Did you ever hear the phrase: “Sometimes you just need to sell the damn thing”?
I heard it from John Carlton… a phrase he and Gary Halbert used to say often when they were writing ads together.
It’s a response to the idea that there are a million ways to talk about a product, and you could stay stuck in the “creative planning” portion of writing an ad forever waiting for the greatest Big Idea to emerge from the heaven’s on the wings of your muse… a dusting of magic fairy sparkles wafting down as you declare to the empty room: “I’ve got it!”
You could also spend months deep-diving research to determine the exact level of “market sophistication” and “problem awareness” and “solution awareness” and all the other awarenesses that are sometimes important to the ad, but most often just help super intense copywriters feel aware of how super intense their work is.
But other times none of that hand wringing is needed, and you just need to sell the damn thing.
Case in point…
Last week the city’s tree cutting crew was in our neighborhood trimming branches away from power lines. Before they arrive, another crew goes around to find the poles that hold up these power lines so that the tree trimming crew doesn’t jab their power saw into something that’s going to light them up like Wile E. Coyote falling for one of Road Runner’s traps.
Let’s imagine how many different ways a local government agency could come up with to identify these poles to prevent this tragedy from happening…
I mean, this is serious stuff.
You’ve got all kinds of people overseeing this process… insurance companies, safety inspectors, the Mayor’s office, Gladys across the street…
Not to mention, the families of your trimming crew! Who sincerely wonder each time they watch their loved one walk out to that utility truck if they’ll be returning home that night.
Power Lineman is listed as the 10th most dangerous job… police officer is #22.
So, it’s fair to say that marking power poles is one of the most important “ads” you could write.
And with all the technology available today, there must be all kinds of ways to deliver that message.
I picture a team of dweebs from the “communications department” sitting around a table pitching ideas to the power line crew foreman…
Dweeb 1: Hey! You could add a beacon to every pole that sends a signal to workers so they never miss a pole buried behind trees.
Foreman: That would be brilliant! Until a squirrel gnaws the beacon loose or the signal gets buried under months of pigeon squirt.
Dweeb 2: Okay. I got one… what if you painted the poles bright orange, like a hunting vest, so the crews would be sure to see them.
Foreman: Yes, Gladys and friends would love how that beautifies the area. I can literally see the petition filling with signatures right now.
Dweeb 3: We could utilize Facebook’s geofencing ad system and link to custom maps where the—
Foreman: Get out! I mean it. Leave the room. We’ll do this our way.
Next day a guy named “Schmitty” gets a can of spray paint and goes out to sell the damn thing like this…
So, remember… sometimes your ad needs several months and all 9 phases of the ad writing process…
And sometimes you just need to go sell the damn thing.
Knowing when to use which approach will save you lots of time, money, and could even save lives.
Our “training dashboard” in Copy Chief has trainings to guide you through all 9 phases of the ad writing process (for times when you’re launching new products or challenging control ads)… or two-sentence selling statements you can use everywhere.
Either way, we’ve got your back…
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