Can you guess what Love Actually and B2B copywriting have in common?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have seen the Christmas classic at least a hundred times. Possibly during every season of the year. And there’s a good reason for this – the intertwining storylines and devastatingly typical character arcs make it hard not to love. But the cinematic masterpiece draws parallels, I’ve noticed, to something else very dear to my life. That is, my job as a B2B copywriter.

Whilst watching what some describe as the perfect festive film last week, I began to notice how much the general messaging reminded me of my work. Which is a feat not often achieved by holiday-themed romcoms. Or, come to think of it, by any production not akin to The Shining. Copywriters everywhere will have been haunted incessantly by a single piece of copy that just will not come together – which makes that film bizarrely relatable, at times.

This blog isn’t an ode to my love for writing, although it is one of the only flames in my life. Nor is it about my passion for business-related content. Rather, let this serve as a reminder that even in the strangest of times, if we really must, we can still draw tenuous links between Christmas films and good B2B copywriting practices.

Wrap it up – hold the trimmings

Nothing in Love Actually feels simple. But when you delve a little deeper, it’s really quite uncomplicated. We all know the scene where Harry goes jewellery shopping for his office fling. Now recall how we watched in anticipation, even irritation, expecting Harry’s wife to return any second. And Rufus, who ignorantly chopping a sprig of holly, says, “But sir, you said you wanted it giftwrapped?”

When it comes to putting pen to paper, get to the point – especially in B2B. You may have noticed that I’m sometimes culpable of creating concoctions of words that conclude in convoluted sentences. But there’s no need to overcomplicate things that are already pretty dense. There’s often a better way to say something, and by ‘better’ I mean more concise. Next time you read a sentence back to yourself, maybe think of Rowan Atkinson.

An outlandish idea goes a long way

Thinking outside the box – Love Actually set the bar pretty high with this one. Who ever heard of a nativity play which called on the animals of the sea to present themselves? And yet, it works. You know there were no octopuses at the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth, but you’re sold. And it goes without saying, I would’ve enjoyed The Nativity (2009) more if it featured octopuses and lobsters.

You’d be surprised how creative you can get when it comes to copywriting – it might sound hellishly corporate but I can assure you, it’s not. Sometimes a project just calls for a good writer to convey information effectively. And sometimes it calls for some creativity; something a little outside the box. This really applies for most things in life – different is good. Concepting and thinking about how to make a campaign really stand out is possibly rule one of marketing in general. Sometimes, all it takes is a rogue lobster.

All good content has backup

Much like the utterly fantastic soundtrack that Love Actually blessed us with, and any of the following scenes:

  • The Prime Minister standing up for Natalie against the President;
  • Aurelia’s whole town following Jamie to witness his proposal;
  • Or Sam’s stepdad helping him break possibly multiple airport security laws…

All good work has the backing of multiple brilliant brains. While there is usually one writer who works on the first drafts, great finalised content has been seen by many pairs of eyes. The reason for this is because being critical of your own work is notoriously difficult. This is something I tend to struggle with, since I find it hard to see past my own intent. When reading your own work, you’re more likely to pick up on the subtext. But by passing your work on for team mates to check, they can help you produce your best work. And they might even teach you a thing or two.

And hey, I’m no expert. But from my experience, if you follow these simple steps, you can’t go far wrong.

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