tel. 312.399.6342 johnmanningwriter@yahoo.com
Chicago skyline panorama

Targeted Copywriting for Inbound Marketing & Branding

Creativity – It’s not what you think!

Jay Chiat, one of the most creative men in advertising, used to say that creativity is more like ditch digging than nuclear physics.

Having studied theoretical physics in my youth, let me add that even nuclear physics is more like ditch digging than people think. And what do people think? That it’s a flash of inspiration that comes to those rare gifted individuals we call creative. Even they can’t control it. They just have to wait for it to happen.

Balderdash!  Creativity is the result of hard work and preparation. There’s a sensitivity that some people have developed that makes them more attuned to the right insights, but mostly it’s the result of hard work.

And lots of knowledge. Product knowledge, the result of intensive research. Knowledge of the target audience. Knowledge of sales and persuasion techniques. Knowledge of the competition.

You use this knowledge to craft the right appeal that gets people to act. Then you come up with the copy and art that close the deal and make the sale. That’s creative.

Strategy – Who needs it?

Sometimes people don’t seem to care where they’re going. Strategy is for those times when you do care where you’re going and what you want to achieve along the way.

Sometimes when you start talking about writing an ad or sales letter, the person you’re talking to, maybe even you yourself, will come up with an idea for a headline or visual. That’s non-strategic thinking.

Doing an ad without first considering the audience it’s directed to, the response you want that audience to take, and the best thing to say and show to get that response is guesswork at best. Your results would depend on blind luck.

But if you get the strategy right, even if the actual ad is not as good as it could be, your prospects for excellent outcomes are almost guaranteed. Every ad writer has seen good strategies work even when the ads themselves were lacking. We’ve also seen great ads fail because they were based on mistaken strategies.

Suppose you’re addressing the ad to the wrong audience.  How is it going to work? Suppose you craft a very clever ad using an appeal that no one cares about. Who will be moved to act?

Before we write a single word, we do our homework on the audience, our client’s objective, the product or service she’s selling, and the competition.  We write up a short strategy statement based on this research and judge our work against it. Then we do the marketing-based writing that brings in the results.

Substance in Copywriting – Where’s the Beef?

Some copywriters think all you need is puff and fluff. And some of their clients seem to like it that way. It’s easy to do. No research. No thought. Just sit down and write.

You’ve seen it many times. Copy that’s lean on facts but rich in puffery. We’re the best, the fastest, the biggest, the oldest, the leader in our field. We’re committed to excellence, etc. But sales aren’t made by reciting a litany of unsubstantiated claims. Only a total idiot would fall for this. And your customer isn’t an idiot. She’s your wife.

Why is your product better than the competition? Why is your customer service better the others, what are the specific reasons? Make a claim and then prove it factually, proving it emotionally would be even better. Good copywriters are nosy. They’re always sorting through the facts about the product and its users to find just the right hook to attract new customers.

When the case you make is lean and meaty, you’re on the way to making new customers.

idea light bulb