A charity copywriter, editor and communicator that I respect and admire, Gideon Burrows, is starting a new adventure away from his business, ngo.media. I think his ideas and approach will be missed and I wanted to share one of the things he shared about how to find inspiration for great copy, that has stuck with me for several years.
I’m paraphrasing but the session was around where inspiration actually comes from for writing communications that actually engage an audience and get across at least some of the energy, passion and enthusiasm that we all feel working for and with the causes we do. The suggestion was that the writer could think about what triggers the kind of emotions that drive readers to act.
As writers we then need to try and trigger those same emotions in ourselves and then try to write the copy from that ‘inspired’ frame of mind. For some authors this can happen by talking to beneficiaries ro donors. For others it might be a visual reminder of why we got involved with the cause if we’re trying to encourage others to do the same. And the trigger for ‘inspiration’ may not be anything to do with the charity itself.
Here’s a live example that I’ve used recently to support a charity. I needed to come up with a story about how paying attention to the little things could make a huge positive impact on the lives of animals. If neighbours just kept an eye out for stray animals or those in difficulty, we could expect to see the kind of scenes reflected in the picture of these properly cute puppies.
I don’t know if these are rescue animals or not but that’s not the point… for me the emotional trigger that I could use in the copy came from my imagination of the story that went with this photo. They could be pets reunited with a distraught owner having been stolen by the growing number of pedigree dog thieves. Or they could all now be healthy having been found neglected in a barn somewhere.
I then tried to reflect some of the joy of the reunion or the now-healthy animals in the writing…
What examples do you use to trigger and harness the right emotions in your writing? And thanks again Gideon for sharing your experiences.
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