Here’s a simple post on selecting the right person to write for you. There are writers, there are copywriters, and there are property copywriters. Profound, huh?
As with all things, someone with experience – as it were – in the field, should have a better understanding of your industry and where your company sits within it. There’s a clear advantage in working with someone who, from the very start, knows what you’re talking about, has some idea of the challenges you face, and will know where you’re trying to get to.
If you ran a car dealership, music magazine or pregnancy advice service, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. I could run up some text for sure, but it would come with no in-built experience or user knowledge. So while I might produce something quite readable, or indeed a veritable masterpiece of exquisite prose, I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be something missing from it. And that missing something would most likely be the thing that made the difference.
Same with property. I find most copy in property brochures and on the websites of estate agents and housebuilders (with some notable exceptions), pretty diabolical. Constant over-use of “stunning”, “highest possible standards”, “new lifestyle” and what-have-you. This sort of text is written by marketing agencies – not copywriters – who want to please their client. The text doesn’t really help to sell the property, because everyone’s heard it all before. And when placed alongside images of fresh lemons and people touching their toes while smiling, conforms neatly to the one-size-fits-all marketing materials that grace the property world. Almost every brochure is the same as the next, and if you changed the address on the front and a few pictures, you’d basically have your next project completed. Buyers notice it. I’ve had people refuse the offer of a brochure because the pictures and copywriting – while in abundance – are about as genuinely informative as a party political broadcast.
Having been an estate agent for 25 years, and writing within the property industry for about 20 of those, I got to see first-hand what worked, and what didn’t. I’ve been everything from spot-on to hugely wide of the mark. I’ve made some interesting errors of judgement, been too whacky, too clever, too abstract, even too ‘groovy gang’ as a colleague once put it. But then I’ve also learnt through those mistakes and successes to see where and how copywriting can and does make a difference – good or bad.
So when a client – or potential client – chats away about their property business for 30 minutes, telling me what they’d like to achieve, or where things aren’t working, I’ve probably been there myself. That makes a real difference to me, because I can get right into where the client is coming from in the copy I write. And it makes a massive difference to the client to have someone working with them who is not just trying to please, but someone who truly understands what it is that they want to say, and should be saying.
That’s what you should be looking for in any property copywriter you work with, or indeed with anyone you work with at all.