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The One Element I Use in All Copywriting

Bernbach copywriting quoteIt’s like William Bernbach said: The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.

There are some brands I just won’t write for. Companies that sell magical women’s beauty products, alternative medicines and natural remedies come in at the top of my list, along with life coaches and other self-professed “gurus.”

(Good God, can we be done with that word, please?)

My reluctance to take on these kinds of clients has less to do with whether or not I think your product or service is potentially profitable and more to do with whether or not I can make absolutely true statements when writing your copy. If I anticipate having to use weasel words as a writing crutch, I will decline to take you on as a client.

Not only do I have very strong opinions about brands that prey on human insecurities by selling overnight creams and no-exercise-required weight loss pills with half-truths, I also value my own time. It’s downright exhausting to sell questionable products without resorting to worn out clichés like:

  • But wait! There’s more!
  • For the cost of a cup of coffee
  • Order right now, and…
  • Are you tired of…?
  • A fraction of the cost…

Luckily for me, there are still millions of brands out there that don’t need to stretch the truth to make a sale. For gigs like these, the challenge is in writing the perfect message for the target audience, not in trying to legitimize a dubious business. And that’s a challenge I’m always eager to accept.

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3 Responses so far.

  1. Paula Hendrickson says:

    Several years ago, I was hired to write copy for a company that sold baked goods to hospitals, schools, and other institutions. The truth was important to them, too, apparently, since they didn’t want me to say their products were delicious, nutritious, or particularly appetizing. Talk about a challenge! We focused on words like affordable, convenient, and shelf-stable. Not my favorite job.

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