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A is for: Authenticity

In a world full of fakes - be authentic.

Copywriting is the creation of words to convey a message about a product, service or offer that requires the reader to act - whether to order that book, buy that new gadget, book that appointment or donate to that cause. The basis of copywriting is the formation of a relationship between reader and writer that starts at the first word, slides smoothly to a call to action and ends with a consequence of the interaction. Think of it as a bit like speed-dating, “do you come here often?” quickly escalates to “will you marry me?” - what happens in between needs to be a connection and relationship.

You had me at hello.

Like most relationships, that between writer and reader in advert or marketing copy must be built on trust. Just as you wouldn’t marry someone you don’t trust, you are very unlikely to make a purchase or take action from an advert unless you have been shown a reason you can trust the writer and therefore the business or brand.

For your reader to trust you, you must be authentic. Disingenuous people are not trustworthy and no-one trusts or believes someone who just pays lip-service. In order to build trust within the short opportunity of copy, you must be authentic in your offer. Authenticity is about being real and human. To build trust you must show that you understand your reader’s problem and connect with them on an emotional level. To validate your authenticity as the solver of their problem, you must be able to show you can meet their needs.

Consider the following:

A) Mobile phone reception dropping out? Switch to us and we can guarantee 24-7 network coverage.

B) Can’t get through to Gran due to no phone reception? We take away your worry. Switching to us is quick and easy – leaving you free for a catch-up with your loved ones, any time you need.

In the examples above, A is a quick message. Yes it does the job – it identifies a problem and it delivers the message that the brand can fix that. But nothing about it relays trust. It fails the ‘So what? ‘test. It’s good – but it’s not authentic.

Option B has a much more personal element. What does poor mobile coverage really mean on a human scale? Ok it means that annoying moment when you look at your phone and there’s no bars and that annoying dead tone. But what it really it means not being able to talk to people you care about, when you need to. It can mean worry, stress and fear. In option B, the brand recognises this and indicates that it knows what really matters to the reader – communicating with loved ones. Already that authenticity and trust is beginning to build due to this. What’s more, it goes on to validate this message with a promise that is far less corporate-speak than ‘we guarantee’ and much more relationship-based – they take away your worry. Feeling better already? Now for the stinger. What’s the personal benefit of trusting them? (note, not a feature, a benefit) More time to talk to those you love whenever you want.

Authenticity can be established by communicating to your reader that you understand their emotional worries and can relieve their stress and problems. If you are a business or brand that has been operating for some time, you can prove this and build on your authenticity further with case studies, testimonials and storytelling. Adding the human element removes your brand away from a face-less, corporate money-grabbing image and authenticates your business as humans helping other humans because they understand and care. Oh and authenticity isn’t something you can fake – you have to really know your audience, care about your audience or even be your audience to truly be authentic. Think more long-term engagement than whirlwind-romance.

So kicking off the alphabet for us is A for Authenticity – an essential element in good copywriting whether you are selling a network provider, a car or are a charity asking for donations. Be authentic. It’s what makes relationships work.


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