Peter Fadeyev, a writer with a corporate background, sent me some copy to look at the other day.
He’s experienced at writing but not necessarily at copywriting.
So his copy, although well-written, was not yet good copy.
This is what I told him…
You write well but you rely on that too much.
You put words together nicely – they sound like copy is expected to sound.
But you won’t be an effective copywriter until you discover how to do more than that and become a communicator and persuader.
You’ve got to write with the same part of you that would talk a friend into watching your favorite show on Netflix. Or talk a policeman out of giving you a speeding ticket.
Not the part that wrote book reports and term papers and corporate memos.
It’s cliché but there’s no better advice than to write what you would actually SAY to someone in person.
Instead of shifting into “writer mode.”
Show that there’s a person behind the words – not an impersonal machine turning letters into words and words into sentences.
Find a way that works for you to do this.
You might picture someone you care about and write to them.
Or sit quietly and get in touch with that part of yourself that genuinely cares about helping the prospect – whether they buy or not.
See how writers you admire do that.
Copy their best writing over and over. Memorize the best parts. Try to recreate it yourself from just an outline. Do this until what they do gets into your DNA.
To test your copy, read it out loud.
Does it sound like what you would say to someone face-to-face?
Or is it artificial and maybe even makes you cringe a little when spoken aloud as if to another – as if to someone you care about.
Keep working on it until it sounds natural.
It’s not easy.
Because “writing” instead of really communicating is a difficult habit to break.
But it can be done with persistence.
And the benefits of being able to do so are many – from greater fulfillment to the satisfaction of greater response and the rewards that come with it.
It seemed to help him. He’s in the process, he says, of revising his copy so it more “resembles one half of a memorable two-way conversation.”
That’s a great way to look at it.
Comment below if this is helpful to you as well.
P.S. Of course, that conversation needs to be fueled by ideas.
Big ideas. Smart ideas. Compelling ideas.
And here’s an idea for coming up with plenty great ideas quickly and easily…
Hi David, this is spectacular advice. Conversational copy is always more effective than writing like a robot. I found this piece to be insightful and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing.