My very first copywriting job was at a real estate agency in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I joined an in-house marketing department of several writers and some admin staff. We worked closely with outsourced photographers and designers.
The company’s owner would tell an anecdote about how this team came about:
One Saturday morning in the early 1990s, he was perusing the real estate pages of the paper, as he always did, when something struck him. Every one of the ads for homes listed by his company began in precisely the same way:
“This stunning 2/3/4-bedroom home in [Suburb Name]…”
Two would have been a coincidence. Three would have been annoying. Every single one demanded action.
Up until that point it was the salespeople who were writing the copy. These agents fueled the business’s engine with their interpersonal and negotiation skills; they didn’t need to be burdened by tasks they had no interest or training in. The owner saw an opportunity to eliminate the proverbial two birds. While removing an unwanted task from his agents’ daily schedules he could make a significant change to the way his company presented itself to the public.
That was the foundation story of the marketing team and, in a way, a foundation stone for the way I thought about professional writing from that moment on. Continue reading