Whether we’re old hands at copywriting with years of dogged experience or fresh-faced rookies, improving our writing skills is an ongoing pursuit.
Reading is integral to this improvement. Finding myself on the lookout for good – and bad – copy in everything I pick up, I scan the pages of newspapers and magazines to see how writers think and write.
Adverts are another quick and easy way to see the good, the bad, and the ugly in an easily digestible format. We’ve all seen them and we all comment on them, whether publicly or privately – usually both.
One series of ads that has really stood out for me over the past months are those for Old Speckled Hen beer. Often seen nestling inside the pages of Saturday’s Guardian, these examples of long copy certainly aren’t afraid of being overly wordy in their content.
Engage your audience
These aren’t your usual flashy adverts. While visually understated, they’re written with a fairly niche tone of voice which can be read and enjoyed by anyone. But they appeal to new and existing customers alike.
Composed as a standalone short story, almost anecdotal in style, each one is based around topical events. And because they’re loaded with wit and razor-sharp comments, they keep us interested and keep us reading.
It’s the ‘funny story’ format that makes the all important emotional connection and fully engages the reader. If it keeps us reading, chances are we’ll eventually end up buying, which of course, is the whole point.
Actually, it’s not the whole point; it’s only part of the point. The whole point from a copywriter’s viewpoint, is the reader ought to be emotionally connected to the copy in the first place. What the product is, is almost irrelevant.
If you can write copy that gives people enough of an emotional connection to invest their time, you’ve pretty much done your job. End with a subtle – or obvious – call to action and it’s a win win – just like Old Speckled Hen has successfully achieved.
Onwards and upwards
There are copywriters who are specialists in this style of long form copywriting. But there are some good books out there on the subject allowing the rest of us to get up to speed. For me, trying to soak up all of this information sometimes feels like an impossible task, but it’s this constant learning curve that makes us better copywriters. Read, read, read, then write, write, and write some more.
Footnote: I don’t even like beers and ales, but I love these spectacular ads enough to make me want to try Old Speckled Hen for myself. Now, that’s good copywriting!
Keep an eye out for the adverts and check out Speckled Henry on Twitter!
(Also published on the Professional Copywriters Network blog page)