If we’re the same as everyone else (because of our tribe mentality) it’s impossible to stand out. But stand out we must.
We think of ourselves as copywriters because that’s the label that’s been chosen for our profession. But just like any other profession, whilst it’s true we do what it says on the tin (write copy) what we really do is motivate.
We’re in the motivation business. If we can’t motivate our audience to buy our clients’ stuff (or even our own stuff), then we fail.
If we were a supermarket trolley, we’d know exactly where our customers hang out, and we’d also know what they’d expect to see when they get there (us), the trouble is, there are 100 competing supermarket trolleys to choose from.
So how do we motivate prospects to pick us from a crowd of similar offerings?
Here are two ways:
1) Choose a different audience. To see how hard that is, if you were a supermarket trolley, where else would you hang out? (HINT: there is nowhere else).
2) Choose to be a different type of trolley. What other types of supermarket trolley are there?
We know what trolleys do (convenient place to store our shopping without feeling overwhelmed, and transport it from the supermarket to our car).
Maybe we could redesign ourselves as the trolley that comes with us WHEREVER we choose to shop (not just supermarkets). A trolley we could buy instead of borrow?
And we could also redesign ourselves as the ‘cold or frozen food trolley’. A real specialty with a definite market, solving a definite problem.
Now we know how to stand out (redesign the trolley not the market), we can think about motivation. “There’s only one kind of supermarket trolley that keeps your food frozen from shop to freezer. No more stuck together refrozen peas. No more etc. etc. And spread out over a year, this will cost you less than a few pennies per shop (that’s cheaper than the plastic bags you currently pay for.). And it’s yours to keep. No more wonky wheels or sticky handles.”.
Think about what type of copywriter you could be, then figure out how that would motivate people to choose you.
PS. As copywriters, we can choose any market, and if you want to be successful, you should consider that and pick one specific market (maybe you could become the Supermarket Copy King? – don’t, it sounds naff, but you know what I mean). Once chosen, you may well find competition, so now you can apply your motivation piece and stand out.
PPS. A whole book could be written on this one topic. But hopefully, this short piece will inspire you to think a little different.
I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to Accountz.com which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which showcases copywriting and copywriters to the world.
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