>(Always) The New Kid on the Block

5 03 2009

>Many writers hone themselves out a nice living space in a specific style, medium or subject area. The idea being, I presume, to “do one thing and do it well.” I have found myself wondering if this parental-advice turned practice applies to a career in copywriting.

While I definitely agree that it’s commendable to be the “best” or most-accomplished at one specific area of writing, it seems to me that a career in copywriting demands more than finding your niche. A successful copywriter has to be a chameleon, able to fit in immediately and effectively with a new audience. In other words, a good copywriter should be able to blend to the market, voice and language necessary for their projects.

My sister-in-law grew up an army brat, moving from place to place, always having to fit in with the ranks of local kids that had known each other for years. In order not to look or sound like the “new kid”, she had to adapt and adopt the local lingo and behaviors. Copywriting requires the same type of adaptation for success.

Copywriting needs to fit. It needs to fit the medium, it needs to fit the subject and it needs to fit the audience. If you speak to your hospital administrators the way you would fourth graders on Nickelodeon.com, it’s just possible that the school bully might call you out in their own blog. Drawing attention to the fact that you just “moved” to the writing neighborhood can end your “social” life there quickly.

To write actionable and effective copy, do a little research. Web 2.0 tools allow you to see and hear your target market in their social groups. Learn their lingo and passions and you’ve got your introduction.

When it’s time to move on, no matter how long you’ve “lived” in one area of writing, remember that you know exactly how to get popular with the new kids. By learning their language and adapting to the customs of your target, you’ll be in with the “IN ” crowd wherever you go.

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