5 Billy Joel songs that will make you a better copywriter

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When the Piano Man isn’t trying to pull uptown girls or insist it wasn’t him that started the fire, he has a surprising amount to say about copywriting. Listen and learn.

1. Tell her about it

‘Listen boy / It's not automatically a certain guarantee / To insure yourself / You've got to provide communication constantly’

Great copywriting starts with a great brief. Don’t leave it to the client to give you the information you need about their product or service. Interrogate them. Ask questions (especially ‘stupid’ ones). Until you’re 100% clear about the benefits of what you’re selling (whether it’s a product or an idea) to the people you’re writing to.

2. Just the way you are

‘I don't want clever conversation / I never want to work that hard / I just want someone that I can talk to / I want you just the way you are’

Whatever tone of voice you use for the project, make sure it’s human. Plain English will speak to your audience in a way they can understand. And it’ll get your message across quicker. Only use jargon if it helps build familiarity and trust with your audience. 99% of the time, it just gets in the way of clear communication.

3. Big shot

‘You had to have the last word, last night / So much fun to be around / You had to have a white hot spotlight / You had to be a big shot last night’

Your copy is not about you. It’s about your client and, more importantly, your audience. Leave your ego at the door and make sure your words are focused on one thing only - getting your reader to take action.

4. The entertainer

‘Ah, it took me years to write it / They were the best years of my life / It was a beautiful song / But it ran too long / If you're gonna have a hit / You gotta make it fit / So they cut it down to 3:05’

Your client will make changes to your beautifully crafted copy. You won’t always agree with them. But they’re paying your bills, so suck it up and move on.

5. Honesty

‘I don't want some pretty face / To tell me pretty lies / All I want is someone to believe’

Make sure your client can backup your sales pitch. Promising the reader the earth and not delivering will lose their trust and business. Yes, dial up the benefits of what you’re selling. But steer clear of lies. No one likes a fibber.

Need a copywriter to add some rock ‘n’ roll to your content? Let’s talk.

Richard Steelecopywriting