Pass the cheese please…

Last week I spent a very enjoyable day working with two very well-known and widely respected B2B editors. We were looking at the copywriting tasks they have to fulfil, and the associated skills they need. As seasoned journalists they are clearly excellent at written communication, but of course writing that is focused purely on persuasion is a different art form, so they sensibly wanted to develop their techniques in this area.

An issue that arose, and always tends to in these sessions, is the need to avoid “cheesy lines”. We all feel uncomfortable when we see something that sounds like a cliché, and of course it can reflect badly on the writer or the brand.

I made the point, as I always do, that is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.

We just need to accept that “tone of voice” is usually the most important element in branded communication, especially when promoting a commodity, or a brand that differs only slightly from its nearest competitor. In these circumstances, the quality of the dialogue, and our readers’ emotive reaction to our “brand voice” will typically dictate their response, and therefore the subsequent measurable results.

So let’s look at a simple example, using the Call to Action:

VERSION A:   “There are only a few days until the deadline, so book today to ensure your place!”

VERSION B:    “Your competitor is also considering this opportunity. Do you really want them to gain all these benefits?

…or an email Subject Line:

VERSION A:     ” Limited offer for our NEW product XX launch!”

VERSION B:      ” Your new Product XX is here, waiting for you.”

These are just off-the-top-of-my-head examples, and fairly poor at that, but I hope they make the point.

Focus on the outcome you want, and that will help shape the message you use. Then look at the words you can use to make it immediate, relevant, and, hopefully, compelling.

This isn’t really about creativity. It’s about focus, clarity, and encouraging a new habit, or writing routine. And of course positive change like this can have huge accumulative effects on your business.

So it’s your choice. Book one of our copywriting workshops, or carry on as before, and let your competitors in before you!

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