Copywriting is a big responsibility. If it doesn’t scare you sometimes, then you probably haven’t truly grasped the magnitude of the client’s expectations. In summary, you are expected to use a magical combination of selected words to engage and compel your audience (who you have never met don’t forget) to take the action you desire.
To do this, all you have is your flair for writing, charming wit, copy tools and of course your ever-changing personality. Speaking of personality, it is difficult to have just the one personality when you are constantly assuming characters to connect with different types of audiences.
One moment, you are crafting adventure-tone copy for passionate travellers, the next you are writing an insurance case-study for a client’s customers. Or you might end up writing about incorporating a business for a business expert. Sometimes, you will find yourself creating aspirational content for luxury magazines. There is no way to keep up with these demands without developing a chameleon-esque personality.
At some point, multiple personality situation sets in, but in a good way. Think of it as your defence mechanism for success. If you are a career copywriter, you might recognise the following personalities in your behaviour:
The all-knowing sensei
If you are a huge fan of martial arts movies, you will be familiar with this character. The all-knowing sensei is never-hurried. He or she takes their time imparting knowledge to the pupil, while guiding them along the path to their awaiting destiny.
When writing “How-to” guides, whether for a product or lifestyle, the copywriter becomes an all-knowing sensei. Every word or completed sentence takes your audience from a state of unknown to a place of enlightenment. Patience is a key virtue for every writer with this personality.
The curious cat
Writers are curious people, so it is only natural for this personality to surface every now and then. You want to know why things are the way they are so that you can share it with others. To produce good content, a lot of research is involved. If your browser history doesn’t scare the secret service, you probably aren’t researching enough.
James Cummings, CEO of Daily Posts Copywriting says, “Before creating original content, it is important to gather sufficient information. Asking the right questions comes with the territory.”
As the target audience learns more from you, they will regard subsequent pieces with more credibility. It is imperative as a copywriter that you keep your curiosity strong.
The daredevil adventurer
For some people, thrill-seeking is a way of life. That rush of adrenaline surging through the blood is enough to get the day going. Before writing articles on destination trips such as bungee-jumping from the Macau Tower in China, or cycling along the massifs of Tour du Mont Blanc in France, assuming a daredevil persona is a necessity.
If you want to connect with real adventurers, the only way to do so is to become one yourself. Find out their interests and describe them in glorious detail. A successful copywriter is never confined to their comfort zone. Like the daredevil, they are always ready to take on new topics, no matter how daunting it may seem.
The undeterred salesman
Have you ever met a salesperson who was so good that you couldn’t help buying what they were selling? According to David Ogilvy, a copywriter must be a good salesman to write compelling copy. In his famous copywriting tips, he says: “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”
When writing product descriptions or advertising copy, your content should have all the information the potential buyer seeks. It should also answer their objections; what concerns do they have? How does the product offer a solution? By pre-empting these questions and answering them convincingly, you are only a few lines away from getting them to convert.
The nit-picking obsessor
It is hard to be a writer and not obsess about the little things, especially if you are also an editor. The little mistakes can feel like needle pricks to your ears. A missed comma here or a typo there; common issues that may seem negligible, but not to the nit-picking obsessor -or how else can we ensure high-quality content?
People are quick to discredit any content that is laden with errors. It doesn’t portray professionalism and it distracts readers from the real message. In addition, Google demotes SEO rankings of poor quality content. A persona with a grammar OCD is every copywriter’s secret weapon.
Writing may be considered an art, but in the age of SEO and PPC, copywriters are the new geeks. Understanding the percentage of traffic that responds to your content and analysing conversion rates are key aspects of the craft itself. Big data is extremely important, because without it, copywriters are mere wordsmiths – and we are a lot more than that.
This personality is geeked about the latest analytical tools, measuring growth, which keywords are spiking traffic and so on. You can’t take your copywriting seriously if there is no effective way to evaluate its success. Every copywriter who is interested in satisfying their clients must be a data nerd. For it is only when we know what works that we can get better.
Humans are biologically wired to respond to stories. Our sensory cortex immediately lights up to a descriptive story. Similarly, our motor cortex reacts actively to a motion story. Knowing this, copywriters love to engage their audiences by telling stories. We automatically channel the novelist within us.
From brand storytelling to advertising concepting, this creative personality is key to helping brands connect with their audiences. Even in a simple blog post, you can detect elements of a story; characters, time, place, conflicts and resolutions. The ability to create heroes and villains, weave in crucibles and arcs, while selling a message or promoting a cause, is a talent truly successful copywriters possess.
There are over a dozen more personalities you can find in copywriters. At the risk of sounding like a braggart, we writers do pack a punch. It’s not easy to jet from humorous subject one minute to a professional piece the next. It is merely a sign of our numerous multiple personalities. Some people refer to it as wearing different thinking hats, but I like to see it as a sort of MPD – a valuable occupational necessity.