Getting into character
Beggars can't be choosers when it comes to writing advertising copy.
But it's a content writer's job to generate translatable excitement, or at least interest, regardless of what the products are.
I recently wrote a ton of advertising copy for e-retailers across all sectors, and I mean all.
Imagine writing 350 enthusiastic words on; State of Origin signed shirts,EGT turbo boost gauges, padded bed headboards, industrial pressure washers and chemical camping toilets. All in a days work.
But after 30 or so advertorials like this, I discovered a strange anomaly. I actually write better ads for products I know little to nothing about.
For some reason I struggled to come up with compelling copy for familiar products I knew inside out.
It seems I'm a slave to facts and having a lot of them means I struggle to be minimalist.
I want to keep the baby and the bathwater, the soap, the towels, tap-ware, rubber duckies...you get the picture.
When I'm looking at something unfamiliar, I flip my WIFM switch. Suddenly I'm an uniformed consumer and I want to know -
What's In It For Me?
For many unfamiliar products,selling a dream that is not necessarily my own involves getting into character.
Being paid to enthuse about signed rugby memorabilia for example. I am someone who sees the difference between Rugby and say AFL as sleeves versus sleeveless and that presents obvious challenges.
A little light research can help. Whether it's a technical search or an online user forum - Google is my go-to for getting into the right head-space.
Reading a Rugby State of Origin Fan Forum followed by a few bangs of my head on the desk and some guttural hoorahs, suddenly my fingers fly across the keyboard.
Features versus benefits
A lot of advertisers offer bullet point lists of product features, but true consumer connection that generates the CTA response you want, is in the benefits. You need to ask, how would these product features fit with the consumer's lifestyle? How will they matter to them? (And yes, you may have to pick and choose from the features list.)
This is where you need to paint an emotional picture, showing empathy and highlighting how this product or service will likely fill a special need.
The take-away of this is; sell it to yourself.
Look at what you're writing about, research the benefits,feel the love and convince yourself.
Then imagine telling a close friend about it, quickly, in the last few moments of a phone call;"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, there's this amazing [thing]I found that would be perfect for you..."
You'll be quick, concise, genuine and your enthusiasm will translate.
As an end note, I found that most products I wrote advertorial for, I considered buying myself.
Except the EGT gauges (my car doesn't have a diesel engine), and of course signed state of origin anything.