Dudes, I’ll tell you how to write if you don’t know how - and what’s the problem with copywriters
Hello! This is a hedgehog, and he will now live with us. Specifically, I will here from time to time tell stories about how to write texts on the corporate blog of the ship-steamer Mikhail, because of which 11 years ago I got into this topic.
So the problem is simple. You are great at explaining in words, but you cannot write anything plainly. You know what? What a score. Because if you hire a special person - a copywriter - who will tell everything for you, it will be worse.
No one except you knows all the features of your business. No one except you can be more precise, specific and convincing. No one except you will remember a living example from practice and will not say more precisely. You are a professional. And you probably understand what it is about, and distinguish professionals from "sales people" in the first words.
You already know how to write. They just have never done it before.
Here is what you already know for sure:
- Speak very specifically. Because in no other way.
- Be convincing. I mean, you can definitely explain to a friend what and how.
- You know exactly what you need to pay attention to in your product or service.
- Understand what is important to your client. Because they talked.
- Think a few steps forward.
- And say so that your speech is clear - you understand the issue 100%.
No copywriter can repeat this. Yes, they can write words smoothly, put them into sentences and make them glossy-beautiful. But until you start working with pros who take 3-4 thousand dollars for a couple of pages of text, this will work much worse than what you yourself say.
I undertake to assert that if everything is more or less in order with literacy, you already write perfectly. All you need to do is to drop the usual ideas of how this is done, take it and start.
Business letter (spherical example in a vacuum)
You need to write an official letter to your customer, partner or supplier. The hardest part, as in any text, is to start. My business partner Anton somehow had just such a problem, and he constantly asked me to write letters. And then I taught him one extremely simple technique.
To get started, you take and write what is the essence of the letter. In your own tongue, as if you were saying this to your friend. For example, your counterparty has delayed a payment. Anton told me this:
- Listen, well, in short, they owe us money. We shipped the goods to them, they signed everything, but there is no money. There is a contract. On it - within 10 days. There is no point about the delay, see? There is no penalty either. That’s been slowing down for two months now. I want to write a letter to pay.
Then you take and write it in a letter as if it didn’t matter at all who read it. Turn your story into letters. Here is what Anton wrote:
"Hi, Misha. You owe us a lot of money. Give already, do not brake. We have done everything. Or did you decide to leave us like that? If anything, we’ll go to court now. ”
Obviously, if you send such a letter, the result will be simply enchanting. But at the same time, pay attention, the essence is expressed very clearly and without ambiguities - which means that we already have the most important thing - the plan!
The easiest thing remains - we translate each phrase into a business language. This can already be entrusted to a copywriter or to do it yourself.
In the current situation, we choose the official language.
- “Hello, Misha!” - “Good afternoon, Michael!”
- “You owe us a lot of money” - “I remind you that we expect to pay 56 thousand rubles under agreement No. 070813-02. "
- “Give already, don't slow down. We have done everything. ”-“ Under this agreement, on our part, the obligations were fulfilled, the goods were shipped exactly on time, as confirmed by acts of 08/20/13.
- “Or did you decide to leave us like that?” - Anton was a little confused with this proposal and made two steps of the translation. Here is the first option: “You should have paid for 10 days, but more than two months have passed. If you don’t give a payment deadline, we will be forced to go to court. ” In principle, this version could already be sent, but he decided to soften the wording, preserving the essence. This is what happened: “I draw attention to the fact that the 10-day payment term after signing the acts ended almost two months ago. Please specify the payment term on your part. The fact is that our legal service is concerned about the status of the contract. ”
What happened? Everything is simple. He sent a letter, and after 3 days the money went to the bank account.
He wrote the following letter to the client about the mistake of the designer in two steps:
"Hi! Listen, our designer messed up and drew for you not at all what you wanted. And I did not have time to see, he quickly sent everything, because it was urgent. In general, I'm sorry, we will fix today until the end of the working day. And he was already starred. ”
In fact, before the transfer - this is already a great example of how to write business letters to clients with whom you are on friendly terms. There is an extremely simple description of the situation, complete sincerity, and the next step. But Anton was not so close with the client, so a translation was required. There he is:
“Nikolai, good afternoon!
Our designer sent you the wrong layout in the morning that does not meet the technical specifications. The fact is that because of the urgency of the task, he decided to send the result before approval. Sorry for our mistake. Until the end of the day you will have the correct version. "I have already explained to the designer the importance of the right processes and pierced them in the chest."
But I would still recommend never writing business letters in this terrible language of clericalism. It is enough to write what you think - and just go through the letter, replacing phrases that are not worth sending.
This is a very convenient and easy method. Star those who don’t think so.
Let's do it again:
- We tell someone about the situation. It turns out a plan.
- We write the letter as if they simply said it to “a man from the street”, taking care only of facts, and not of form.
- We replace part of the phrases or give it as a technical task to the rider.
Sometimes your subordinates will write official letters that are so furious that they simply cannot be sent. This usually happens in three cases:
- Or a person thinks that a business letter can be written only in an incomprehensible language.
- Or he does not know what to say, and is trying to cover himself with "bureaucracy."
