I had no idea what ‘copywriting’ was. Most people hear the word and think it has something to do with legal claims to original work and it looks like a ‘C’ with a circle around it.
Then you see it written down, and notice it’s “write”, not “right”. Huh? It makes sense, though. A copywriter is a person who writes copy…duh.
But what the heck is ‘copy’?
And, gloriously, this.
Isn’t that beautiful? Don’t you want, nay, NEED that stuff in your life now?
I found myself fascinated with it, for a very particular reason.
I’m a psychologist.
Just kidding…that’s just what my husband calls me when we’re having an argument and I’m trying to tell him what he thinks.
Nevertheless, I find myself doing that all the time, not just with my husband. I’m always trying to “figure someone out”, or get down to the fine print of someone’s personality and see what they’re really about. I look for hidden agendas lot…not necessarily a good habit. I also look for parts of myself.
And good copywriting, from everything I’ve learned about it, feeds that desire of mine. To see parts of myself in something. And guess what? That’s what you desire, too. Even if you don’t know it.
You’re not going to buy something if it doesn’t make you feel more like yourself, or the person you want to be. If it doesn’t align with your sense of self, then you have no use for it, and no matter how logical the argument, you won’t be for it.
Good copywriters have the challenge of embedding a mirror into everything they write.
Good copy makes your heart pulse to the rhythm of the words on the screen, and before you know it you are whipping out that credit card and wiping a bead of sweat off your brow.
And then what? Well, it depends. Sometimes, you get just what you wanted. Sometimes, you are left disappointed. Either way, the job of the copywriter is done. It’s up to the business to take if from there and deliver what they say they are going to deliver.
So what got me so interested in it? Well, the last few months of my journey to figure out what the hell I’m supposed to be doing in life have lead to a lot of new discoveries about doing business online (and I will explain more about why that’s the direction I’ve gone in another post), and I have found out something:
These online business people are good at copywriting. So good, in fact, that I’ve found myself drooling over many an online course or e-book or webinar description, going “Yes! Yes! That is ME!! I need that! It will solve all my problems!”
They’re that good because they have to be! Because there is no face-to-face interaction with you, the customer, they can’t flash those pearly whites or give you a secret wink. They have to use expertly crafted words to make the sale.
The craft is in the choice of words. The ones that will strike a chord with you emotionally, making the decision for you to buy. The best ones avoid clichés, grab you with some type of irresistible hook, and show you some glimpse of your own life.
So how do you dig through amazing, compelling copy to see through to the other side? How do you know that after you click ‘buy’, you’ll feel just as hot and bothered about the product as you did the copy to sell it?
Look for refreshingly unique copy. If it sounds like a sleazy sales pitch…then it probably is. Look for the copy that doesn’t have clichés, that uses tangible words to tell a specific story that you can picture yourself being a character in. Look for copy that makes you feel something.
Like the examples above! Couldn’t you see yourself walking the streets of Nantucket in that dress? Guys, don’t lie, you totally did too.
Good copywriting speaks to you emotionally, and gets you to make irrational decisions on what to buy. But contrary to what you might think, “irrational” doesn’t always mean it’s the wrong decision. It just means it was made based on the way you felt about it, without a rational analysis.
But how many times has your irrational side been right? How many times have you “gone with your gut”, despite the cost/benefit analysis that most definitely says you shouldn’t do it? How many times have you thanked your lucky stars that you took that chance?
It’s not just what we buy. The major forks in the road that we come to will change the course of our lives, depending on which part of you makes the decision. The heart or the head.
This is why copywriting is so fascinating to me. It appeals to that adventurous part of me that knows I only have one shot to make my time count, floating on this speck of insignificant dust in the vast universe.
I always want to be that person that takes the fork that lights a fire in my heart, not in my head.
It’s not gullible. It’s human. It’s spirited and spunky.
You’re only here once.
No, you’re not the girl on the cobblestone streets of Nantucket.
But you know what? Buy the damn dress anyway.
P.S. If you want to learn more about copywriting, go check out the work of the QUEEN of copywriting, my idol, my guru, my girl-crush Ash Ambirge at The Middle Finger Project and House of Moxie. She is the one responsible for everything I have learned about it, and has given me the courage and the knowledge to try my hand at freelance copywriting myself! I love love LOVE her!