As a writing coach for young people, I would encourage teens to find their voice – the words and syntax that best reflect who they are and what concerns them. While it was hard for some of them, others found that writing was the best way to express themselves and loved to experiment and play with words.
Working for a publication or institution, writers learn to adopt its unique voice. Your job is to represent the organization and its values, and often the voice is authoritative, knowledgeable, capable. The focus is on the organization and the message, not so much on the receiver of the message.
But in advertising, the audience is paramount. Whom are you targeting? What are their interests? What kind of language do they use? What kind of appeal will appeal to them?
Advertising is not just used for selling products, brands or services. It’s also used to reach out to audiences to inform them, or maybe even persuade them to do something.
For example, take a campaign intended to stop an audience from pursuing an activity that can damage themselves and others. Research has shown that this audience does not generally respond to shame or “tough love.” However, offers of help or support can prove successful in changing behavior.
So that’s what we did, and it worked.
The beauty of copywriting is the wide range of voices you can adopt: supportive, expert, fun-loving, smart. It’s not always clear what will work best to reach your intended audience, and that’s where audience research comes in. At Hirons, we perform research for every client and campaign, and it really does produce results.
I’m used to anonymity as a writer. As an advertising copywriter, my work is even less about me. And I’m fine with that.