A copywriting quick win: Switch “I”, “we” and “our” for “you” and “yours”
What I’m about to share with you is an incredibly simple writing technique that you can put into practise today.
It’s a small change but has a big impact and it’s the first thing you’re taught on any copywriting, content marketing, media writing, or journalism course.
And I should know, because I’ve completed courses in all those disciplines during my 10-year writing career.
So what’s the one writing technique all these different copy styles have in common?
Always talk to your audience in your writing. Use the word “you” to achieve this.
That’s it. If you’re satisfied you’ve heard enough to start tinkering with your marketing copy, go ahead and change some of the “I”, “we” and “our” statements to “you” and “yours”. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you for next week’s article. (Just let me know if there’s a shift in your analytics.)
For those wanting to know why, let’s talk personal pronouns
Truth is, your business isn’t really about you. Rather, it’s about your customer.
Everything you create for your company – your branding, services, products, marketing, merch – should be done for the benefit of your customer.
When it comes to your copy, establish this way of thinking quickly and easily by using personal pronouns.
Can’t quite remember the rules around pronouns? No problem. There are first-person pronouns (I, me, my, mine, we, our, ours, us), second-person pronouns (you, your, yours), and third-person singular (he, she, it, his, hers, him and her) and plural (they, theirs, them).
Don’t worry too much about third person. What you need to be using more of is the second and a little less of the first.
Quite simply there are few words in the world of marketing that have such an impact as the word “you”.
The reasons being:
- It’s actively engages your customer
- It personalises the content
- It allows your audience to quickly and simply relate what your offering to their own life.
As an example, read the following sentences and consider which one hooks you that little bit better.
Option A: We carefully check our handmade cakes to make sure they meet our high standards.
Option B: Your event deserves beautiful handmade cakes that meet your high standards.
Think about it. And think about why one works better than the other.
I’ll pop the answer at the end of the article to confirm your thinking.
Put those personal pronouns to work
What I’d like you to do now is open up your website, a marketing email you’ve written, or even a blog article.
Highlight or ring every ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘I’.
Now, the tricky bit: deciding which ones to ditch and switch to second person. Some sentences may need a complete rewrite so it still makes sense. And that’s OK. Once you get into the swing of it, identifying the changes you need to make get easier.
Last point: you don’t need to transform every first-person pronoun to second. There’s not hard and fast rule regarding ratios. As long as “you” outnumbers “I” or “we”, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
Be confident with your changes
Hopefully you’ve found this copywriting quick win easy to implement. Feel you’ve got it right? Awesome. Send that copy into the world.
Not sure if your copy is quite right? No problem, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help or give it a quick read.
Get more conversational copywriting tips
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PS: The answer to which cake copy is better is Option B.
The reason is because you’re talking about the wants and needs of the audience, making it more relevant to them.