Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Should a B2B Copywriter Have a Voice?

Tell the truth but make truth fascinating.
— David Ogilvy

Except for Theresa McCulla, B2B copywriters have the best job ever.

They spend their days making machine tools, office furniture and cloud services fascinating.

The best ones know that craft, as well as truth, can lure buyers into buying.

They delight in discovering phrases that makes convoluted concepts seem clear and parity products, powerful.

They wouldn’t do the job if they didn’t harbor a love for language's capacity to transform truth.

But should a B2B copywriter have a voice?

I'd argue: yes. Without a voice, though it might be factual, the writer's copy is flat. 

And, as David Ogilvy said, "you can't bore people into buying."

Others would argue voice is a distraction and should "disappear into the house style." Voice can in fact be a hindrance to a writer: in-house reviewers don't welcome it and clients won't pay for it.

I'd argue that's old-school. Just as it favors generosity and artour connection economy favors voice.

In Bright Book of Life, critic Alfred Kazin describes the late John Updike's visibility in his voice:

Updike writes as if there were no greater pleasure than reconstituting the world by writing—writing is mind exercising itself, rejoicing in its gifts. Reading him one is always conscious of Updike the Gifted, Updike the Stylist, Updike the Concerned Roguish Novelist. Updike is always so much Updike that the omnipresence of Updike in all his writing finally seems not a hindrance but a trademark.

A B2B copywriter's voice isn't a hindrance

It's a trademark.
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