There’s a distinct difference between writing headlines for advertising or marketing copy and writing titles for fiction. Here is that difference:
Writing headlines is an interesting, challenging process where I get to try different techniques
to craft an engaging line to elicit a specific response.
Writing titles sucks.
Oh, I know they’re both in my job description. As a freelance copywriter, I often write multiple headlines in a day. (Here’s an old post on what it is a copywriter really does, just in case you’ve forgotten.) And as a fiction writer, every piece I write needs a title.
So why the big difference? Read the rest of this entry »
I’m always reading and doing research for any number of projects, and occasionally something sticks with me that just continues to be fascinating.
This post is about one of those fascinating things … but prepare yourself.
The more you think about this one, the more interesting it gets.
You had such a great time with my last NGEP contest that I couldn’t in good conscience postpone this one another day.
(Yes. You did have lots of fun. Don’t argue with me.)
Last time, I pretty broadly asked you to recommend your favorite writers. I got everything from Richard Brautigan (whom I’ve since read) to Christopher McDougall (whom I’m reading right now) to Lev Grossman (whose The Magicians is sitting on my to-be-read shelf at home).
Good show, folks, but this time around, I’m looking for something more specific:
Recommend your favorite short stories to win more
Nathanael Green Endorsement Points!
Reviews aren’t my forte, especially not of movies. So this isn’t a review.
Instead, it’s a challenge for those of you who’ve got the stomach for it. And an education for anyone trying to tell a story that will wrench your audience’s emotions.
Go see The Grey.
A lot of the best writing for marketing and advertising never wins any awards. Oh, there are tons of awards copywriters and advertising folks in general can win, and those awards often go to clever, funny ads.
But some great writing just helps drive sales. It’s inconspicuous, but actually communicates with the audience.
Here’s an example:
Why is this such good copywriting? Well, let me tell you:
- It’s short. It gets the point across in 15 seconds.
- It’s focused. There’s no rambling about the 27 benefits of going to Men’s Wearhouse. It chooses a succinct message and delivers it.
- The benefit is clear: buy one get one free. Everyone loves free, right?
- It shows they know their audience and plays off specific desires.
That last point is probably the most important—knowing your audience is paramount. I’m making an educated guess in saying that the majority of Men’s Wearhouse customers are professional men. And if that’s who they’re trying to entice, connecting the ideas of tall, powerful CEOs with their brand is a deft play on men’s desires while still keeping the obvious benefit of savings.
Sometimes the best copy is the least copy. And sometimes that’s the hardest to write. Finding the key message and just delivering the benefits, the emotional timbre you want, and doing it briefly can be exceedingly hard.
But this ad does just that. Nice work.