Remember your journey to your desk this morning?
Whether you took 3 steps across the landing like me, or spent an hour crawling through traffic…do you recall that vital moment, when you turned into someone else?
When you morphed, Kafka-style, into a whole different being?
Well, maybe you didn’t change at all?
Wow! Imagine that.
Maybe “you at work” is the same you as “you at home”!
Who’d have thought it?
Well, not this numpty I spoke to on Monday, that’s for sure. Because he believes we all change the moment we pass through the office door.
Like we leave our real selves in the car park, and switch to some alter ego.
See, he called me to ask about copy. And that old chestnut – tone of voice – reared its ‘orrible head.
“We sell to industry, so the copy needs to be written in business language.”
“Er, no it doesn’t.”
“It does. Because that’s who we are in B2B.”
“Okay, so this chat we’re having now…that’s B2B. And we’re talking like regular Joes. But what? That doesn’t count?”
“No because in writing – ”
“In writing, every test shows your copy should be conversational.”
“Yes, but I think – ”
Why do I keep having this same conversation? Wasting my finite time on earth, making the same point over and over?”
When I go to the dentist, I don’t tell them how to fix my teeth.
When I had my appendix out, I didn’t say “Best keep me awake so I can show you what’s what!”
Why? Because they know their stuff. They’ve studied long and hard. So they don’t need opinions from someone who’s frankly unqualified.
Look, if you’ve read my book Do You Talk Like That at Home?, you already know my take on this.
(Well, it’s not “my take” – it’s every copywriter’s take. In fact, it’s a proven fact!)
WRITE LIKE YOU TALK!
Every time. No exceptions.
Because the people you sell to are just people, at the end of the day. Whether they’re behind a big desk wearing a sharp suit, or sat at home in their sweat pants picking their nose…they’re human beings.
Yes, at work they might stick in the odd buzzword, or even lapse into corporate lingo now and then.
But that’s artificial – it’s not their “native” language.
If you want their hearts and minds, talk to them in their home voice.
Anyway – I banished this guy. It could have been a sizeable job, but he’d have driven me mad.
Even if I was desperate for cash, it was a non-starter. I’d sooner hang round the docks, with a placard that says “Stick anything you like up my rectum – 20p a go”.
The lesson: please don’t think of hiring me – or any copywriter worth their salt – unless you’re willing to talk to your customers as human beings.
Oh yeah. And if you want to write in a simple chatty style, have a squint at Do You Talk Like That At Home?
Go on, it’s lovely.
Footnote: If you have morphed into some other being, please consult your GP. Or an exorcist.
Or a vet, if you’re…I don’t know…a goat or something.