I’m reading a very thought-provoking book at the moment. ‘Can I change your mind?’ by Lindsay Camp dissects the art of persuasive writing. It focuses on getting your audience right and the rewards associated with making every single word count. As Lindsay shrewdly points out, “Bad writers worry about whether the reader will understand them. Good ones are more concerned about how well they understand the reader.”
These days, the modern reader has better things to do than read copy. They will also never read from start to finish, preferring to skim the text, flicking over pictures and scouring the content till something jumps out at them. And as Lindsay recognises, they repeatedly ask the question “How long will it take me to extract what I want from this text, and will I get enough from it to justify the time it takes?”
Once talking directly to your audience, good advertising copy will write like it’s speaking directly to you; and only you. “Reading is a solitary activity. It happens inside your head. When you read something I’ve written, you are in fact allowing me to join you there”, Lindsay says.
The aim then, is to strike up conversation with your reader, just as you would in a crowded bar or on a train. But in this case, you make absolutely sure what you say is engaging, exciting and down right spine-tingling.
The challenge for Copywriters is simple. To make writing for a reader you’ve never met as similar as possible to one you know really well. And that, quite simply, is why I love it.