attracts, enhances and creates desire, but copy sells and that
brings us to several basic concepts of getting ready for
too many managers are mostly concerned with how their products look
and will look, what colors will be used and how beautiful their
catalog will be, often treating copy and the copywriter's role as
secondary, often providing unreasonable deadlines for writers who
want to do a proper selling job.
should accept the fact that the copywriter should be involved in
every aspect of catalog creation, development and production, from
initial product selection meetings to final blueprints and color
It is the copywriter's job
to thoroughly study the audience and the product line before
promoting the specific items in the catalog. That study includes:
EVALUATION & ANALYSIS.
Simply put, you cannot write selling copy unless you know who
you're writing to.
The writer must understand why each product (or service) has
been selected for this issue of this catalog, and he should have
a voice in suggesting changes in product selection, especially
if he feels that including certain products can destroy an
overall "feel" of value and uniqueness for the
catalog. He should also know why each product "fits"
in the line being promoted. This often leads him to suggest
additional items which can be profitable.
A writer approaches lists of customers differently than
prospects, and he tackles different prospect lists differently.
It is important to management to make all audience facts known
to the writer at the outset. If he must write one version to
both customers and prospects, he must be attuned to this.
Give all products to the writer and let him play with them, and
with all accessories. Also give him supportive literature and
documentation on how the product was developed or manufactured.
Allow time for your writer to "get the feel" of each
item and to "feel good" about each item. He'll write
better than if you simply give him a photo of your super widget.
Your writer should be able to test your products and see how
they are used by the very people he'll write to. The same
applies to selling services in a catalog -- let your writer go
with your service people to a few actual jobs...let him examine
your service contracts and policies...let him go on sales calls,
gauge customer and prospect reactions, learn new benefits about
what you promote.
Before and during writing, the serious writer (and you wouldn't
retain writers who weren't serious) must be able to question
YOU, your engineers, producers, marketers, customers and sales
people. Deny this opportunity at your own peril.
The good copywriter doesn't just start writing. He thinks,
sometimes for a long time before turning on his typing machine.
His copy will flow beautifully and be more successful if he has
had a chance to structure it in his mind. For example: Liberty
Life Insurance gave me six weeks to think about promoting its
insurance policy. Everyone knows what an insurance policy is,
but because I had six weeks, I was able to restructure the offer
and create a more powerful promotion.
These seven points are
ideals and many times deadlines and other business considerations do
not allow a manager to exercise them all. But here's the proof:
years ago I was, frankly, scared about getting a computerized word
processor, fearing that my writing would be structured, restricted,
limited by the machine. Then I read what sci-fi guru Isaac Asimov
had to say about his machine. And, if he could use it, so could I.
So I bought, not one, but two of the same computers he recommended
in his articles and ads.
What was the convincer? The
manufacturer gave Asimov many moons to play around, before writing.
He tried it, invented on it, got frustrated with it, discovered what
it could do, and suddenly he was able to endorse it with the
ultimate in compelling copy.
I didn't accept what he
said because of who he was. Instead, I was motivated by the
believability and frank statements that came from his thinking time,
just as your prospects will be motivated by selling copy from a
writer who has had ample time to get his feet wet with your