It’s not rocket science

I run Copywriting workshops around the world.

Sometimes 10 people come. Sometimes 30. Sometimes they’re just starting out. Sometimes they've been in the industry a while. Sometimes they think they don’t know anything. Sometimes they think they need a reminder – or just some reassurance that they’re doing it right.

I tell everyone the same thing: Copywriting is a conversation.

We’re talking to people. And they’re busy.

They’re taking the kids to school. Going to work. Working out. Shopping. Cleaning the house. Walking the dog. Feeding the cat. Making dinner. Washing up. Relaxing.

And we’re in their ears on the radio. In their face in print, on TV, online, on billboards – the list goes… well, on.

So we must talk their language. We must be welcome in their home and in their car, or on their mobile, on their commute, and on their high street.

We must write how we talk. Even better, we must write how our customer talks.

We must write copy that feels like we’re inviting our customer to join a conversation. A really interesting conversation.

A conversation that puts them first and tells them what they want to know in a way they will understand and find interesting.

It’s not rocket science.

And then it happens. The look of disappointment on sometimes 10 people’s faces. Sometimes 30. They’ve paid money. They want to learn. They want to me to reveal the big secret – the magic formula. They want to leave knowing something they didn't already know.

But everyone knows how to have a conversation – we have conversations everyday.

Good conversations are easy. Full of short words and contractions to make a conversation flow. No stuffy words and phrases that make a conversation awkward or uncomfortable.

Good conversations are personal. Full of insights and information relevant to the person we’re talking to. No empty thoughts and statements that make a conversation irrelevant or meaningless.

Conversations are interesting. Full of facts and details to make a conversation engaging. No boring points and sloppy details that make a conversation dull or tedious.

And then the questions come.

Is Copywriting a conversation in a B2B world?

Yes, it is.

B2B. Business to business. This term seems to remove people from our minds so think of it as “business people to business people.”

And there you have it: people. We’re talking to people and Copywriting is a conversation every time.

Is Copywriting a conversation in terms and conditions?

Yes, it is.

Some Legal teams think terms and conditions must be written formally so readers take them seriously.

But formal doesn't mean we should swap everyday language for legal jargon. Unless they’re lawyers, people don't understand legalese.

If terms and conditions are so important, write them in a way that people will understand. Write them in a way people talk.

Copywriting is a conversation.

It’s not rocket science.

Vikki Ross is a Copywriter, Copywriting Tutor and Co-Founder of Copy Capital, the hottest event around for Creatives and Clients: