Why personalising copy makes it more powerful

personalising copyLast week, as I browsed in Borders, my eye was caught by a magazine: Time Out – Property Special. Time Out started as a London listings guide, but has now gone global, with weekly magazines from New York to Singapore, a must-consult travel site and a slew of funky guides. And now, they’re listing properties. But it wasn’t the properties that attracted me – it was the people. Meet the Owners, it promised. And that was enough – I was hooked. I even found myself reading dreamily about a house in Hither Green, south London. Now if you’ve ever been to Hither Green, you’ll probably have vowed never to return – unless you live there. For me, there’s an added reason to dislike the place – I failed my first driving test there. And yet, leafing through Time Out, I almost found myself putting in an offer on Margaret’s pebble-dash semi. Almost.

Do you mind if I just take a peek?

People are a powerful draw. Just look at our obsession with celebrities. In the UK alone gossip magazines Heat, Now and Closer each sell over 500,000 copies a week. The reason is simple: we want to know about people’s lives. We’re endlessly curious. Are they like us? Do they share the same concerns? How do they juggle a busy work life and a family? How did they lose 40 pounds in three months? Why are they moving home? Some companies are great at personalising their marketing. Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is a marketing master stroke: it makes ordinary women feel extraordinary. You can even read all about them on the website. Sigrid saved her dad’s life one evening when he was choking in a restaurant. And Julie likes pizza. It’s easy to weave people into copy, and it makes a big difference. It’s what Time Out did in their property special. They’re not listing houses – they’re listing homes, with all the mess and clutter that you’d expect. Plus real people, with real lives. And that changes everything. Even in Hither Green.
  • Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty: click here for more information (and to find out what Lindsey’s favourite colour is).