Copywriting: A skill for the apocalypse

One way we can reduce the suffering and anguish of potential future events is to consider the worst-case scenario.

If you’ve already thought and rehearsed how you might prepare when things go wrong, then you’re ready if it happens. 

I have a list of over 58 reasons why I write. One of my favourites is that writing prepares me to thrive in a post-apocalyptic world – should I survive the apocalypse, of course.

I’m thinking about almost global catastrophic events – ones that cause near human extinction or permanently reduce our potential to flourish as a species. 

It could be our fault: hostile artificial technology or biotechnology. Maybe someone will accidentally discover that we can create a nuclear bomb in our kitchen. Perhaps it’ll be a cyberterrorist attack that destroys critical infrastructure. 

Or the catastrophic event could be natural – the eruption of a super volcano like the one brewing under Yellowstone National Park. Perhaps a geomagnetic storm that destroys all electrical equipment or a lethal gamma-ray burst that’s too close to home. Or even a pandemic virus that we just don’t manage to contain.

Whatever the reason for humanity’s demise, what skills will I need to survive in this new world? 

man writing among a broken landscape

Being able to fight and wield a weapon will surely help as everyone competes for limited resources. 

Survivor skills like building a shelter, hunting and foraging will also be vital. 

But I’m not a survival expert like Ray Mears, and from the two fights I had as a teenager, I know I’m not the fighting Jason Statham kind. 

However, I’ll also need to be pretty good at building and maintaining relationships. I’ll need to relearn how to cooperate within a small community, trading my goods and services locally. But first, I’ll need to market what I have to offer. 

Maybe I could make the radio transmitter with the longest range. Or carve the pointiest spear in town for others to wield. Perhaps I’ll share how to adapt a summer wardrobe for nuclear winter.

To get anyone to buy my stuff though I’ll need to market my wares and persuade people to buy from me rather than from the guy around the corner selling a competitively pointy stick. 

My best weapon is going to be able to speak and write persuasively. It’ll be my superpower in a post-apocalypse world. So, being able to write persuasive copy is an excellent skill to work on, before and after a global catastrophic event. 

At the heart of the most persuasive copy is usually a story. Donald Miller reminds us in his book, Building A Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, “All great stories are about survival—either physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual. A story about anything else won’t work to captivate an audience. Nobody’s interested.”

As I imagine myself in this post-apocalypse world, survival is key! And I know that I’ll have plenty of compelling stories to captivate listeners as I face the most significant challenges of my life. 

Story-telling and copywriting are skills that will always be needed.

No matter your business, almost all of us must put words together to market ourselves or our products. The stuff you need to write could be your elevator pitch, adverts, blog posts, nurture emails or the copy for your website and landing pages. You’ll probably need to write the content for a course, the slides in a presentation, a public speaking event, online workshop, job application or a bid for financial support. 

If we want to sell our stuff, we’ll need to do an excellent job of showing the reader that we understand their reason for needing our product or service. 

I’ve read many books on copywriting and worked my way through several courses. I’m far from being a professional copywriter. I’m just an enthusiastic reader that likes to write, and I know that persuasive and moving power comes from learning how to write well.

Learning how to write stories that simultaneously engage, entertain and educate. Stories that draw people into your world so that they get to Know you, Like you and Trust you. Stories that could likely one day lead your readers to buy from you.

But all the knowledge in the world won’t make me a copywriter and storyteller if I don’t practice the art. So I write almost every day, even if it’s just a few sentences. 

Being able to string words and ideas together persuasively and in a way that entertains and engages people is a skill that I think is worth developing. A skill that will always be in demand, no matter what happens in the world. 

And that’s one reason why I write.