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Copywriters And Cab Drivers - Articles Surfing
Are you a cab driver?
You know the image. The cab driver gets hired by the next passenger in line. He isn't concerned with where the passenger is going. He doesn't say 'Well I don't want to go there.' He takes the next passenger in line and collects his fare.
Do you care who hires you? Should you care? It's a hotly debated question. As a copywriter, should you be concerned with what you are asked to write about? Is it your business if the product is something you don't agree with? (or aren't enthusiastic about?) Or are you just there to be hired by the next person who comes along?
As far as I am concerned, there are two sides to the question. On the one hand, if I have moral principles, there will be some whose money I don't want to take. Porn products, for one thing. Or a product for which it is quite obvious that dishonest claims are being made. But that is a decision for the individual copywriter.
On the other hand, if I as a copywriter will only deal with stuff I am genuinely enthusiastic about, I am likely to have a thin time! Especially in the early stages. Of course, when you are well established and have made a name for yourself, you may have so many requests for your services that you have the luxury of being able to pick and choose! But most copywriters have to take what they can get, at least to start with.
Of course it's easy to produce lyrical language about Caribbean cruises or Ferrari cars. But what about damp-proofing products, building supplies or industrial cleaning products? I had to create brochures and sales materials about all of these in my early days as a copywriter.
In many cases, not only could I not summon up any interest in the product, but I didn't even know the first thing about it!
But let me tell you this. It doesn't matter how little interest you have in the product. Or how little you know about it. It is YOUR JOB as a copywriter to do the best job you can for the person who is hiring you. It is YOUR JOB to be enthusiastic! And not only to be enthusiastic but to infect your readers with your enthusiasm!
So how do you do this?
Well, that is the skill of copywriting. And until you can do this, you*re not a copywriter. Your most powerful weapon is IMAGINATION. If you haven't got any, forget copywriting and get a job in Wal-mart. But I am sure you have!
First you ask yourself what will make your readers want to buy the product. Well, it's the answer to the question:
- What's in it for ME?* And the answer to this question lies in BENEFITS.
So first of all you research the product, and write down a list of its features. Then you use your IMAGINATION and consider: What would this feature do for ME? Never mind if you personally would have no reason to use the product. As a copywriter you must put yourself in the potential BUYER'S shoes.
- Suppose it's a "solvent-based Aluminum Stearate developed for use in creating a damp-proof course*. You think: a dry cosy home for my family; making sure my family are safe, secure and protected"
- Suppose it's a decking system, described as a "modular form made of expanded polystyrene and used to construct pre-cast concrete floors and roofs*. You think: protection for my family against natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes; effective noise reduction, so a quiet life for myself and my family" and so on.
You get the picture. The most pedestrian features, with a bit of IMAGINATION, can be translated into benefits which will sell the product to its target prospects.
It doesn't matter if YOU'RE not enthusiastic about the product. Somebody, somewhere, will be, if you do your job. That's what the client hires a copywriter for. So yes, you ARE a cab driver. You take your clients' money and take them where they want to go.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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