Copywriting Information

Deciding What Voice to Use in Copy

You have to choose a character or an angle that you, the copywriter plays. Copy is interactive. There's a copywriter and a copy reader. As soon as one is gone, the relationship is over (at least for the time being). Readers don't have to stick around. There's no locked door. And they won't?if you don't keep them interested. So you need to write as if you are talking to that person directly.

How do you do this? Nine times out of 10, you need to use the present tense. The word "you" is like using the reader's name in a sentence. It perks up their interest.

But there are times you'll need a more institutional and formal tone. Decide that before you start writing. What will resonate most with the reader?

  • Who are you to the reader?
  • One of them
  • One of them who discovered something the hard way
  • One of them but far superior (the guru model)
  • A peer
  • A buddy
  • An authority figure
Or are you a "gimmick" like the pet dog talking to the reader about his fleas or something like that?

You have to decide what will best resonate with your prospect. Selling is the transference of feelings. The prospect needs to feel that:

  • He or she has been exactly where you are
  • Shared feelings and experiences (for example, if you asked where were you when JFK died would you think of senior or junior? This goes back to doing your homework before you ever sat down to write)
  • He feels my pain
  • She speaks my language (If you're using jargon, you really need to get it right. One misstep and you've lost the trust. So be careful using jargon and insider language. For example you call something "sick" if you're a surfer and that's a very good thing. But if you used that lingo with a nurse, you'd get a very different reaction.)
  • I wish I could meet him or her personally
  • I feel so close, I want to share my story with him or her just like he did for me

It's how people feel not what they think or know that controls their buying behavior. It's not a logical process. So if you can present your benefits in terms of feelings like how the buyer will feel as a result of having your product and what negative feelings will go away. This is why we highlight problem, agitate, solve. We want them to recognize a problem that needs fixing and show them we are the solution. So what voice you choose, and how to communicate makes a monumental difference in whether or not your copy is effective.

Special Requirements for Reprint: we ask only that you include Lorrie's name and resource box, and keep all hyperlinks as live links.

World class copywriter, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero is the author of the highly acclaimed home study course, Red Hot Copy to Woo Your Target Market and founder of Copy Campus, a unique online copywriting school. Lorrie is also a direct descendent of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Learn more about her products and services at

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