“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Thomas Mann
In my last post, I talked about personifying brands to help you write in their tone of voice. People seemed to like that. So, let me give a few more examples to set you on your way.
As a young trainee, I was called Susan. I wrote about makeup and lingerie for a major retailer. A real baptism of fire. Susan was excitable! She loved exclamation marks! Not as much as chocolate though! And definitely not as much as David Ginola’s legs! I didn’t create that particular monster, but I had to be her. *Shudder*.
I also wrote for a big, red, soft-drinks company. My real-life client was the perfect ‘person’ in this case. Let’s call him Steve. A real thirst for knowledge. An effervescent personality. Full of energy. A classic. Really refreshing. (For them it was all about vocabulary).
Then there was the bank I referred to last time as being Mr Obama. No matter what the subject, he had just a few words. It was his way. Because we believe. That only a few. Are chosen. For a reason. (The grammar wasn’t that bad, I’m exaggerating).
I was once Mel, a female prison officer, trying to persuade other women to work in Prison. I wrote a piece about a kids’ party in prison. It was wonderful and hellish as the children had to go home at the end. The work was rewarded with a D&AD.
My favourite was writing for my then boss. I knew his vocabulary, tone and humour better than he did. A cheeky, frantic northerner, I found his voice easy to slip into, so I could really concentrate on the content. Probably why the MD of an ad agency won a ‘best written’ award a couple of years ago.
And that’s the key to writing well for a client. You have to get to know them like a friend of 10 years – normally in the space of a few hours.
Most people can write. Some write well. Some are funny, charming and brilliant. They have a vivid style. They often write quickly, and they often write lots. They find it easy. And they are probably not copywriters.
You shouldn’t spot a copywriter’s own tone in their client work. They should spend a long time writing a short piece. It should be a slow and painful process (for them, not you). Good copywriters should be in the background, helping other people articulate themselves in their own voice and get noticed. Not trying to get that fame for themselves.
Having said that, if you want to tell a friend about this blog, feel free.