I don't often reprint other people's articles, but maybe I should. Here is one article that makes an incredibly simple point while it compresses a lot of copywriting wisdom in just a few words. Any freelance copywriter should be able to gain a lot from this advice from Nick Usborne.
The Power of Saying 'You Can,' by Nick Usborne
If you have children, you will doubtless remember saying to them, "You can do it."
It's what we say when our toddlers first struggle to their feet.
It's what we say when they face their first day at school, when they first ride a bicycle, or first swim a full length of a pool.
Children face the challenges of early life with greater confidence when they are supported by the belief and support of their parents.
And it doesn't stop at childhood. We continue to say, "You can do it" when our teens take their driving test, apply for college or dress up for that first job interview.
I recently finished reading John Le Carre's book, The Constant Gardener. He frequently touches on the thought that adults are simply the children they once were, with all their childhood strengths and weaknesses, masquerading in grown-up bodies.
I think he's right. As adults, at home and at work, we still crave the support and belief of those around us - our partner, our colleagues, our bosses.
When faced with a tough career challenge, it's still reassuring to have someone put a hand on our shoulder and say, "You can do it."
With this in mind, consider some of the copy you write on your Web site, and in your emails and newsletter.
Where you now say something like:
At Acme Trust we support local arts through our funding program.
Consider saying this:
Through Acme Trust you can successfully apply for a grant to support local arts.
Where you say:
Acme Business Intelligence software aggregates data from across the enterprise and makes it available to your managers...
Think about this:
With Acme Business Intelligence Software you can provide senior management with reports that are complete and on time.
Or instead of saying:
Acme Newsletter Builder provides dozens of ready-to-use design templates...
With Acme Newsletter Builder you can create professionally-designed newsletters in just a few minutes.
Each of these examples simply shifts the focus from the company to the customer and says, "You can do it".
That's stage one.
When we encourage our young children, we are also there to help and support them. Try the same with the inner children of your customers and prospects.
So stage two is to provide not only your product or service, but also the support to help your customers succeed.
Try adding a line or two like these:
Speak to one of the Acme Trust advisors and find out how to write a successful grant application.
As an Acme Business Intelligence customer, you will be allocated Acme Support Representative.
Not sure how to get started with Acme Newsletter Builder? Ask for help at any time through our Live Chat support service.
If you subscribe to that original premise that we each of us retain many of the fears and insecurities of our childhood, you now have a couple of very simple ways in which to reassure and support your customers and prospects.
Let them know that they CAN do it with your product or service. And remind them that you are right there, with all the support they need, in order to help them succeed.
Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author, speaker and advocat of good writing. You can access all his archived newsletter articles on copywriting and writing for the web at his Excess Voice site. You'll find more articles and resources on how to make money as a freelance writer at his Freelance Writing Success site.
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