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‘Talk about benefits, not features.’ It’s one of the golden rules of copywriting. Because people don’t care about the details, they care about what your product/service/widget can do for them.

So, if youre selling broadband, dont bang on about ‘20 meg download speeds’, just explain that ‘youll be able to watch Netflix without any buffering problems’.


Its fine as a rule of thumb, but it ignores the fact that actually, most benefits, no matter what youre talking about, are pretty much the same: this product/service/widget will make you smarter/save you time/make you more attractive/give you more enjoyment. That pretty much covers it, doesnt it?

The most interesting writing tends to sit in the blurry bit between features and benefits – when the features imply the benefits. Here’s an example.

Theres a café near where I live that serves the ‘three-mile breakfast’. Its called the three-mile breakfast because all the ingredients used in it are sourced within a three-mile radius of the café.

Technically, its a ‘feature’ – it just tells you a fact about the breakfast. But its a feature that implies a whole host of benefits.

* Your fry-up is likely to be fresher and tastier because the ingredients havent had to travel so far.

* You can eat with a clear eco-conscience because the food miles are low (and the ingredients are likely to be organic).

* Eating here might well be fun/cool/interesting because the people who work here haven’t just gone for the standard ‘full English breakfast’.

The quirky ‘three-mile’ detail is a feature that works much harder than any generic benefit ever could.

I suppose ‘talk about benefits, not features, except when your reader will understand the benefit implicitly and the feature is more interesting’ isnt such a snappy rule of thumb, though.

0 min read, posted in Writing tips, by Admin, on 1 Oct 2014