By Martin Fürst
It’s been more than a week now since Steve Harrison was in, but my mind is still going over what he told us. And especially what it meant to me as an Art Director.
First of all, it was really nice to have him in. Thanks a lot if you are reading this Steve. Out of the fact that we had just one single opinion in our room for one week, Jem and I made huge progress in our portfolio.
And here is already the first lesson I took from him. There is a reason why agencies have only one ECD. There needs to be one person who drives forward one vision. Very similar to a single-minded proposition.
In his masterclasses, he took us through what it means to write better copy, or like he said effective copy. It’s not about how creative we are, or how beautiful the words sound. It’s about achieving what we want to achieve.
This also leads to the question what a great brief is, which was his following talk. We heard this many times, but the more often you hear it, the better.
If the brief isn’t right, the work isn’t either.
I can’t count every single learning in this SCAB. There wouldn’t be enough space, and you should read his book “How to write better copy” anyway. So I’m going to jump right to the one which meant the most to me.
He talked about the process of writing copy in a very tactical way. Before you start you should answer these 7 questions.
And like Steve said, if you can’t, don’t advertise. Save the money.
Question 1) Who am I writing to?
Question 2) What does the reader think before receiving this message?
Question 3) What do you want the reader to think after they have received this message?
Question 4) What do you want the reader to do?
Question 5) What promise are you making to the reader?
Question 6) How do you back-up the promise you’ve just made?
Question 7) What other of your reader’s problems will your product/service solve?
After this preparation, you are ready to go.
Remember your first words will always be crap.
Just keep going and go through the checklist at the end of this SCAB.
And the best thing about Steve’s lessons is it works in any language. I gave up on being a copywriter, but I still can be a texter (German word for copywriter).
□ Make your first paragraph track from your headline.
□ Start where the reader is – and not where you want the reader to be □ Win your reader over with empathy
□ Give them the facts
□ Use Testimonials
□ Have a clear call to action
□ Inject urgency
□ Make them an offer – preferably free
□ Use the most powerful short word of them all: you
□ Use active verbs instead of passive verbs
□ Syntax, or how to arrange the subject, verb and object
□ Use short sentences
□ …short paragraphs
□ Use linking words and phrases
□ Cut out jargon
□ Don’t use clichés or abstractions
□ Correct your inaccuracies
□ Cut the superfluous
□ Read your work out loud
□ Get the opinion of someone you respect