Do You Need a Copywriter for Directions to the Emergency Room?

If you are marketing an online business as an army of one…and many of us are…then communicating effectively is critical to your success. Notice that I did not say good writing or good copywriting, but communicating effectively. Is there a difference?

Imagine you are on a business trip in an unfamiliar city. It’s late in the evening and you decide to walk back to the hotel after a dinner meeting. You are in the financial district. The streets are nearly empty.

Suddenly you are short of breath and feel pain in your chest and down your arm. There are only two people nearby. One is a dapper Oxford don in town to receive an award at the university Linguistics Society. The other is a scruffy bum spitting through the holes in his bridgework while fondling a paper bagged bottle of Thunderbird wine.

You plead for directions to the nearest emergency room. The Oxford don in perfectly structured English tells you that he knows less about the area than you do but he’ll make a guess. The bum in a disjointed, distorted sequence of grunts, hacks and gestures tells you he goes to the emergency room all the time. He points to an alley, tells you to travel one block east and turn left directly into the ambulance entrance.

Are you going to tell me that you would give the Oxford don all your attention because his presentation was perfectly styled? Of course not. You hung on every word and gesture from Mr. Thunderbird. You never noticed his grammar was non existent. You never even heard the F-bombs.

What was Mr. Thunderbird doing that the Oxford don was not? He was giving you information you wanted to know…needed to know…right now. He knew something you didn’t and you couldn’t care less how he presented it so long as he got it out.

Chances are whatever you’re marketing online isn’t as critical as directions to the emergency room, but no matter. People will pay attention to what you have to say if you know something they do not and they need or want the information you have.

So forget whatever Miss Trumble told you about your chicken-scratch nonsense writing way back then. Know more about what you’re selling than anybody else online and people will pay attention to what you say.

Of course that’s no reason that you cannot or should not improve your writing skills. You won’t be any less of a communicator, just a better writer, and people will reward you for that with even more business.

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