“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
These words resonated with me 30 years ago when I first read Harper Lee’s inspiring – incomparable – novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Walking in someone else’s ‘skin’ isn’t easy – but, as a life lesson, has infinite rewards. It’s journeyed with me through challenging personal times and inspired every page of copy written…
What do I mean though? Just how important is it to imagine your readers and speak to them?
Finding your voice
Sadly, too much web copy is self-indulgent. Often littered with business information or accolades, the simple – most powerful – messages are lost.
For copy to mean something, you have to distance yourself from your business, and then craft copy that really connects with people.
Occasionally, whilst ambling online, I uncover inspiring words that truly touch me. Words that give the business and the people behind it real presence. A quiet dignity even…
I like that. And remember the business. Mostly because I felt something…
Yet finding the courage to write web copy with a distinct voice can be tricky – often resulting in clipped sales pitches.
To be ‘heard’ you must engage with people first. To engage, you have to get under their skin. Walk in their shoes. And show you understand their side of the fence.
To do that, you need to connect emotionally. Not with romanticised or gushing copy – but with words that stir emotions. After all, people buy with their emotions, and then justify their purchase with logic.
Satisfy emotional needs, you’ll sell more. Try focusing on benefits rather than mere features. Check out an earlier post ‘How to write website copy bursting with benefits’ for how to do this. Before you do…
If emotional copy is such a winner, why is so much online copy crammed with jargon? Especially since words embody everything you stand for.
Writing with heart and soul
Some businesses resist simpler copy, choosing to cling onto corporate language. Perhaps they think elaborate sentences make them look more professional?
Or because others standardise their writing, it’s almost expected? Words can be a comfort zone. By following a ‘typical’ style, individuality is lost.
Fortunately, the majority of clients I work with are only too pleased to entrust their business words to me. A responsibility I don’t take lightly.
Rather than just glancing over the brief, writing copy and winging it back in minutes, I invest myself in it. I imagine their customers, think about their lives, and consider what they really want. All this before writing a word…
And often, I discover all sorts of hidden gems that clients hadn’t thought of. Fresh eyes and a different perspective can be priceless…
Before you launch your website or keep Google well-fed with new copy, think carefully about what your words actually say to people. You may be surprised… And if having trouble finding your voice, get in touch.
What’s your opinion of this? What sort of web copy has the most impact on you?