Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Targeting ‘benefits’ instead of features when you write ad copy

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If you’ve done much copywriting, or really any copywriting at all, you’ve undoubtedly heard an expression something like, “Write about benefits, not features.” What does that mean? How do you understand the difference?

My “rule of thumb” that I try to share with beginning writers is this: “What’s in it for me?” That’s simple enough. For example, I don’t want to buy a simple old diet pill. There are millions of diet pills on the market. But I might take a look if you called that diet pill a “fat burner.” As a fat guy, I can quickly see that a fat burner at least deserves a look. I don’t want to diet, I want to be slim and trim. I long for fitness not fatness.

No big lesson here, perhaps. But if you’re writing anything at all, this is an important perspective to keep in mind: Don’t fall in love with your words to the extent that you forget what your READER wants. Whether you’re selling the developing romance between your two main characters in a novel or diet pills to burn fat, keep in mind that readers want to know what’s in it for them.

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