Why is a copywriter like a dentist?
No, that's not the start of a bad joke...
I don't floss. I know I should.
The dentist tells me. Ads tell me. Packaging tells me. My dad tells me.
But I still don't floss.
I think about my teeth for the time it takes me to brush them in the morning and brush them in the evening. That's approximately four minutes a day.
I'm guessing dentists spend a lot longer thinking about teeth. It's their job. So, let's say eight hours a day, five days a week.
That's eight hours a day, five days a week thinking about teeth, talking about teeth, trying to persuade other people to get excited about teeth. Trying to get them to give up just a couple of minutes a day to floss.
So, how is a dentist like a copywriter?
You're a copywriter. You're writing for a brand. It's your job. You're thinking about the brand for eight hours a day, five days a week.
That's eight hours a day, five days a week thinking about the brand, talking about the brand, trying to persuade other people to get excited about the brand. Trying to get them to give up just a couple of minutes to buy a product, sign up for an email, like a social post.
Your customers are different. How long do they spend thinking about your brand? The time it takes them to brush their teeth? Four minutes a day?
Like a dentist, you might get my full attention once a year. Maybe I've booked a check-up or I'm on the lookout for new trainers, or a birthday present, a local yoga class.
So you tell me all about the benefits. Of flossing, of the new engineered soles, your gift wrap service, your annual relaxation retreats...
And I still don't do it.
Customers think about brands the way I think about teeth. You might not be asking for much. Only a few minutes of my time. But I'm busy, I'm resistant, I'm forgetful. I want to go to bed early or stay up watching more TV. Maybe I've come home late. Maybe the bathroom's cold. Maybe the tap's started dripping. Maybe when I do look for the floss, I can't find it.
There's a hundred things stopping me from flossing. There's a hundred things battling for your customers' attention.
It's your job to persuade them to floss.
And that's why a copywriter is like a dentist.