By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning nonprofit content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
An online devotional for writers
Count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3, ESV).
Early on in my writing life, the idea of writing persuasively made my skin crawl.
That discomfort was a bit of a problem for me, a newbie copywriter, since by definition copywriting is writing to persuade.
I equated writing persuasively with manipulation.
In writing persuasively I had understood my goal to be to convince the reader of the merits of a product or service or an idea in order to propel her to take an action: to buy a product, click a link, give money, embrace a cause, opt in.
The very thought of using words to manipulate readers made me feel like a slimy sell-out (on good days) …
… until one of my instructors said, "Good copywriting begins with your reader, not your product. What are her needs?"
[Light bulb goes on]
If I'm doing my job in writing persuasively, I take quite a bit of time getting to know my reader right along with knowing my product or service or cause. By digging in, I find out where those two intersect.
As I write, I focus on another person and her needs and then show her one way she can get those needs met (through a service, a product, or other offer.) I'm not trying to impress. Instead, I am thinking of her and what she needs.
"Write to your reader." It's a common refrain in the copywriting universe.
Funny how the Bible tells us to put others first, too.
Put the reader's needs first when you write.
Show me how to understand my reader and her needs. Give me insight to understand and communicate one way those needs can be met.
In Jesus name, Amen.
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