Are You a Character?

It’s Loralei again. We’re on day three of “improv-ing” your writing skills.

Today we’ll use an improv technique to get into a prospect’s mind.

As part of improv, actors create a set of characters. Then they act out a scene and, hopefully, make you laugh.

Everyone plays his or her part – using words, thoughts, and gestures as a particular character.

For the audience to believe the scene, improv actors must become these characters inside and out.

Writers, and especially copywriters, are like improv actors. For us to write compelling and actionable copy, we must understand our prospect by thinking, acting, and speaking like him or her.

Copywriters are paid well for seeing the world through other people’s eyes and applying what they see to their ad copy.

But, how do we, as writers, do that? How do we get into character?

By using our imagination, our experiences, and a keen sense of observation.

Each of us can do it. It just takes practice and a little digging. We research, talk to people, and even walk around in the prospect’s world … all to find what drives him or her to buy our client’s product.

That way, when we write, our words will speak to the prospect like we’re a trusted friend or family member.

For newbies, getting into character may not be as easy as it sounds. However, with these simple actionable steps, you’ll be a character pro in no time …

  1. Choose a common household item in your own home, such as anti-aging cream, Rogaine, or an investment magazine. You already know why you bought it … but now we’re going to have you see it from a prospect’s viewpoint.

    For example, I chose an all-natural multi-vitamin I take daily. The pills give me lots of energy, have immune-boosting ingredients, and costs me about $1.80 a day.

  2. Now, imagine a prospect who might use that item. For my multi-vitamin, I imagine she’s a 40-year-old single mom with three school-age kids and works two jobs.

    What concerns does she have? What solution does the product offer her? What are the benefits? What drives her to buy this product?

  3. Write down your prospect’s concerns and emotions. Picture him or her as an actual person. If you know someone like this, imagine that person as your prospect.

    Some of my prospect’s concerns and emotions are: she wants to be responsible for her children and needs energy throughout her day without using caffeine or energy drinks. She worries about money, her kids, and providing a better future.

  4. Write down all the ways your household item will address your prospect’s concerns and emotions. This helps to identify the product’s benefits.

    For example, my multi-vitamins are all-natural, giving my prospect peace of mind about what she puts in her body. The fact that they’re inexpensive reduces her concern about cost. And with natural ingredients, her immune system receives a boost, allowing her the quality time she desires with her kids instead of getting sick.

Be sure to keep this exercise and what you wrote handy; we’ll use it later in the week.

I’d love to hear what product you chose and some of your prospect’s concerns, emotions, needs, etc. If you’re willing, share yours in the comments here.

Be sure to come back tomorrow when we’ll talk about a taboo subject and how one improv technique helps you overcome it.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: January 22, 2014

5 Responses to “Are You a Character?”

  1. Great article. Thanks for presenting this info with a new twist. It makes total sense!

    CK WilliamsJanuary 22, 2014 at 1:45 pm

  2. Well said or better said well written.

    I am a sales and marketing coach to business owners & sales professionals who are very good at what they do, yet struggle with their sales and marketing systems.

    Opening their eyes to better ways is the challenges.

    Brad Lloyd CEO Atlanta Marketing Center AWAI Infinity member.

    No BS BradJanuary 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

  3. your 40 year old single mother working two jobs will not be interested in buying vitamins that cost almost $60 a month--she will be trying to pay her and the kids' bills and barely succeeding. i would pick a young person with no obligations to sell something this expensive to.

    Guest (liz wrenn)January 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm

  4. i am working on an ebook to stop pain and addictions!

    Guest (jerry)January 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm

  5. Loralei, I'm going to use Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels.

    Prospect is educated, financially comfortable, independent, and environmentally conscious.

    Wants environmentally friendly products that get the job done without waste. Likes getting good value for the money spent.

    Bounty is a well established name offering a good product. It's made better with 'customizing' the towel size so cleaning is still easy but with minimal waste. Sizing is a unique way to stretch the dollar.

    Nancy TossellJanuary 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)