Imagine a kitten.

You decide if it’s black and white, ginger or another colour, and how fluffy it is. What is it doing? Is it curled up asleep, or walking about, sniffing?

Listen very quietly… what can you hear? Is it purring? Meowing? Can you hear its little claws scratching on the surface?

Now, stroke the kitten. Can you feel its velvety little ears, the softness of its fur, the wetness of its nose? Is it scratching or licking your hand?

  • If you could see the imaginary kitten, you were having a visual thought (V)
  • If you could hear the kitten, you were having an auditory thought (A)
  • If you could feel the kitten, you were having a kinaesthetic thought (K)

Most people can all do all of them, but some of us find some modalities easier than others. There’s no right and wrong to any of this. We each have our own preferences.

The important thing to note is that our readers might not be the same as us and to adapt our words accordingly.

As human beings, we take in information via our five senses. As a copywriter, you can use sensory language to make your copy come to life.

  • If you’re writing a job ad for a highly visual job, senior designer, let’s say, you would use words such as: “Can you see yourself sitting at a walnut desk in an ivory tower…”
  • If you’re writing a job ad for a mostly auditory job, one where the employee has to talk a lot, you might say: “How do you like the sound of giving presentations to the Board every week…”
  • And if you’re writing a job ad for a kinaesthetic job, you could say: “How would it feel to be the first person to make 96-year-old Margaret smile for the first time in a fortnight…”

It’s unlikely you’ll write to trigger the sense of taste (gustatory) or smell (olfactory) – unless you’re writing food and drink copy. Jennifer is a new member of my team who specialises in that type of writing, especially for high-end brands.

In that case, you might describe the scent of freshly roasted bread in the mornings, or the sweet tang of mature Cheddar tap-dancing on your tongue.

There is another category called auditory digital. These people are more convinced by numbers than by words. (If that’s you, you’ll be thinking: “What’s Jackie on about? There are zero kittens.”)

It’s why it’s wise to include case studies and testimonials in your marketing. Use these to prove the results you achieve in terms of reduced complaints, increased turnover or a move up the Google rankings – or whatever measure of success you wanted to achieve when you invested in a professional copywriter in the first place.

We often interview our clients’ customers to find out what language they use to describe your brand, your product or your services, and reflect that in the copy we write for you. It highlights what they really care about, what you’ve done for them, and their sensory preference/s. That way, we can write in a way that attracts more of the same.

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