14 Jan

Lessons from 10 Years of Copywriting

I’ve been copywriting for over 10 years now. Here are a few of the major lessons I’ve learned in that time.

1. Never give your client what they want… give them what they need. This might be controversial but I’ve always regretted giving a client what they wanted when they actually needed something else. Many have come to me asking for a Facebook campaign when what they really needed was to get back into communication with customers who had abandoned them for reasons which had since been fixed. If you do this then you are essentially setting up the client, and yourself, for eventual failure. Or, at the very least, you are limiting the eventual income they will make.

What should you do instead? Tell them why you don’t think it’s a great idea right now and you can schedule for later when it will do much better due to the suggestions you are about to make. Then, give them the logical reasons why

2. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Salesmanship consists of basic, fundamental and time tested principle that do not change. If someone tells you that ‘Twitter changes everything’ or ‘Video changes everything’ don’t listen. Salesmanship is salesmanship. It doesn’t matter what form it takes. Why is this? It’s because human nature remains unchanged. If you don’t believe this simply look at the warnings in early philosophic and religious writings of 2,000+ years ago. They cautioned us against the same traps everyone continues to make today.

3. No amount of writing skill replaces understanding of the prospect’s mindset. I could write a whole book on this. Most copywriters, especially those trained in the internet era and/or those trained by the “copywriters” who have only ever successfully sold “get rich quick” products, go off half-cocked and write copy that LOOKS like copy but is a complete miss in the mind’s of their prospects.

4. You are not God’s gift to commerce. A copywriter CAN definitely do a lot of good for businesses. They can create huge influxes of cash quickly. But, that’s only part of the equation. There are employees, executives, managers, customer service representatives and line workers. Not to mention the product itself. All of that works together to create a sustainable business. Be professional. Professionals don’t need to act like they are God’s gift to business or marketing. They let their work speak for itself and use Positioning rather than boasting.