Be Smart About Art

Copywriting lessons from a pub blackboard

written by: Susan Mumford June 25, 2017 Sunday blog - The art world in bite-sized stories 624 views

Copywriting lessons from a pub blackboard

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here

Earlier today I jogged to a local farmer’s market and back to pick up veg for the week. As I arrived, I noticed a sign outside a local pub:

Pub sign reads: "Sunday Roast Sold Here"

This prompted me to look at the wording on the other side of the sign, which read:

Sign reads: "Join Us On Social Media For All Our Updates"

What stood out was a) the unnecessary use of the words “Sold Here”, because they’re hardly likely to be giving it away for free, and b) a failure to address or entice the viewer (me in this case).

A quick search on Instagram for the hashtag #SundayRoast presented the following examples:

“Reggae & Roasts
Every Sunday 12 – 6”

“Sunday Roast
Served Here Every Sunday
We take taste personally
#onlyatfullers”

“Sunday Social
Amazing Roasts, Our Incredible House Band, Bloody Marys, Board Games and The Sunday Papers
The Perfect Start and End To Your Week”

“Sunday Roasts
Roasts are available to eat in or takeaway…
But when they’re gone they’re gone!”

And from Sunday last week:

“Today Is All About Your Dad.
Why Not Treat Him To A ROAST?”  

What’s different from the sign I saw earlier today? These Instagram examples are directed at me, the potential customer, and are targeted at my needs and interests.  

While “Sunday Roast Sold Here” might be factual, it’s not enticing. The pub from today’s story is opposite a farmer’s market, so finding ways to attract market goers would be smart. (Think: locally-sourced meat or veg, supporting small farms, etc.)

And what about the social media side of the sign? The pub invites passers-by to follow them on social media to stay updated. But WHY would anyone be interested in the first place? The key here is to give a reason to follow, for instance staying in the know about events taking place, not missing special meal offers and the like.  

What’s the point of this detailed critique of a pub sign? It’s this:

When creating copy that’s designed to prompt people to act (to visit your show, join your mailing list, attend an event, support a cause, etc), write it from their perspective, not yours. This applies to professional and personal projects alike.

It may not come naturally, so you need to make a point of reading copy from your audience’s perspective. Write out something and then read it like you’re someone walking past, seeing it for the first time. Would it speak to that person? If not, re-write however many times necessary to make it speak to people.

Some good news? The more you do it, the easier it gets. 

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