So I recently got this weird request from one of my clients. They specifically wanted their email copy to be written in first person point of view. So no mixing of first and second person point of view. Honestly, I find this not very good for copywriting. But I guess they chose this despite knowing the cons of first person point of view.

Today, I would like to share more about the various points of view (first, second and third person) and their pros and cons. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about your copywriting strategy going forward.

[Marketing Tips] Copywriting 101 - First, Second & Third Person Point Of View

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Point Of View

As this article nicely puts it, point of view (POV) is like your camera lens. It’s the position you take as a writer while you narrate your content.

There are 3 POV: you explain the events or information from your view (first person), directly to another individual (second person), or as an observer (third person).

  • First Person: personal experience
  • Second Person: interaction
  • Third Person: observation

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First Person

As its name suggests, first person revolves around “I”, “me”, “we”, “us”, “my”, “our” etc. The speaker or narrator is the focus and it’s all about how “i” feel and what “I” see and know.

It’s great for fiction where readers can connect deeply with the protagonist of the story. But for copywriting. it might feel somewhat arrogant because the brand keeps talking about itself.

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Pros

  • Audience will be aware of your brand
  • Great chance to showcase your brand’s personality, tone, voice etc.

Cons

  • Brand might come across as self-centered
  • Audience might feel like they aren’t heard

Examples

  • Choose from our wide range of products and services
  • To celebrate the launch of our new store, we’re offering 30% discount for all items.
  • We listened and we acted. Introducing the new [product/service].

Second Person

Second person point of view is most commonly used for copywriting (and rarely so for fiction). This is where “you” takes center stage.

You address your readers and engage them in a conversation by using “you”, “your” and “yours”. Speaking directly to your audience by using the word “you” throughout your copy makes it customer-centric.

And this is absolutely correct! You should always be putting your audience first. Just look at how many “you” I’ve sprinkled in this blog post alone.

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Pros

  • You-focused where your audience are heard
  • Create a connection by talking directly to your audience

Cons

  • Might sound dictatorial if used incorrectly
    • “You need to upskill to climb up the career ladder” vs “Don’t miss out on your chance for career advancement”
    • 1st example is where you tell your audience what they need to do (which you should avoid). Instead, phrase it in such a way that people still have autonomy (the ability to make to make their own choices).

Examples

  • Travel in comfort and style, exclusively designed to elevate your fashion game
  • Master copywriting right at your fingertips
  • You’re just a step away from a happier, healthier you.

Third Person

Lastly, third person is like an observer who is outside and looking in.

Words like “he”, “she”, “it”, “they”, “their” etc. are used for this point of view.

I feel that this is great when crafting copy for case studies and testimonials. Third person POV is naturally great for storytelling where you write a persuasive copy about a customer’s experience of using your product or service. The distance between your brand and the audience will also position you as a thought leader.

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Pros

  • Great for storytelling in case studies, testimonials etc.
  • Build authority & expertise

Cons

  • Might feel cold, distant & impersonal
  • Create a distance between the brand & audience

Examples

  • Nicole couldn’t believe the progress she made in 3 days just by using [product/service].
  • A recent study reveals that 85% of consumers across the globe are willing to pay more for sustainability and have become “greener” in their purchase decisions.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Stick To 1 POV Only. Mix Them If Relevant.

I don’t think we should strictly stick to one POV only when crafting copy. Instead, feel free to mix and match the various POVs if they’re relevant.

For me, I personally love using first and second person together. It narrows the distance between the brand and audience and thus, creates this friendly and helpful image. Of course, you should prioritize “you” over “we” and highlight the problems your audience face and how you can solve them. More focus should be on “you” and just slightly talk about yourself.

Here are some examples of the first and second person combination:

  • At [brand name], we understand your pain of [describe audience’s pain points here].
  • You asked, we listened. Explore our latest range of flavors.

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Now It’s Your Turn

Which point of view do you prefer when copywriting? How do you use them when crafting copy?

Check and correct your grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes with proofreading tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid. Or consider attending copywriting classes like Copywriting For Crafters and Write Copy That Compels And Sells. There are also streaming broadcasts of free online classes from CreativeLive.

 

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Nicole C. W. All Rights Reserved.

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