When I was younger we used to go to the States for a holiday and mum and dad would buy us comics which we still have somewhere at my folks house that we refuse to let them throw out.
I used to devour those comics. They seemed so much more exciting to me as a British kid to the comics I was used to reading. They were more colourful, more flamboyant and the kids in the stories didn’t wear school uniform – madness!
But I was really captivated by the adverts in the back
Yes I wanted X-ray specs, Sea Monkeys, itching powder, mind-reading tools, spy devices and just about everything on offer.
The only reason my interest in these products was aroused, was because the style of the adverts imitated the actual comics so closely. I remember full-page Twinkie adverts that were as just as fun for me to read as the Archie storyline.
So what does this teach you about copywriting other than I’m a bit of a comic geek?
Well I want you to think about how you can imitate the style of content that your customers WANT to read.
The first step is to figure out what your customer likes… So are they…
People Who Love Newspapers?
I recently had a client who wanted help writing a direct sales piece to CEOs in health organisations so we adopted an editorial style to the copy. Something that:
- Told them something “newsworthy” about their industry
- Drew upon research and quoted recognisable bodies
- Used an newspaper headline style
If your clients WANT to read newspapers, then copy the style of a front page article. How does it introduce the story, how does it back up claims, what kind of headline does it use? Even better is if you know what kind of newspaper your target market reads so you can adopt a closer style to the content they enjoy consuming.
People Who Love Magazines?
If your ideal customer prefers magazine then you have a more visual, short and punchy style to try and emulate. This crowd are pulled in by:
- Strong visuals
- Captions to images
- Snappy headlines that are a bit more pumped up than the editorial ones
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Strong appeal to topics which might be slightly racy or controversial
The magazine crowd looks for a quick fix, they’re looking for bite sized information that they can chew on in seconds so you have to fight to keep their attention. That doesn’t mean you can’t write long copy, (check out this post on my advice for sales page length) but you have to punch it up and give it that rapid page-flipping feel. Again, if you can familiarise yourself with any specific magazine they tend to read – even better!
People Who Love Blogs And Social Media?
If you thought you had to be snappy and punchy for the magazine crowd, get ready for the Social Media guys and gals whose days whizz by in a stream of Tweets and blog post updates.
But you need to know what kind of blogs they read, who they follow in social media. Do they love Internet marketing? Then they’re used to the “pitch ’em hard” sales pages and won’t flinch if you do the same. If your crowd read about blogging tips and business building in the “tribes” fashion then this style of page might bounce out of their interest like batteries on a fire (note…don’t ever throw batteries on a fire…dad, that’s for you).
People Who Love Adverts?
Ummm, you are probably not writing for this crowd… Unless you work in advertising, your regular consumer probably doesn’t love adverts.
The main thing is to make your promotional copy something that people would WANT to read. You can have a sales page that is informative and newsworthy and interesting. It doesn’t have to feel like a pushy salesman, and will probably convert better if it doesn’t scream “I’m an advert, give me your money.”
Have a think – what does your audience enjoy reading? What do you love to read? Are there any adverts that have stood out to you because they were funny, informative or entertaining? Let me know in the comments!
Barry Wheeler says
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say people are becoming more aware of what’s happening. That’s what’s led to the success of social media. The power is given back to the consumer.
If you’re not “keeping it real”, you’ll lose everytime!
The sharing of information at high speed means companies have to be more consumer-focused when it comes to their advertising because people have so much choice on the information and products that they consume. Previously, your choices were a little limited so it was often a case of who shouts loudest. The playing field has levelled a little which makes new advertising apporaches really interesting 🙂
Interesting article. I’d also like to add that there is a growing “keep it real” group in the market. These people are allergic to marketing fluff, and they just want you to give it to them straight.
Absolutely, people are becoming more aware and have an increased intolerance to they hype and chatter of certain sales and advertorial styles.
Plus, with us all being so dang busy all the time, having people just give it to you straight saves a lot of time! THanks for your comment Marcus.
Fred @ SoloBizCoach.com says
Wow. Great article Amy. I never really thought about copywriting from this angle, but you are right. Put your content in the form that you audience is most likely to read.
Hey Fred! I see a lot of people get hung up on having to write “sales copy” thinking it has to sound completely different to the content they usaully give to their audience, but if you can tap into what people want to read and wrap your sales message in that, the battle’s half won! 🙂