They say perception is everything…
And in marketing, that statement is particularly true.
Unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of erroneous perceptions going on among the newer copywriters… especially those who have bought a lot of information from the many providers selling infoproducts in our space in the online world.
What happens in the mind of the writer is that they buy a special report, read it, and think that’s the only way to produce a copywriting project.
This is the only way to write a Case Study… this is the only way to write a White Paper… this is the only way to write a Video.
Copywriters adore and respect their gurus, and they’re also thankful to them for creating information that offers guidance and structure to a copywriting challenge. After all, the information we buy is highly niched… it’s not like you can go to Amazon and find dozens of books on writing Direct Response Videos.
But what I have seen repeatedly over the many years that I’ve coached copywriters is a kind of tunnel-vision… a blind belief that what their guru says is the only way to do something.
For instance, copywriters are sometimes surprised to find out that I’ve written White Papers in my past. Because Mike Stelzner and Gordon Graham became noted White Paper writers, copywriters tend to see White Paper writing as a specialty; that’s all you do is write White Papers.
But many times I would “add on” a White Paper to a direct mail job. I made that White Paper into the “offer,” and it drove response.
And while I have nothing but respect for our White Paper gurus — and support them and encourage the purchases of their books and infoproducts — I want to set the record straight that in copywriting, there’s usually more than one way to skin a cat.
For instance, my coaching students all write White Papers to offer to their leads. But very few will write a White Paper that’s extremely formal in style. Having read the books and products of our reigning White Paper gurus, they come to me with the formula in hand.
But this is where I take them aside and remind them that our target market is the Marketing Director. “Would you rather read something that is dry and traditional, or would you rather receive a niche-appropriate White Paper that has some pizzazz?”
The better way to use the information we have available to us is to learn from it, allow it to become a backbone to the work you’re doing, and then ask yourself if there’s anything more that you can do to strengthen your work.
If you’re writing a White Paper for Siemens on x-ray Collimators, your paper should indeed be very formal in tone and style and you might do well to follow Gordon’s White Paper book to the “T.”
But if you’re writing a White Paper on the rise of video as an essential marketing tool and you’re targeting Marketing Directors, then your White Paper could take on a decidedly different tone.
You might have lots of color and some flash and dazzle… images and creative design work… perhaps even an embedded video.
The point that I’m making here is that I clearly and often see copywriters who are following an author’s instructions slavishly. They’ve somehow adopted their learning as “across the board”… that everyone in marketing everywhere “does it this way.”
I don’t know who wrote a course or ebook on how to write Case Studies, but when I help my coaching students they all say that they must do an interview for the Case Study.
Really? I’ve written many Case Studies where an interview wasn’t part of the content. My students are astonished to hear this. I explain to them that not even the most comprehensive learning tool is going to give you all of the information. So much is nuanced and there just isn’t enough space or time.
So the takeaway is this: use you courses and ebooks and audios. Realize the gurus are showing you their expert way of doing things in order to steer you the right direction. And to give you a roadmap if this is your first project in a particular writing category.
But don’t make the mistake of being slavish. Use your own thinking and creativity to layer on even more power. Always be sure to make it appropriate to your niche market or challenge.
Also know that in my membership site for copywriters — the S.S. Treasure Hunt — you can access hundreds of samples of effective client acquisition White Papers, Case Studies, Direct Mail Letters and other marketing materials that show just how creative copywriters can be.
This brings to mind Holly, a copywriter I used to hire. In her direct mail piece she once told her prospects: “I’m thinking inside the box now that everyone else is thinking outside of it.”
© 2016 Chris Marlow, All Rights Reserved