Several years ago I had an ongoing writing gig for the local newspaper. It sponsored a special real estate section in the Sunday edition that featured a number of available properties. My job was to visit those properties and write up a review that appeared in the paper with my byline. The byline was nice, the pay was pathetic. And I quickly learned that I was out of place in this assignment. How? The editor told me I wrote too much like a copywriter. She meant it as a criticism. I took it as a compliment. On one particular assignment, the realtor of the property I reviewed called the editor to get my telephone number and then called to personally thank me for my write up. After the article appeared in the paper he had been overwhelmed by the response of interested buyers. My editor did not share his enthusiasm. She felt the article lacked the objective, journalistic voice she wanted. In short, it was too persuasive. I kindly pointed out that the whole idea behind the real estate section was to sell homes and I was supporting this effort. While she agreed in principle, she admitted her own sense of obligation to journalistic objectivity. I thanked her for the honest feedback and after a few more assignments, we parted ways. I would never make a good journalist. My whole mindset was geared toward writing persuasively. And my obligation was to the customer. That is exactly why you hire a copywriter. First we’re a very loyal bunch—as long as you’re paying us. And we don’t just write good copy. We write persuasive copy that convinces your audience to think and move in a certain direction. Ultimately, it usually involves parting with their money. Many people are good writers. Follow a logical thought process…uphold correct rules of grammar…check your spelling and punctuation…and you’ll communicate clearly and effectively. Persuasive writing, on the other hand, is more like an art form. It combines psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects. It suggests problems and offers solutions. Sometimes subtle. Sometimes driving and forceful. But always keeping the customer’s name front and foremost. And every copywriter has his/her own, unique style. Although you’ll know when that art is having a real effect. You’ll see the positive results on your bottom line.
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