I’m so very old that when our student radio station visited Radio 1, Simon Mayo was in the studio… and what I learned that day has been useful in my copywriting ever since.
Like any good broadcaster, Simon talks to you as if you’re the only one listening – and likewise, B2B copywriting is at its most persuasive and engaging when you’re addressing an audience of one… and the more clearly you can picture that person, the more effective your copy will be.
This short video, taken from a presentation in Cornwall in 2015, covers that exact topic.
Here’s what I say in the video (more or less):
Many years ago when I was involved in student radio, we had a trip to Radio 1, to see the breakfast show. And I’ll show you how old I am: Simon Mayo was presenting it at the time.
Now, Simon Mayo had in that studio a picture up in front of him of… a person. I can’t even remember who it was that it was – his aunt, his kids, or somebody – but one person.
And the reason is this: a bad radio DJ will call you “folks”. I’m not folks, I’m listening in the car on my own! I’m not part of a crowd, I’m just me. A good broadcaster realizes that people are listening to the radio on their own.
And it’s the same thing with copywriting. Don’t write for a crowd, because people do not read as part of a crowd. You know, you read things that say “Some of you think this…” What? Some of me? There’s only one of me. (Thankfully.)
So have one person, and write to that person.
It makes your writing much more direct. Anything that you write – even for brands – is, 99% of the time, a communication from one person, or a company, to one person at the point that it’s read. So write it as such.
If it helps you to print out a picture and have a picture at your desk and write to that person, then great. Because then, when you’re writing, you’re persuasive: you’re convincing that person.
Better still, be really specific about who that person is.
If you know who your typical customer is — how old they are, what they like, what else is competing for their attention when they read the thing that you’re writing to them, because the kids are running around their legs, and the dog’s just knocked over a bowl of cornflakes or whatever — if you have that, hold them in your mind and write to that person, you’re going to be more persuasive.
(You don’t even have to say “I know the dog’s just knocked over the cornflakes” because that would just be really weird. Especially if you were right.)
But have that in mind, so you’re writing in a way that will persuade one person… and, if possible, the right person.
Want more copywriting tips?
Check out the next video, and find out why you should only have one message per piece of content.
(Or watch the full Kung Fu Copywriting playlist here.)