How to “Sherlock Holmes” your Way to Copywriting Brilliance
Copywriter Nick confides:
Damaging confession: I hate doing research for clients...especially when their field is dull -OR- like a current client, their offer is clearly inferior (he's trying to sell a Ford Pinto for Tesla Model 3 prices, to boot)...
Do you have a game plan mapped out for doing kick ass research as quickly and painlessly as possible. Perhaps do you employ someone to handle the research for you?
Nick's in a tough spot here.
On one hand, when you're starting out as a copywriter and still struggling to get clients, you do have to kiss some toads.
Bills ain't gonna pay themselves...
The trouble is, copywriters live and die by their results.
Which means, you gotta sell.
And it's well nigh impossible to sell something that you aren't sold on yourself.
What do you do when you just aren't inspired by the product?
Well, I can tell you one thing:
"Outsourcing" the research is NOT the answer.
In fact, I'd suggest the exact opposite:
You've got to put on your detective hat.
You've got to go all Sherlock Holmes on this product and the market.
You've got to throw out the idea that this project is "boring"—and replace it with a steely determination that there IS something unique and valuable and interesting here. And as the copywriter, it's your job to dig it up.
What I've found is that no matter how dry or boring a topic seems on the outside, there are people who find it fascinating—even to the point of dedicating their lives to pursuing that craft.
Your job is to get into their world, and let their enthusiasm infect you.
All that to say, when you're feeling uninspired by the product, the only solution I know is to hurl yourself headlong into the research.
There are a few shortcuts though:
- Study other businesses' marketing. When you do this, don't worry so much about how they're presenting their products. Read between the lines and look for clues about what the marketing says about the customers.
- INTERVIEWS are vital. Do several of them as early as possible, and have them transcribed. Study those transcripts until you know them by heart. It's a lot of work but it eliminates so much guesswork when you can just ask a real person questions.
- Have audio/video products transcribed. Watching video and taking notes is not a good use of your time as a copywriter.
- Track down the top blogs and forums that your customers frequent. Eavesdrop on their conversations. Look for those hot-button topics that set their blood boiling.
Do this, and I guarantee that somewhere in those piles of research you'll find a spark that ignites your creativity and enthusiasm.
You'll see something in the product that you didn't see before.
Congratulations, you've just made that crucial first sale.
You've sold YOURSELF.
And *now* you're finally ready to face the customers.