One of my secret weapons as a copywriter is a certain ‘underground’ group I am a member of.
People join this particular group for all sorts of reasons.
But for me, the best part is all the fascinating insights into human psychology each member regularly dishes out.
I’ve only been a member for a short time, and it’s already made me a much better copywriter.
Now, I’ll tell you what this group is in just a moment.
However, I have to warn you that you’ve probably never heard of it before.
It’s very difficult to become a member of (realistically, impossible for most people).
And membership is invitation-only — you have to know someone who’s already inside.
So … what is this group?
It’s none other than … the private message thread with all the other mums from my kids’ Japanese playgroup.
No, I am not kidding.
As an Aussie guy (albeit one who understands Japanese), being in this group opens me up to a world I would never otherwise have been in … of people whose culture, gender, language, social habits and thought patterns are totally different.
An exceedingly useful thing for a copywriter who needs to understand human psychology.
Now, the standard conversational fare is usually which kid’s birthday party is next, or requests for tips on how to cook okonomiyaki at home.
(Also: idk why this is a thing but they have this really annoying habit where one person will congratulate someone “oh Yukiko, that handmade sushi Pikachu birthday cake you brought today was just divine!” and then EVERYONE has to follow suit. Like I actually get 10 messages in a row all saying “yes, congratulations, it was so good!”. Hayley tells me “yeah that’s just what you do in mothers group chats”. It drives me nuts.)
Anyway … lately, the conversation has turned to the panic buying that’s left many supermarket shelves bare.
And as usual, I found it quite interesting:
One mum wrote “I went shopping yesterday and they were totally sold out of bread for the kids’ lunches! Thankfully I saw there was some Turkish bread, so I bought as much of that as I could.”
Another — who herself had just boasted about how she’d stocked up on medicine — chimed in. “I know right? This is all so scary, I’m sick of everything being sold out.”
A third added: “I wish everyone else would just stop buying so much, so those of us who actually need it can get what we want!”
All without a hint of irony in the fact that they themselves were the root of the problem …
But the big point here isn’t about scarcity mentality, or the ‘tragedy of the commons’ as it’s known.
Rather, it’s something anyone should know before they write copy:
You have to know who your market blames for their problems.
(Hint: it’s rarely themselves.)
And then — if you want to sell to them — you have to show genuine empathy with that.
Even if they’re totally wrong …
Tuck that tip away somewhere you won’t forget it next time you’re writing copy.
And by the way: while knowing who your market blames is important, it’s but a small part of what you need to know if you want to write copy for them.
If you want to know how to do it properly, opt in at this link for a discount when I eventually release my own process for how I figure this out on all my copywriting jobs: