What Adopting a Dog and Good Copywriting Have in Common

Ranger 9 mos

Ranger, the dog we adopted. Check, check and check!

I still remember the day my husband and I decided to adopt our first dog together.

We excitedly pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down everything we were looking for:

  • Two ears
  • Two eyes
  • A nose
  • A mouth
  • Four legs (but three are okay)
  • A tongue
  • A tail (long preferred but short is fine, too)

Just kidding. This was totally not our list. Because, really, who does that?

But what if this had been our list? Almost every dog on the planet has all these attributes. How would we possibly decide between one dog and another based on these features? This approach would just be ridiculous and non-productive.

Yet I see this exact same thing happen time and again when businesses – even large, well-established ones – promote their products and services.

They focus on features instead of how the potential customer will benefit from the product.

For example, the other night I watched a commercial from a well-known pet company that proudly exclaimed that its food is nutritious.

To which I say, “Yeah, so…?”

What does that mean for me as a consumer? There are countless dog food companies claiming the same thing. Why would I pick Dogfood A over Dogfood B if they’re both nutritious? If they’re both equal, maybe I’ll just decide based on price.

But what if Dogfood A went a bit further by taking me on an emotional journey? What if they told me how the nutrition in their food would help keep my dog healthy, which in turn means I might have many more years with my beloved companion? Because isn’t that what every dog parent wants?

Promoting the benefits of something answers the age-old question consumers are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

When I’m writing copy, I get to the heart of the matter by saying to myself, “Yeah, so…?”

For example:

This dog toy is tough! (Yeah, so…?”) So it can stand up to the toughest chewers. (Yeah, so…?) So it can keep your dog happy for hours. (Yeah, so…?) So you can feel good about how you’re treating your dog.

While you may not always put the ultimate benefit in your copy, just knowing what that benefit is will help you write better copy. (Yeah, so…?) So you can sell more product. (Yeah, so…?) So your business will be successful. (Yeah, so…?) So you can feel financially secure and enjoy all the good things in life with your pets.

See what I did there?

Your turn: What are some of the benefits of your product or service? Tell me in the comments.

Event Guide

Client: Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration
Project: 2008 Arts Guide (below is an excerpt from the 16-page tabloid-size guide)