Personifying Your Content: Humans Talking To Humans
Consider these examples:
Act booking agency:
Content/business writing: Established in 1986, CLB Talent is a booking agency for A-List Bands, Celebrities and Comedians for Concerts, Private Parties and Corporate Events. Over 900 events have used our services since the company was founded, and a high level of professionalism is guaranteed.
Copywriting: We have booked a-list bands, celebrities and comedians for hundreds of events over the years to make your event a memorable one. Go on, impress your guests.
Or, even better: Leaving people star-struck since 1986.
Egg yolk separator kitchen tool:
Content/business writing: This innovative and stylish kitchen tool separates egg yolks from whites with ease. This is a quicker, cleaner and easier alternative to the traditional method and involves less mess, less broken yolks and less floating shell. Most importantly, this tool ensures no more damaged eggs and waste.
Copywriting: No yolks were harmed in the making of this meringue.
I think our examples speak for themselves. Notice how the copywriting examples focus on what people can benefit from their product or service? That’s because people only seek to invest in a product or service if they’re going to get something out of it. It’s basic psychology.
A good copywriter writes content as if they have tried and tested the product themselves, and as if they really know what the product stands for. And what the product stands for is, essentially, the benefits it can bring to a potential consumer. Or so it should be.
The content writing example for the egg yolk separator may describe the benefits, however it’s not concise in the slightest. The copywriting example puts the main benefit at the forefront of the readers mind, and quickly.
So sell the product/service and it’s features like you’re writing to show people what they will benefit from it. Don’t merely describe it.
Effective copywriting does more than that. It doesn’t just tell, it shows and tells.
That is why it is critical to inject personality into your copy. It’s obvious that there’s a person who created it to show you the product, not a marketing droid.
Content writing may contain keywords for SEO purposes, but it often reads in a way that none of us talk like.
The examples above also demonstrate the power of active voice. Copywriters use pronouns such as ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘you’ to keep the content conversational, and they favour contractions (‘it’s’ versus ‘it is’). The reader will automatically feel a sense of common ground with the writer, with that common ground being that both parties are human.
These are just two of the many grammar and language techniques copywriters are not afraid to use, which are otherwise frowned upon in standard English. But standard English does not make excellent content. Without going all linguist on you, can we really blame them when it’s what is drummed into us at school?
And yes, standard English (I’m talking the English even the Queen isn’t posh/non-human enough to use in her spoken language) does have it’s place. But that’s not for here.
So, writers of business content only take on humdrum, robotic language when they:
a) Don’t have a good style guide in place, or at all
b) Don’t carry their brand values through their writing
c) Think standard English is the way to go