Skin in the Game: How to Represent Your Copy Clients

Harry Kapur

Harry Kapur, head of writing at Velocity Partners, recognises the challenges of writing on behalf of clients. How do you write with the same conviction, context and insight as the clients you represent?

Skin in the game in content marketing

  • Agencies are a weird kind of business. Companies are effectively asking a group of strangers to be their mouth and speak for them.
  • It’s what makes this job so much fun. The hats you get to wear, the markets you get to see.
  • But there’s a fundamental challenge that all of us need to face up to as copywriters – we don’t have nearly as much context, conviction or insight as the people we’re writing for. We are perpetual outsiders. We are by definition, without skin in the game.
  • And I think that’s an even bigger issue on the internet where authenticity is everything and if you’re even a hair’s breadth away from the right answer your work will probably be completely ignored.
  • We have to represent audiences we’ve never met to the companies that are trying to meet them. We have to own the customer’s best interests even though we’re furthest away from them.

I’d like to talk about some principles and tactics that I use to help my team of B2B writers overcome this problem.

– Researching for opinions, not just facts.
– Honing our own instincts to think like the CEOs and CMOs and CTOs we’re targeting.
– Talking to customers – the obvious but completely underrated fast track to great work.
– Intellectual honesty – bringing rigor to places that aren’t used to seeing it (marketing) and using honesty to hone your own instincts about what good looks like.
– Identifying the timeless templates – the fundamental story structure and behavioural heuristics that are always at play no matter where you’re marketing.

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