Sometimes it’s easy to believe there’s a magic formula to improve every aspect of your writing.

It’s partly because the web is full of know-it-all copywriters like me who want to show off their favourite writing techniques.

But when you’ve learned how to write the ideal headline, mastered the art of short paragraphs and perfected the grab-all call to action, you stub your toe on the biggest problem of all.

Your writing looks and sounds like everyone else’s.

And what you need to breathe life into it is the power to delight.

A lesson from landscaping

The problem reminds me of one of our clients who runs an industrial landscaping business.

When he told me about the techniques he used to landscape petrol stations, I realised he was competent.

And when he told me how quickly he could do the work at short notice, I knew he was highly efficient.

But when he told me that every man he employed had two separate pairs of wellington boots – one for normal use and one which had to be worn on fresh-laid turf – then I was certain he delighted the people who employed him.

And his style of work appealed to me – because it was like no-one else’s.

So when you’re next tempted to lash lots of writing techniques together, ask yourself whether you’ve missed out the one ingredient that really does have the power to delight.

You.