Why I Am Not a Kick-Ass Copywriter

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I am not, and refuse to be, a “kick-ass”, “kick-butt”, or any other kind of kicking copywriter. Kick Ass has to be one of the most overused viral phrases of the year. That and “Superstar”, which reminds me of that funny nerdy girl from Saturday Night Live.

I get it. I do. The world of business can be a cutthroat, ugly place. But do we really want our customers to get that vibe?

Maybe I am just old-fashioned. And yet … I have recently seen WAY too many entrepreneurs on their way down the road to success mistaking insults for good copy, profanity for power.

I would like to provide a few alternatives.

                                               Sleek, Chic, and Sophisticated  

This writing style is great for contemporary furniture, sports cars, and luxury wristwatches. The customer feels pampered and well-educated , as if they have received an embossed invitation to an elite utopia that the rest of us normal folk will never visit, even on vacation. Copy from this style may include the words “prestigious”, “illustrious”, and “superior”.

                                               Warm, Comforting, and Economical

A great strategy for local businesses and people selling insurance, adopting a friendly tone makes a client feel safe and needed. This approach is best practice, combined with actual ethics, for the average Joe. Family-oriented and working the graveyard shift, Joe gets kicked in the rear end enough without being roped in by some phony, aggressive sales pitch. His words are “safe”, “affordable”, and “care”.

                                               Daring, Adventurous, and Offbeat

Geared towards backpackers, rock climbers, and creative types, adventurous copy is written to inspire. Outside-the-box thinkers want to be recognized as free spirits. They want to be challenged. They want to be dared. They want to dream. A good writer asks them to push the limits. Terms are active and urgent, encouraging readers to “do”, “be”, “push”, “dive”, and “win”.

                                             Technological, Scientific, and Methodical

I’m not just talking user manuals. This is the writing for professionals. Facts, data, and clarity are of high importance. Clients include software developers, scientists, and those in the medical field, among others. These professionals have to trust that the person giving them information has some kind of expertise in the field. Content should be clear, crisp, and reasonable. The real challenge is finding an angle to make the material hook the reader and keep them interested. Using imagery can help, as can including case studies or situational stories that the reader can relate to. Terminology can vary from profession-specific slang to adjectives that capture the reader like “cutting-edge” or “innovative”.


There are millions of words to describe things in a million different ways. To a writer, there is no such thing as a synonym. There is only that one perfect word which will drive the meaning of the writing forward. Let it be any word but “Kick-ass”.

I’ll practice my kung fu in the privacy of my own home.

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