With the shenanigans in U.S. politics playing out right now, I can’t help but see the comparison between politics and copywriting.
No, I’m not talking about the age old politics of getting and keeping clients, I’m talking about something a lot more serious. Integrity.
As a professional writer, I’ve had clients from every end of the spectrum. Those who had integrity and those who don’t. Some believe that the end justifies the means. Some believe that any kind of self-promotion is somehow immoral and demeaning.
One of the things I’ve seen play out many times is the eventual demise of those who will say anything, promise anything, leverage anything in order to get the sale. This has nothing to do with making powerful arguments and making strong claims and appealing to emotion. It has everything to do with being able to confidently stand behind what you say because you know it’s true and because you are fully committed to that truth.
When writing copy, it’s very easy to get carried away and make statements that paint the picture just a tad larger than life. The risk is that pretty soon, as an individual, you begin to develop a callousness toward others. You inherently distrust what others say, judging their words by your own standards.
That’s why I’ve made it a rule to promote only those products and services which I can wholeheartedly endorse. If I am not actually a user, I try to be sure that if I were in the market for that item, the one I’m promoting would be my first choice.
I’ve found that this has the effect of allowing a natural enthusiasm to emerge in writing about it. I can discuss, describe and promote it from the user’s point of view, addressing the typical user’s concerns rather than simply pedaling corporate rhetoric.
Readers sense the difference. That’s why testimonials are so effective when they’re sincere. It’s user to user and is perceived as being ‘real’ as opposed to copy obviously crafted by a hired writer. Sincerity shines through.
My advice to other writers is to take a lesson from politics. How much respect do you have for most politicians six to twelve months after they’ve been elected into office? And why is that?
Remember, the provider of the product or service you’re promoting wants the user to vote for them more than just once…