The First Tenet of Copywriting (and Marketing)

copywritingIt’s hard to build your brand and your business if you don’t understand how consumers think. The first step to successfully marketing your business and creating compelling messages that motivate people to purchase your products or services is to understand the first tenet of copywriting (and marketing):

Your product or service is far less important than its ability to fulfill your customers’ needs.

Taking the first tenet of copywriting and marketing further, never forget this:

No one cares about you. They care about how your product or service can help them or make their lives easier or better.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how wonderful your product is if it doesn’t benefit consumers in some way. It’s the copywriter’s job to craft messages that amplify real consumer needs or create perceived needs in consumers’ minds.

It doesn’t matter how proud you are of your membership in the local Chamber of Commerce. Consumers only care about that membership if you can translate it into a message that directly benefits them in some way.

Think of it this way—copywriting is not as much about what you say as how you say it. A talented and experienced copywriter knows the difference and can turn your business’ membership in the local Chamber of Commerce into a compelling benefit that consumers perceive as being imperative in the brand or company that they choose to buy from.

Great Copywriting Is More Than Words

The writing process is actually just a small fraction of the steps necessary to produce effective copy. Great copy is the outcome of a clear understanding of the benefits your product or service delivers to consumers, its differentiators from your competition, the emotional triggers of your customers, and more. In fact, it’s the research, organization, and thought process that happen before pen touches paper that truly dictates copywriting success.

In short, not every writer is a copywriter. It’s a unique form of writing that requires a deep understanding of marketing theory, combined with real-world experience. Your first step to ensuring your marketing messages are as effective as possible is to understand the first tenet of copywriting, and remember that what you think is important about your product and service might not be what is important to consumers.

The recipe for marketing success starts with identifying the right messages, so you can deliver those messages to the right people and at the right time to motivate them to take action. Think about your end goals and prioritize determining why you’re pursuing specific marketing strategies, tactics, and messages first. Your results will be better for it.


  1. says

    Hi Susan,

    I totally agree with you. I sum it up in one word: empathy. Understanding your audience means knowing their pain, their daily routines, and their desires. Without empathy, no marketing or business venture will be intentionally successful. If all marketing could follow this rule we’d permanently do away with the sleaze balls!


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