Tiddles the cat: “Over at house #4, Jeffrey was trying to get his laptop keyboard to work. Yesterday evening his wife Millicent threw half a bottle of mint mouthwash over him as he sat in his bed listening to a documentary about Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer James Watt.”

Copywriter Ted ‘Mad Dog’ McTeddy is in the bathroom brushing his teeth before bedtime. He’s had a very busy day working on copywriting projects and is now looking forward to reading a little before dropping off into a nice long sleep.

As he brushes, he becomes aware of Tiddles the strange little talking cat sitting on the bath ledge. As per usual, whether he likes it or not, she’s started sharing her daily review of her travels through Content Crescent, the street on which Copywriter Ted lives.

The copywriter is always unsure how to react to the stories Tiddles brings back with her. This is especially the case with the fractious goings-on between university chancellor Jeffery and his hyper-aggressive college dean wife Millicent at #4.

“Millicent was angry about a library book Jeffrey had taken out for her. She’d wanted to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood but he’d accidentally brought back a book by Margaret Drabble which was apparently a rather depressing study of old age and death.”, continues Tiddles.

Copywriter Ted – spirited library frequenter and passionate tooth cleaner – grimaces a little as he thinks of poor Jeffrey’s terrible mistake. Reminding Millicent of her age and mortality was like poking a hornet’s nest. He’d well and truly struck a pain-point.

The copywriter is reminded why striking a pain-point is terribly bad news for Jeffrey but when it comes to good copywriting, targeting pain-points is actually a very sensible thing to do, within reason.

Customers or potential clients are generally looking for solutions to problems or desires they have. They want answers. They want the problem to be fixed and they want the desire to be satiated, but sometimes they don’t realise just how much they need the solution.

Which means they might delay, or dither, or even decide they can do without. This means you lose a new customer or client unless you help to persuade them just how much they need your product or service, and quickly.

A good copywriter does this by highlighting the common problems a particular target market has and gently massaging the related pain/desire-points before then introducing the perfect solution.

Tiddles continues: “After accusing Jeffrey of being a sociopath and trying to drive her mad, she’d retreated to the living room where she’d marinated in her fury. A few hours later, she exploded, and poor Jeffrey found himself in a very sticky minty mess.”

Great copywriting excites and agitates. It stops prospects dithering and persuades them to take action. They may leave their computer for a little while but your company’s products/services are still racing through their minds.

Eventually, maybe a few hours later, they say something like “Damn it, let’s get it” or “Okay, let’s hire them, they’re perfect”. They can’t wait any longer.

That’s the power of persuasive copy that touches pain-points and then immediately shows how they can be relieved, as opposed to mere information presented matter-of-factly on a page.

Unfortunately for Jeffrey, he was Millicent’s pain-point, and there was little any copywriter could do about that.

Ted finishes his dental ablutions and tucks himself into bed.

He reads a page from The Copywriter’s Guide to High Society Clients before turning off the light and falling asleep.

The talking cat is nowhere to be seen.

You’ve been reading an episode in The Copywriter’s Cat series.

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