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May

07

Three Copywriting Tips from “Undercover Boss”


Three copywriting tips from “Undercover Boss”

I’m not a big fan of reality TV, but watching the new CBS show ‘Undercover Boss’ reminded me of three things copywriters can do to write stronger copy.

Each week a CEO goes undercover in his own company to get a better understanding of who his employees are, and how they’re serving their customers.

In the April 4 episode, the CEO of Roto-Rooter goes out and tackles plumbing and sewer work alongside his employees.  He’s not so great at any of it.

Through it all, the CEO recognizes how hard the work is and how hard his employees work.  He is impressed with them at every turn and touched by their life stories.

The lessons for small businesses and copywriters?

Before you ever start writing…

  1. Know your audience.  Best way – you don’t have to go ‘undercover’ exactly like the CEOs do, but research your audience to find out who they really are.  Talk to satisfied users and disgruntled customers.  Conduct a focus group.  Find out your prospects’ dominant emotions. 
  2. Know your product.  Again, go ‘undercover’ to understand your product or service.  Become a customer yourself.  On ‘Undercover Boss’, the CEOs literally get their hands dirty using the company’s product or service, often for the very first time.  And once you start writing…
  3. Sell it emotionally.  The producers at ‘Undercover Boss’ are brilliant at this.  The show tugs at the heartstrings of the viewers, tapping into core positive emotions like generosity and pride.  Remember, people usually buy for emotional reasons (and are later solidified logically.) 

Through it all, the power of the show lies in the one-on-one interaction between the CEO and the individual employees.  Last reminder: always write to one person.

Follow these three simple lessons, and your copy will stand out the way ‘Undercover Boss’ stands out amongst a sea of mediocre (and bad) reality shows.


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