A time for empathy

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

There are several traits I can think of that separate great copywriters from those who are simply average.

One of them is the ability to practice empathy.

As a copywriter, you are often writing to a prospect who is different from you. And you're often writing to them about a problem that is one you've never experienced.

So, if you do it right, you invest a lot of time and research into figuring out WHO this person is...what their deepest wishes and desires are...what their biggest frustrations and fears are...what they've tried before that hasn't worked...and so forth.

Put simply, you do everything you can to "walk a mile in your prospect's shoes" so you can empathize...and write to them in a way that resonates and motivates them to action.

Well, the world needs people who can empathize more than ever right now.

People like you, who can empathize with those who are different from you...whose experiences have been very different from your own...and who are dealing with different, and often chronic, fears and frustrations that are, in many cases, based on the color of their skin.

The world needs us to stand together, and confront the horrible virus of racism for what it is at its core: ignorance.

As copywriters, let's do our "research". Let's expand our understanding. Let's think for ourselves, and not be influenced by things that may feel good "in the moment" or that play to our emotions.

Let's seek the truth. Let's abolish ignorance. And let's practice empathy.

As a white woman, I know I've benefited from a certain amount of privilege that people of color haven't enjoyed.

And I'm reflecting on whether I've always been as empathetic as I could be.

I know it's not easy to walk a mile in others' shoes that I've never had to wear.

Here's one thing I'm re-framing in my mind...

I've said before, when interviewed, that one of the things I love about copywriting and direct response is that numbers don't lie.

The results for your copy come in, and no one responding knows or cares if it's written by a white, black, or brown man or woman. The results are truly "color-blind" (and "gender-blind").

But there's a problem with that statement. It's the fact that black and brown copywriters don't always get those opportunities to write copy in the first place, or as easily as white copywriters often can get them.

This needs to change.

I'd love to be a part of this step towards positive change, and creating more opportunities for all copywriters, regardless of who they are or what they look like.

So I'm encouraging you and others not just to write better copy by researching your "avatars" and using empathy in a persuasive way...

...but by making it a way of life.

And if you can help lift more people up that you come in contact with, whether it's mentoring other copywriters, or hiring them to write copy for your business, let's spread those opportunities around more fairly.

For my part, I'll continue to share my copywriting insights freely here...and promise to get back to writing you more regularly.

I'm sitting on a "What's in Kim's Mailbox" promo I'm looking forward to sharing with you, and have plans for my 100th issue of Copy Insiders coming your way soon...

I've just had other things on my mind, as I'm sure you have, too.

Yours for smarter marketing,


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