Last week, I was the victim of work-placed sexism. But because I am a man, nobody cares. I am, of course, very much joking….. and retelling an anecdote that deals with an issue that crops up now and again in the world of professional copywriting. Some people want a male copywriter for a male audience and a female writer for a female market. But an experienced writer can connect with any audience, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.
The client in question was concerned that, as her target audience were women in their thirties, I may not be able to really understand their motivations, fears and expectations. I’m not saying I understand women in their thirties and I’m sure my wife would agree on that. But I don’t have to.
I do know how people buy things. I understand the decision- making process we all go through when we’re making a serious purchase. And that leads us to the trait most copywriters should really have. It’s empathy.
Know your audience – not just their gender
The practical knowledge we gain about our target audience often comes from the brief and whoever is briefing us. It’s our job to extract as much as possible so we get a solid picture of who we are selling to /appealing to/communicating with. Make no mistake, there is a difference in how you write for men and women and now and then, you hear some classic myths…like….
But men are so simple – just give them the facts and off they go. They just want to get things done fast and they’re all obsessed with price. Getting the best deal and so on. They don’t care about details and emotions and sentence rhythm has no effect on them. Tell them they’re tough and canny and they’re putty in your hands. And as for women – they are just a big ball of hormones. Make them cry and off they buy. Just like that! Write lots of big flowery sentences and tell them how great they are and you’re laughing. Couldn’t be easier.
I am a man, and as it turns out, I have written a lot of construction and heavy engineering copy. I’ve also written for heavy processing and manufacturing companies which traditionally have larger male audiences. But I’ve also done articles for brides-to-be, and digital content for expectant mothers. I regularly write direct mail aimed at women between the ages of 40-60.
So, it’s not my body parts that matter, it’s my brain. Whether your target audience is male or female, trust me or people like me to get through to them. It’s what we do best. Get in touch.