Cheat words to make your copy more muscular
You know the client: he’s an entrepreneur, in his early 30s, and has a dream. He wants website or brochure copy that appeals (mainly) to blokes.
You write beautiful copy that addresses the brief but your writing is elegant and restrained or is peppy but lacks punch. Your client wants more.
So how do you make your copywriting more attractive to blokes?
You cheat…by using words or phrases that sound and look more aggressive. Write your copy as usual, then replace sibilant sounds with stronger words.
Here are some words and phrases that will make sure your copywriting belts out the message and caters to men.
Robust: Guys like ‘strong’; they understand that. ‘Robust’ packs more of a punch.
Tough: You have to spit this word. It sounds like what it is: tough.
Integrated: Good hard consonants, albeit with a soft start.
Packs a punch: Apart from the inherent aggression in this phrase, the sounds are what we call ‘plosive’ so they sound more aggressive.
Takes the cake.
Bucks the trend.
Package. Note the combination of plosive ‘p’ and hard consonants in ‘c’ and ‘k’.
Attractive (rather than ‘appealing’).
Powerful. Another plosive in the ‘p’ so not only is this word powerful in itself, but also, it sounds powerful.
Beats the competition (over ‘wins the race’, for example); good plosive and hard consonant in ‘beat’ plus two hard consonants and a plosive in ‘competition’.
Partner (not ‘associate’ with all its sibilants).
Process (rather than ‘assemble’).
Daily (rather than ‘everyday’).
Other copywriting stand-by words include clever, deadline, deal, deep, dump, duty, deadlock, dedicated, good, got, great, hardy, helpful, item, muscular, peak, portal and top.
The above list isn’t comprehensive and there’s a bit more to catering to men than just butching up your copy – but I’m sure you’ve got the idea. (For those of you with an interest in etymology, you’ll have noticed that I use more gutsy Anglo-Saxon words than those of French derivation.)
When I write copy, my words are intentional and I get upset if someone changes them. I’m not alone: read what David Ogilvy wrote to a client back in 1955 about his copywriting practices.
What words would you add to the list?