There’s one answer to popular question: “Because your mother isn’t your copywriter.” So in honor of Mother’s Day, here are some reasons your mom is not your copywriter (and a good copywriter won’t be your mom).
[Note: This post does assume a positive, light-hearted role for mothers, for the sake of artistic license. We honor you whether you enjoyed a supportive mom, lost your mom early, or had negative experiences with family and motherhood. I revise and re-publish this post almost every year around Mother’s Day.]
Reason #1: “It’s just fine, honey. Now … you are going to be here for dinner next week, aren’t you?”
Your friends and family don’t want to hurt your feelings. Your mastermind group (and sometimes, alas, your coach) won’t deal with the consequences of saying, “Let’s make some major revisions here.”
Your friends and family realize they just don’t have the experience or qualifications to give you meaningful feedback. They provide encouragement.
Even if they realize your copy seems weak, they often don’t know why. It’s like the time you changed your lipstick and your date said, “You look different – is it your hair?” (Or if you’re a male, you’ve shaved your mustache and your date says, “New shirt?”)
There’s an unwritten rule in business: “Don’t just tell me what’s wrong. Tell me how to fix it.” If you’re not getting paid, will you spend the time to do this?
Reason #2: “Of course he’s brilliant: he’s mine!”
Ideally your copywriter will encourage you to go easy on the adjectives. You’ll see lots of About pages and LinkedIn profiles where business owners describe themselves with adjectives like “caring,” “creative,” and even “brilliant” or “amazing.
This is the Adjective Menace.
Do you find yourself thinking of someone who’s determined to show off photos of all their kids, with a running commentary?
“This is Mark. He’s so intelligent.”
“This is Rose. Isn’t she beautiful?”
When you’re writing copy for business, it’s best to follow the solid copywriting maxim, “Show, don’t tell.” Use stories, examples, case studies, and metaphors.
Your family thinks of you as “the redhead in the family” or “the quirky one.”
But your clients (hopefully) aren’t hiring you because you have red hair or because you are quirky. These branding styles turn the focus to you, not the benefits they’ll get from your new, improved marketing.
BTW, Episode 30 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast covers the topic of branding by quirks – and why I don’t recommend branding as a renegade or maverick. Listen on Apple, Spotify or your favorite platform.
Reason #3: “Let me tell you a story…”
Even when you’re an adult, you might sit up and listen when your mom offers to tell a story about herself, especially her own childhood.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a window into another era: a world before cell phones. A world with paper newspapers, 3 channels on television, and an airplane flight that didn’t feel like a sardine can.
You’ll also hear the downsides: stereotyped roles that assigned women to the kitchen and denied men opportunities to show emotion.
When you were very young, your mom probably told you bedtime stories and fairy tales.
But copywriters who understand the psychology of storytelling do not encourage small businesses to share those stories. Instead, you’ll get more mileage from telling certain types of stories, geared toward your marketing goals and your purpose.
Business stories can be very different from personal stories (For more, visit Episode #60 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast.)
Certain stories will be especially powerful for achieving brand clarity and ending fuzzy brand syndrome. You can download your free guide here.
When your copywriter isn’t your mom, you get results! Click here for my free guide – 3 Big Ways A Copywriter Can Grow Your Small Business.
If you want to become a copywriter yourself, click here to learn more. This affordable course includes a guide to honing your craft as well as marketing your services — all in one accessible on-demand package.
And if you want to give your feisty mom a very special gift…click here for a book she’ll love!