Overcoming the White Page

Overcoming the White Page

The white page. A blank screen and flashing cursor. A slam upside the head sometimes seems like the best way to get the copy started. But a concussion (not recommended) only goes so far.

Get Real

Why is getting real important? Because we have to talk with (not ‘too’ but ‘with’) the reader, listener, or viewer to help them learn about the advertiser and how the advertiser can make their life: easier, better, more fun, more romantic, more lucrative. You must also make the copy must be emotional, which is an easier task the more the copy is real and relatable. We all look up the reviews, but people buy on emotion.

The How

Now we’re back to how to get started. Look around. Get away. Away from the copy notes, away from your familiar, away from your routine, and look around. Sometimes you even need to get away from the computer and wander around a bit, so take a drive. In these travels make notes of what you see – maybe a giant red barn with a rooster weather vane; tire retreads on the side of the highway; a lemonade stand; a shopping cart that works without a squeak or wobble. With your mind’s eye you can ‘see’ each one of these right now. You can relate to each one right now. So can the advertiser’s potential clients. Now use one or more of those everyday experiences in the copy you’re writing.

Real and Relatable

The goal is to make the commercial real, relatable, and real relatable. So it’s okay to put your life experiences into the spot. You’re a real person, so are the people reading, listening, watching. Did the price of lemonade quench your thirst? Does the barn smell? Who collects all the highway trash? Is it a sign of the Apocalypse you found a working grocery cart?

Now relate to your target. As a male how can you relate to a teenage girl? Maybe from a father’s point of view, from a teacher’s, from a cop’s. How can you relate to her as a high school friend? As a woman, can you help men understand the value of conversation?

Don’t overlook the reason

Don’t forget the sell. It is not enough to relate if you don’t also provide a valid emotional reason for the prospect to patronize the advertiser. A positive relationship between the characters in one commercial (even just voice-over music) to the target prospect has to include a reason (an emotional reason) to become a client of the advertiser.

One more thing. Many will disagree when I tell you it does not matter whether the advertiser likes the commercial or not. They don’t need to like or be comfortable with the commercial. Push the boundaries in the right way, they will like the results. Then they renew and let you get even more creative

To Recap

Use real life situations. Be real and relatable. Take a chance, push the boundaries. Then write the next one.