Tags: business writing, client, communication, copwriter, copywrite, copywriter, copywriting, corporate branding, edit, marketing, prosperity, sales, sales copy, selling, write, writer, writing
On the topic of ZING-based copywriting, we’ve long been at odds.
It’s time to analyse the sticking place.
In the blue corner is me. I believe the message is everything. As I used to tell my Copy School students:
If you have a message that’s true, interesting and relevant to your audience, you can write it on a piece of toilet paper and nail it to a tree in the forest. Someone will find it and, if they’re not interested, pass it on to those who are.
In the red corner is Winston. He believes every message needs plenty of ZING and is adamant I should use phrases like:
Copywriting that’s so powerful, it sucks people’s eyeballs into the screen.
Words so compelling, they leap off the page and bite you on the bum.
Here’s his rationale:
I firmly believe the product or service must deliver on the promises made for it. Then, providing it does, that’s when you really sock it to them in language that sucks the eyeballs into the screen, etc.
It’s our job to really get the prospect excited, enthused and busting to buy. Remember, you sell the sizzle not the steak!
I have dreadful problems with sizzle. Yet Winston’s speaking, coaching and publishing empire is many times greater than I could hope to achieve.
What to do?
Ad agencies advise: ‘If you’ve got nothing to say, sing!’ In other words, if the product you’re flogging lacks merit, put all your resources into showmanship.
I totally get this with soft drink or chocolate. But what about corporate copywriting?
Because I believe I have something to say, I feel that singing is unnecessary (at best) and harmful to my brand (at worst). Surely my clear, correct, elegant copy is the singing equivalent of verbose, inaccurate, dreary copy.
Am I not singing already? Is not the steak more important than the sizzle?
There’s just one problem: most people who visit my shop don’t buy my ebook.
Winston took one look at my landing page and pronounced it ‘flat’. He’s certain that unless I ZING, my register won’t ring.
Should I stop being precious and get with the program? Or should I screw my courage to the sticking place and hold fast in defence of quiet, measured, reasonable copy?
How about you? Are you a speaker or a ZINGer?
If you changed tack, how would your audience react?
Your response would be music to our
Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.
Tags: brain storming, brand, branding, business writing, copywriting, corporate branding, marketing, name, naming, shotgun approach, writing
When naming a company, course or other corporate thing, there’s a risk your choice may be a little ‘dry’.
You don’t want to put your audience to sleep.
On the other hand, you can’t be so ‘way out’ that you damage your brand.
A good solution is to have a creative title with a ‘sensible’ subtitle (or vice versa).
This two-pronged approach usually satisfies most audience members.
I used it this morning, with an article on leadership.
My title, Learning Leadership, was dry but functional.
My subtitle, How to Get Support from Above, Around & Below, added meaning and context and was a bit more ‘with it’.
When trying to come up with name options, the blank page can be very daunting. So I use what I call the ‘shotgun’ approach.
I define this in the intro I write for lists of names I prepare for clients:
This list comprises a broad spectrum of serious suggestions, potential thought starters and light-hearted ideas. By casting the net as wide as possible, I hope to either catch a winning idea or produce one in the mind of another.
Recombine components for more permutations. If you can’t decide between several suitable names, run them past a trusted group of people from the audience/s you wish to reach. Their feedback should guide you to a single choice.
This approach can take a while, but it invariably produces an ideal result.
If you’re stuck for a name, think of mine!
Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.