Some people distill alcohol – copywriters distill words. It’s our job to weed through the muddy and unnecessary and craft a crystal clear message. More often than not, this means paring down (usually WAY down) the message into just a few words so people “get it.” And that’s where the magic happens.
Case in point. Last week I noshed at an event where most of the attendees were technology companies. When asked what I “do” I tested two different variations:
Joe-Schmo: Hi, Andrea. What do you do?
Andrea: I’m a writer.
Joe: What do you write?
Andrea: Web content, brochures, ads – all of the words that would go on your marketing materials.
Joe: Oh, that’s nice.
Joe: Hi, Andrea. What do you do?
Andrea: I translate “Geek” into plain English.
Joe: REALLY?! I need to hire you!!
See the difference? Now, one thing you may notice is that the words “writing”, “marketing” and “websites” are no where to be found in this simple tagline. But that’s okay because it accurately conveys the message so the light bulb goes off.
Looking to create your own tagline? Here are some questions you may ask yourself:
- Who am I talking to? Can I modify my message to fit various niches? Ex: “I translate _____________ (corporate babble, legalese, financial nonsense, etc.) into plain English.”
- What do I really do? Is there one verb that can convey that message? Note – overused verbs include: help, educate, teach, show, etc. Stretch your vocabulary and you’ll be rewarded.
- What’s the biggest benefit I provide? Now is not the time to blab on about everything you do. Showcase your biggest benefit and get people wanting more.