Me vs you

in Back to basics

One of the biggest secrets of successful copywriting is to put your reader, not you, first. Yet talking about ourselves when writing marketing materials is one of the easiest traps to fall into.

The wise and wonderful Drayton Bird (Big Cheese in copywriting) describes the cause of the problem like this.

He points out that when we are children, our parents hang off our every word and tell us how fascinating and wonderful we are. When we grow up we rapidly realise that it is only our parents who feel that way about us and adapt accordingly.

Yet when we pick up a pen to write a piece of marketing, he says, we return to that state of blissful ignorance. We spend our words telling our reader all about us and how great we are, confident our readers will be captivated by what we have to say.

But think about it for a moment. It isn’t true.

When it comes to marketing and advertising, we are only concerned about how the person whose words we are reading can help us.

Let’s take an example. How would you respond if you received a letter that started like this?

I’m a freelance copywriter with over 15 years’ experience.

I’d wager you’d think: “Oh,” and quickly turn to the next item on your To Do list.

So how would you respond to the start of this letter?

Would you like your marketing to be more successful?

I’d suggest you’d be more interested, more likely to read on and more likely to get in touch. Of course, I’d still need to follow it up with my services and credentials, but I’ve told you straightaway the biggest reason why you should work with me and you’ve got an incentive to read on and find out more.

That’s the difference between “me” marketing and “you” marketing.

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