When someone decides to pay money in return for a product or service, it’s a serious thing.
Good copy should respect that.
I was sat in a meeting recently when a sales letter I had written was brought up on the screen. Though I naturally recognized it as mine, the people I was meeting with did not.
Rather than point out that I’d written it, I thought I’d wait to see the reaction it got without the bias of them knowing I’d written it.
It was strong copy, both in the sense that it was reasonably aggressive and it was a major success (generating huge revenue in a very short time) and I could see that though the copy was not what the chaps I was meeting were used to, they were taken by it.
I never revealed I’d written it – I had no interest in bragging – and instead moved on with our discussion. What I found interesting, though, was the fact that even with with my copy up there on the screen and knowing the people in the meeting were not fans of the style…
I was still proud of it.
You see, despite the copy being aggressive in a marketing sense, it was respectful to the reader who might potentially choose to purchase the product based on the sales letter I had written.
Later that same day, I received a biz-opp promotion for an online mentor scheme.
As well as the copy being bad, it was embarrassing.
Instead of focusing on the benefits of the service or choosing to explore an interesting element in more depth, it ‘hammed up’ the opportunity using a strange cowboy theme that, as far as I could tell, was utterly irrelevant.
I thought back to the meeting I’d had earlier in the day…
I tried to imagine how the copywriter of this particular promotion would have felt in the same position?
Would he or she have been proud of the copy…?
Would they think this copy was respectful to someone who might make a buying decision…?
Would they be able to justify it to a cynical reader?
In all honesty, I don’t think they would’ve been able to.
Taken out of context, the copy was undeniably embarrassing. And it was embarrassing because it did not respect the reader. In fact, it mocked the reader and undermined the service it was actually meant to be selling.
So, when it comes to reviewing your own copy, imagine a situation where what you’ve written is presented before a group of cynics and you’re not allowed to say anything to explain in anyway.
Would you be embarrassed…?
Or would the copy defend itself? Would it stand up to scrutiny?
If you think it could hold its own… even if it is aggressive in the way it’s delivered… good stuff, you’re doing well.
But if you have ANY doubt… if you think it might cause you to blush… and if you would think twice about claiming authorship…
Well, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and it’s time to start showing your readers some respect. Your copy will be better for doing so.