- Or he’s just afraid to write clearly, because something is wrong somewhere.
Total - either we have Mowgli (seoshnik, brought up by marketers on school essays), or someone is covering his ass somewhere. At the cost of understanding the letter.
In such cases, a reverse translation is needed. For example, here is a letter that is simply impossible to read:
We hereby inform you that during the period from 12/21/13 to 01/09/14, the shipment of goods at the company's warehouses will be limited due to the increased logistic load on the transport hubs. Departures will be processed by our specialists upon receipt, but we cannot guarantee compliance with the standard deadlines during this period in accordance with paragraph 4.3 of the agreement No. 851 on the provision of services. For our part, we commit ourselves to make every effort to ensure prompt shipment of goods. ”
And about a page of the same text. Here is what would be much clearer:
From December 21 to January 9, our warehouse will be under heavy load due to the New Year. Under the contract, during this period, the shipment period is increased to 10 working days. We will do our best to ensure that your deliveries leave on time, but it is difficult to promise something more specific on New Year's Eve. Last year, in the same situation, it turned out in five days instead of two ordinary ones. ”
Why the hell will you find a good copywriter
The first obvious problem of copywriting in our country is the lack of the correct guidelines. The copywriter does not corny know which text works and which does not . The customer does not understand what exactly is needed from a copywriter. As a result, you can work and rivet equally meaningless texts for 5-6 years, without realizing that everything should be a little different.
The greatest fear of a copywriter (as well as a designer) is that his work will not be seen . Sometimes, an excellent texture comes, and the copywriter tries to turn it into a pompous "telemarket", although it would be quite simple to slightly erase the speech. Why? Just because the average customer pays for something that he could not write himself. For the official, "beautiful" text, rich in stamps. Like others.
The second problem islack of desire to find out the details . The copywriter should be not just a person who transforms the finished texture, but a little researcher. You need to ask the right questions, get the exact answers, and think about how to use them. This is already an intersection with marketing. If you don’t understand the scale of the disaster, then just try to order a dozen copywriters text about the company, say, the metallurgical sector based on a very meager data set. You will be unpleasantly surprised by the size of the final text, consisting almost entirely of stamps and copying abstracts from other similar texts.
So, the writer does not know the details - namely, they make up the text - and even less often than receiving the details, he manages to check 2-3 variants of the same text in comparison. Such work is like visiting a huge shooting gallery with a single target. With a blindfold. If you have enough ammo, sooner or later you will hit. But, you must admit, the one who shoots the weapon in his hands for the first time, but sees the target and traces of misses, is much better.
When you can check your texts over and over for thousands of times, you will see one simple thing. When you receive quick feedback, you will realize that most of the writing is husk. And there should be less words, less letters and more facts.
One more thing. Most copywriters do not write directly to customers, but to customers. And are evaluated by the customer. This forms a virtual ceiling, which is extremely difficult to break through the head. The fact is that really good and commercially successful texts are scary for the majority. They are truthful, sincere and written so that they can be immediately understood. And the customer was taught to write school essays a little bit wrong.
When the product sucks, the customer often wants to write smart words about a dynamic young company. Disguise. Add flera. And monstrous bureaucratic constructions are obtained.
Then the question of technical specifications arises.Have you ever tried writing TK to a rider? You can’t. Because the normal terms of reference implies a dialogue - the writer must collect material as a journalist and as a prospector get particles of facts from him. If you can write a complete statement of work with all the necessary facts, you do not need a writer. Just tell it in your own words. You will have much more faith. And then give it to the corrector - and publish.
And, to the heap, do you know when people become writers? When they have a lot of free time. There was a period when up to half of the market (according to rough estimates) brought up children under 2 years of age on maternity leave. And the results were scary.
So look what happens:
- Most of the market until recently wrote for SEO, which caused concomitant biochemical changes in the brain.
- Writers almost never see the result of their work and cannot distinguish between poorly written and well-written text.
- Feedback is given by the customer, who does not always understand what and how works in the text. More precisely, even, as a rule, not understanding at all. This is a make-up design problem.
- Terms of Reference are not put or put through the ass.
- In the mass market there is no understanding of price formation - the rule “more expensive means better” does not work at all, because there are no clear criteria for evaluating texts.
All. Over the past 15 minutes, you have learned how to write at least an accurate and cool technical task for a rider, and how to write yourself as a maximum (because the main plug is the lack of structure). Such a technical task, as it turned out now, can be carried by any performer - and if he has minimal experience, he will already do well. If you don’t want to bother, write down your story on the phone and give it for decoding (translation into text costs 500-800 rubles per hour of recording). And then give this text to the rider. Most likely, he will simply “comb” it and add only a couple of details.
This will be 20% of the work, which will give 80% of the result.
And then I will talk about what kind of structure is needed, what is the order of submission of materials, features of different pieces from descriptions of goods to letters of thanks and so on. This will improve the result, but the most important thing is to make a good base.
And a couple of links to my other materials:
- Why 98% of the texts on your sites do not work. At all. And how to fix it.
- How I chose a copywriter using the hedgehog method
UPD: immediately following , already about the goods for the online store.