Truth in all things including copywriting

Truth in CopywritingThe ability to communicate is one of the great things about being a writer.

Your words can raise awareness of a cause or plight, they can help charities raise funds and find volunteers, or tell the story of a project or a person. Being able to communicate a message truthfully in an accessible and appealing way is a valuable skill.

I’ve recently taken some deviations from talking about copywriting on these pages, to focus on writing recipes and penning family histories. The truth is vital in both. When writing history you aim to give a factual representation of what happened and convey facts in a coherent, readable format. In cookery writing, readers are dependent on you to give instructions accurately in order for them to understand the method of a recipe.

Honest copywriting

However, is writing persuasive copy a bit of a dark art? I don’t think so. As above, the truth has to be the foundation of your words. The copywriter’s job is to explain something in an honest, compelling and understandable way.

If what you sell is rubbish, no amount of winning words will save it from the scrap heap. If you don’t deliver what you promise, your customers won’t be coming back for more.

The art of the writer is to show the reader the difference something can make to their lives. You want to draw your readers’ attention to the superior aspects of your product. There’s no harm in accentuating the positive, but there's also no point in telling lies.

If you’re selling horsemeat lasagne don’t pretend it’s made of beef. Instead, highlight the health-affirming properties of this unpopular (in the UK, anyway) alternative to beef. Explain that horsemeat is full of cholesterol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids, rich in iron, high in protein, low in fat, tender and delicious.

I know many stores have not intentionally misled consumers or even been aware of the content of the product, but you get my point. Tell the truth and sell the benefits. Eat horsemeat instead of beef, and you’ll soon be cantering around like a thoroughbred.

Vincit omnia veritas - truth conquers all things.

Related posts:
Copy Cook: the missing link between copywriting and cooking
How to write local and family history