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Copy CAN be clever

You probably know the popular saying, “don’t be clever” in copy, right?

It’s got its reason to be popular and that is because most of the times, it’s true.

Whenever you’re writing copy, you shouldn’t try to be clever.

Rather, you should always aim to be clear, descriptive, use vivid language and most importantly, use conversational language.

But, there’s a subtle nuance to this.

Something only pro copywriters, the true operators know how to do.

It came to mind while reading a lot of Ben Settle’s emails and books.

The guy is all about “infotainment” and how to use it to persuade and engage people.

It got me thinking.

Most of his writing in some way is trying to be clever.

So what is it with the famous saying?

Is Ben going against the grain here? It works for him though.

How can it be that for ages, the top, A list copywriters have been advocating you not to be clever, to try and be as “conversational” in your writing as you humanly can?

Well, the nuanced strategy I was talking about is something I’ve been unconsciously using myself.

Yes, I’m guilty of being clever in my writing sometimes.

But mind you, there’s a reason. And a carefully calculated one at that.

There’s two ways you can be “clever” with copy:

– The smart-ass clever

– The deliberate clever

For example, two headlines I’ve written for a client of mine in the golf industry:

You got balls. Premium golf balls you can afford to lose.

Until you stop sending them into the lakes, we’ll be here for you

Not going to disclose the client’s business name, but just know they sell used golf balls.

Now, you might think, these headlines are just trying to be funny! No way on earth they convert.

Well my friend, this is not “trying to be funny” or clever for that matter.

See, where the smart ass clever copy goes wrong, is that it just tries to be funny, to get your attention.

But it doesn’t connect with you on a deeper emotional level.

What the deliberate clever does, on the other hand, is exactly the latter.

It syncs with the prospects thoughts, at that exact moment.

It vibes with emotion, with vivid images, and with the “baggage” these people carry in their minds when they land on the page.

So, how do you do it? What’s the difference between the smart ass writing and the deliberate type?

It’s about using the audience’s language.

Nothing new, as you might have guessed.

Just a subtle, but powerful difference.

Deliberate cleverness is used when, and only when you know your audience would resonate with your message and find it relevant.

You get this result when you play on words using real voice of customer data.

But still keeping in line with what your audience would find fun.

At the end of the day, copy needs to be persuasive, but persuasive – entertaining copy, beats plain copy any day.

If you want to learn the real-world strategies of how I do this, let’s talk.

brain dump?

Every day (yes!) I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.