Meet Domino, my new ten-year-old rescue cat.
After a couple of weeks, I noticed he was unusually twitchy. He had these episodes every couple of evenings for a few minutes where he licked frantically, his back muscles rippled and he kicked his back legs uncontrollably.
So I turned to Dr Google, as you do, and discovered there is a rare condition called Twitchy Cat Syndrome (aka feline hyperesthesia syndrome, twitch-skin syndrome and psychomotor epilepsy).
All his symptoms matched, so I asked about it at the vet. I told them I thought it was twitchy cat syndrome. They each told me: ‘ That’s unlikely, it’s very rare.’
Vet number 1 said it was fleas.
Vet number 2 said it was dry skin and prescribed fish oil capsules.
Vet number 3 said he’d been poisoned, and that I needed to take him in for immediate treatment at the cost of several hundred pounds. I told them it had been going on for weeks so couldn’t possibly be poison.
Vet number 4 said he needed a blood test, and shaved his magnificent ruff to stick the needle in his throat. Results came back clear.
Vet number 5 said he needed a urine test. (Getting urine from a cat is another story.) Results showed scarily high levels of calcium and they told me he could explode at any point with blocked kidneys or bladder. (That’s not what they said, but it is what they implied.)
Vet number 6 said he needed an ultrasound scan to see if he had bladder or kidney stones, so they shaved his leg (for the drip), belly and flank. Results were clear. They also told me his calcium levels were back to normal.
At this point, my poor cat had lost most of his fluffy good looks. Any my bank account was about £1000 worse off.
Vet number 7 said: ‘I agree it’s twitchy cat syndrome, I’ll send your videos to the neurologist to confirm it – free – and decide a treatment’.
Neurologist said: ‘It’s twitchy cat syndrome. Give him this medicine costing £30’.
The medicine works. He’s hardly twitchy at all now.
What are the lessons from this experience?
- When you buy a rescue pet you don’t know what you’re getting
- Dr Google is sometimes right
- Be persistent
What about copywriting lessons?
Aha, now we’re getting to the point.
Usually, when you send a sales message via email, you’d write a subject line using the word ‘you’. One that answers ‘what’s in it for me’ from the reader’s point of view. One that explains the value they’ll get when they open it.
However, when you send a regular tipsheet to people who already know you, it’s OK to use a subject line including the word ‘I’. In fact, I’d recommend it.
Last month’s WWW tipsheet was entitled “I woke at 4am” and got 34.4% open rate (open rates are always higher than reported because some people read it in preview mode and are not counted).
The month before was called “Making B2B copywriting work”. You’d think more people would be interested in that, but no. It got 33.1% opens.
“#Bekind, four stories and Twitter” got 31.6%”, and “Saving the planet, what role can copywriting play?” got just 27.6%”.
Top tip: Use “I” headlines for ‘warm’ emails.
The next lesson is about storytelling. Stories work well in newsletters, blog posts and social media posts. We grew up with them, they’re part of our culture. If you read to the end, it shows the cat story was written in a compelling way.
Top tip: Tell stories. To bring your stories to life, use dialogue. It makes your story more real and more compelling.
It’s OK to break the traditional rules of grammar and have a paragraph that comprises only one sentence.
Or even a few words.
Or just one.
Because long paragraphs are OK for print but hard to read on screen.
So, when writing anything to be read online, break it into small paragraphs (no more than 3-5 lines). You need plenty of white space. Short sentences. Short words. But mix it up a bit so it doesn’t get boring.
Top tip: Email it to yourself and read it on your mobile phone (because that’s where lots of people will be reading it).
On the subject of health and wellbeing (for humans and pets), Julie joined my team this year. She specialises in writing copy and social media posts for wellbeing clients. She’s already working with Kay (another member of my team) to write newsletters, social media posts and other content for a local chiropractor.
BTW, Julie has a rescue dog. I hope her dog is less costly than my cat.
More about Copywriting for wellbeing