Is Your Copy “Professional” Enough?

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

We recently had a prospect turn down our work. She felt our writing was “too casual,” thus inappropriate for her “professional website.”

MarketSmiths’ easygoing house style has been labeled “friendly” and “familiar”— both in praise and otherwise. I have to admit that I’m flummoxed by the failure to get it. I suspect our critics are uncomfortable with a format that’s unfamiliar in its very familiarity. I hope our work changes some minds.

English language copywriting follows a mysterious tradition. Open a brochure; click on a random website; read a bio. Chances are, the tone is formalized, impersonal, fact-based, and boring.

In contrast, a truly effective 21st century copywriter speaks with bell-like clarity. He selects one or two messages, casting them in IMAX-scale dimensions. Then, he shapes and snips until they are vivid and airtight.

Take it from me: traditional copy is much easier to write. Nearly anyone fluent in English can sit down and define—matter-of-factly—what a business does, and what sets it apart.

Translating this into copy that grabs the reader? That’s a whole different story.

Deriving insights, and using those to step cleanly into the skin of the audience: that’s a grandmaster Zen skill.

Here at MarketSmiths, we love addressing the reader in the second person (“you”), pruning out distancing corporate speak, and cutting straight to the heart. Unprofessional? No sir. If done with skill and nuance, the result is smart, accessible, and most importantly, desirable.

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Jean Tang

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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