How to Write Ad Copy Without Losing Your Soul: #4

Here we are at the final-for-now installment of this series on writing ad copy that doesn’t make people roll their eyes and click away (at best), OR want to punch you in the face (at worst).

The goal is to make people feel understood, excited, inspired.
Not bamboozled.

A brand with soul, of course, is not interested in bamboozle. But sometimes persuasive words come out sounding that way despite our intentions.

These last two tenets that help your ad copy be real and meaningful are a bit more abstract than those in parts one, two and three. But that just makes ’em extra sumptuous. Amirite?

I waited ’til the fourth post to include a swear in a subtitle.
Because decorum is a virtue.

As is discernment.
Especially self-discernment.
Which leads us to…

Where’s the Bullshit?

Telling the truth in your brand and ad copy should go without saying. BUT, we all know it doesn’t. Businesses have stretched the truth, if not outright lied, in their marketing claims since, well…the dawn of marketing claims.

You shouldn’t, though. And if you’re a brand with soul, you won’t want to anyway.

However, you will probably still inject some inadvertent bullshit when you write copy. We all do it. And it doesn’t mean we’re bad. It means we’re human.

Try to avoid saying the opposite of the truth when you write advertising copy.
Do we need to review what authenticity means?

Inadvertent bullshit in your ad copy comes in many forms and is often subtle.

I’ve passed over my own BS several times. The project needed to get done, so I ignored the discomfort between my ribs. But when I stop and listen to that tug, I can sniff out the bullshit and clean it up. And when I do, the final result is so much better: light, magnetic and yes — that glorious, overused buzz word of the hour — authentic.

Often it can be a bit of the hyperbolic poppycock mentioned in Part 2. But it can also be aspirational (buzz word!) in nature. For instance, a value-added (corporate jargon!) service you intend to offer at some point in the near future, but don’t quite have the resources to follow through with right now.

Or it can be a phrase that sounds more cheesy than real. Or more what someone else would say… maybe someone who markets to you on a regular basis and whose voice is in your head.

Try this: When revising copy, pay attention to the feelings in your body. If your chest or stomach clenches when you go over a word or phrase, don’t ignore it. You felt that nudge for a reason.

Hone in on the precise thing triggering your inner bullshit detector. And either get rid of it. Or turn it into truth.

When revising ad copy, pay attention to the feelings in your body.

Connect the Sacred with the Mundane

This last principle might sound a little warmnfuzzy woowoo to you, but I believe it’s key to writing ad copy that really connects with people. (Actually, I think it’s key to writing anything that really connects with people.)

Here are some things people often find sacred:

  • loved ones and time with them
  • free time, traveling, meditation, gardening, most forms of fun
  • being creative, appreciating the creations of others, self-expression, reading
  • sleep, yoga, running, cycling, fishing, having adventures

Things that are sacred connect us to the universe and everything in it: other humans, nature, animals, beauty, science, the Divine…

Sacred things feel luxurious in a deep, soulful way. They bring out our truest and best selves.  These are the things that nourish us. We spend extra time and money on sacred things when there’s extra time and money to spend. (And okay, sometimes when there’s not too.)

When writing ad copy, connect the sacred with the mundane.

Here are some things people often find mundane:

  • commuting, paying bills, banking
  • doing the dishes, grocery shopping, taking out the garbage
  • laundry, walking the dog around the same damn block, any kind of chore
  • researching appliances, flossing, shaving, personal hygiene in general

Most people want to spend more time in the sacred zone and less time in the mundane zone.

Many products and services claim to help you do this, even if their function (grocery delivery, for example) is rather mundane.

Try this: Associate your mundane product or service with something your audience considers sacred.

Doing this will convince them that you can help more effectively than all the world’s exclamation points and buzz words could ever do.

Connecting the sacred and mundane is part of what makes this graffiti art so compelling.

That does it for now on this series for soulful peeps looking to write ad copy that doesn’t make them feel or sound gross. I will likely have more to say on this subject in the future.

Until then, do you have something to add?
Do you think I’m wrong? Okay. 🙂
What did I miss?

Let’s discuss. Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Your thoughts?