The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic. — attributed to Stalin
Yup. I started a post with a quote commonly attributed to Stalin. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’m about to make a point.
It’s a grim quote. It turns people from individuals into numbers. It’s something most of us are appalled by.
But you know what?
Businesses do it all the time. They just use different language.
Customers, readers, visitors, clients, demographic, human capital (ew) etc.
And, to an extent, it’s necessary. You can hardly sit there and list the 50,000 names of the people who’ve bought your product in the last year. Firstly, GDPR. Secondly, it would be worthy of a Monty Python sketch on political correctness.
But as copywriters, we need to remember that customers aren’t some obscure slice of society. They’re not homogenous. They are not just People Who Buy Our Shoes.
Remember this and speak to them as individuals
Advertising and data scraping have actually taken the concept of targeting individuals and run so far with it they’ve dropped off the moral compass and dived head first into creepsville.
Nobody wants adverts written specifically to them, using their name and god knows what other data the company has on them. That’s grim too.
No, I’m not talking about knowing the individual. I’m talking about writing copy in a way that acknowledges that they are an individual.
With copywriting, a lot depends on the brand. Perhaps the brand is all about casual language and colloquialisms. Or maybe it’s more serious, more studious.
Either way, keep remembering that the reader is an individual. Think of it as if you’re writing to one, specific person. Write for them, as though they’re the only reader.
When you do this, you’ll find your writing becomes more focused. You’ll find it’s more approachable and more sincere. You’ll be writing as you would to someone you actually know and it’ll shine through.
We’re all sick to death of being sold to, right?. We’re sick to death of being treated as if we’re all the same.
The moment brands start writing as they would to people they actually know and respect is the moment customers will feel known and respected.
It’s just one thing. And it’s a simple thing.
Write to the individual.
Fancy the occasional email that’ll switch your content writing up a gear? Subscribe to my Tiny Letter and be prepared for joy: https://tinyletter.com/TheLiteraryLifeboat