By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning nonprofit content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
An online devotional for writers
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15, NLT)
One indispensable copywriting skill you must have has little to do with writing at all.
“It’s your job to be Chief Empathy Officer for your audience,” says Copyblogger co-founder Sonia Simone.
When I read that quip from Sonia, I wanted to shout “Amen!”
It’s tempting for content writers – from the newest to the most experienced – to be intimidated by form, grammar, features versus benefits, click-throughs, royalty statements, followers, contracts, critiques …
Oh, we have plenty of insecurity buttons to be pushed. At least I know I do.
But when your target reader clicks on your blog post or your email, she doesn’t care about your insecurities. She wants to know that you “get” her. That you empathize with her and want to help her.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. Don’t underestimate this copywriting skill. Empathy is what allows you to write in a way that makes your target reader feel safe. You build trust because she sees that you understand.
But what if you’re not naturally empathetic? Maybe you are wired with just basic cognitive empathy (simple acknowledgement of what another person feels and thinks). Or only occasionally you experience emotional empathy (feeling the same emotions as another person) and rarely feel compassionate empathy (an even deeper understanding that moves you to help).
Good news: empathy, like other godly traits, can be cultivated. Romans 12:15 tells us to be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep. Furthermore, God does not instruct us to cultivate an ability without enabling us to do so. Which means it’s possible to grow more empathetic, not just with your target reader but also with your family and friends.
Cultivate empathy and you become a better writer and a godlier person. How cool is that?
Empathy is an indispensable copywriting skill.
Thank you for the gift of emotions. I want to become more empathetic. Show me how to come alongside my readers and others in my life to understand their feelings, share them, and act on their behalf.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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