Show, Don’t Tell: Why a Capabilities PDF Won’t Produce Copywriting Results

Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)

A ball of discarded paper and a pen
Source: Lalesh Aldarwish,


Recently, the founder of MarketSmiths listened to a presentation by a sales representative for managed IT services. By the end of it, she had a great idea of what his company does—installing servers, designing cloud solutions, strategizing disaster plans, managing networks—and who they do it for (small to mid-sized businesses).

But she hadn’t a clue how his services could benefit our copywriting agency.

If you’re like many service providers, you do X, Y, and Z exceptionally well. But giving your readers a laundry list of these capabilities—then telling them how well you perform these services won’t produce swift results.

As most copywriters know, simply listing the features of your product isn’t going to make people buy it. Explaining the benefits of each feature—or those same features, set against your audience’s context, key pain points, um, life—and your product will likely fly off the shelves.

The same goes for services. If you highlight how your service will make life easier for your audience—and how it will boost their brand—your phones will be ringing off the hook.

SERVICES COPYWRITING: Prove It in Practice, Not in Theory

You probably already know everything in this post. But it’s one thing to know, and it’s another to DO it—especially when it comes to your own brand. There are various advantages to benefit-based marketing (see, we’re already doing it):

  1. Capabilities only identify the realm you’re in. From a capabilities list, a reader can identify you as being in IT—maybe even managed IT services. But they ignore the readers’ context—and fail to relate. Provide the framework for how you can help them, bridging that gap between your services and their bliss.
  1. Capabilities list services—without presenting them as transformative solutions. Okay, you perform a handful of skills that can help your readers’ businesses. But they’re looking for ways to solve specific problems. Show them how your skills can transform their brands and resolve their particular struggles.
  1. When understood, capabilities commoditize your services. Once commoditized, it’s only a question of pricing. Justify your high premium with unparalleled quality, and add even more value through personalized service. (Referrals can help bump your premium!)
  1. Capabilities lead to expectations. You don’t want clients to have the wrong idea going into a project. A list of capabilities is open to interpretation, but a catalog of detailed solutions lets readers know exactly what they’re getting.

But don’t let us tell you. Let us put this into practice by showing you.

Here’s a list of capabilities:

  • Web copywriting
  • Email blasts/newsletters
  • Blog ghostwriting

So, you’ve got the realm we’re in. But whether or not you’ve ever needed those services, presenting them this way doesn’t motivate the reader in any way/shape/form.

Now, here are some contextual solutions—engaging and tangible.

It’s clear that your capabilities alone don’t carry the same weight as a convincing benefit statement. So, stop spelling them out—instead, transform them into contextual solutions, making the benefits of those services obvious to prospective clients.

If you’d like to learn more about how MarketSmiths’ copywriting services can benefit your brand, please reach out and say hi!

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Ryan Hussey

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