Any copywriter will tell you words are important. Of course, they will. But how many will dig deeply enough to find the right words that connect with the target. That demonstrate to a target they understand, sympathize, empathize and gets the reader? Words can be found in a dictionary. AI copy is not that far away, if it is not here already. Auto AdWords anyone? Good copy is personal.
I heard something on NPR this morning that struck me as a great example of words versus copy. The story was about the shooting of Jayland Walker, a black man, in Akron, OH and this was the lede: “One in one thousand black men in America can expect to be shot by a police officer.” It’s a real smack in the face line of copy — but it must have been written by a white person because it is utterly untrue. I’d say nearly all black men in America worry about being shot by a police officer. Not one in a thousand. Parse the sentence and it may have been accurate — statistically one in one thousand black men may be shot by police. But that’s not what a black man is likely to hear.
We have to listen to our words. We have to try to contextualize our words. That shit isn’t woke. It’s listening and thinking. Think before you type.
Rest In Peace Jayland Walker.