Friday, March 27, 2009

Technical Copywriter

Richard Laurence Baron, Technical Copywriter, Houston. A bit of a ring there. But let’s leave aside that, for so many, many years, my slogan has been, “If it smells bad, weighs a ton or is hard to pronounce, I work on it.”

Technical copywriting is one thing I do, though I tend to view this discipline in marketing terms. Instead of writing Feature-Advantage-Benefit (FAB), I generally write Benefit-Advantage-Feature. “BAF” is not nearly as nice-sounding but clients’ customers really do want to read about what’s in it for them, first.

This…identification barrier…is cultural. No matter how often I say I’m a business-to-business copywriter or an advertising copywriter, far more people get “Technical Copywriter” when B2B leaves ‘em dead in the water.

For the longest time, back in my BBDO days, I was “Writer-in-a-Drum.” I created advertising for the stuff that nobody else wanted to touch…like data storage media (3M) instead of the far sexier Scotch-brand video tape. Heavy-duty truck lubricants instead of consumer-oriented gasoline. And massive flour milling equipment instead of baked goods.

There are a dozen or more books under the heading, “So you’d like to be a…Technical Copywriter.” I’ve never written one of these. After three-plus decades, I know that writing marketing copy for complex tools, chemicals and systems is as much an art form as a science.

There’s no cookbook per se. Just a lot of experience with valves (refinery and heart), software (geophysics and RPGs), chemicals (syngas production and beer production) and healthcare (surgery centers and hearing aids). It's all about looking at drill bits, bytes or beam-welders from different angles.

I am Industrial-Strength Writer. I am Technical Copywriting Houston. Right now…I am taking the weekend off.

Propellers, Fernand Leger, 1918.

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Sure enough, the Leger painting is sideways (or "differently viewed").