Hint: It’s not easy being a copywriter.
Some people often get the wrong impression that copywriting is easy. Isn’t it just about stringing sentences in the right way, with the right grammar and tone?
(Well, if it were, there would be no us. Just saying.)
On the other hand, people also think that copywriters are infallible word wizards who spin out texts the way Rumpelstiltskin’s daughter spins gold.
Unfortunately, the truth is far from any of these generalisations. While its agreed that copywriting requires a good grasp of language, that doesn’t justify for possessing magical writing powers.
Not even copywriting geniuses like David Oglivy or John Caples can attest to being absolutely efficient and perfect all the time too; In fact, the former famously took 104 drafts to craft a successful headline. We are only human, and just like everyone, we struggle sometimes when it comes to the written word.
Thus, it is time to clear up these misunderstandings about copywriters; There are limits to what we can do (or write). These are 3 secret problems writers wish clients knew.
1. Sometimes, We Have No Idea What You’re Saying
What might seem like perfect sense to you, might not be clear to us. Neither can we instinctively suss out what exactly goes in your thought-process. It would be unwise to expect a piece of work that absolutely fits into all your requirements without painting a clear picture.
It is like asking for a write up about a product that will change lives; But for whom? How does it work to change it? What style do you want to present it in? It can get frustrating for copywriters when not enough information is given to craft a valid piece of content. Nobody wins – you are not happy with the vague and unconvincing copy, and the writer is unsatisfied with his/her product.
So, come prepared. Provide us with clear objectives, instructions and details you expect to achieve; Also, don’t get irritated when we bombard you with questions – we are merely trying to unfold and get into the core of what you want.
2. Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day, and Neither Will This.
Most clients may not realise that writing is just a small part of the overall copywriting process. Important tasks such as brainstorming, market research, drafting and editing actually take up the bulk of our time. Thus, it really gets to writers when clients overlook that, then bug or push projects to be completed faster.
It is easy to generate a couple of sentences, but impactful content takes careful consideration. There are many reasons why copy should not be rushed. For example, just as actors take time to understand and ease into a role, copywriters need to adapt themselves into the client or audience’s shoes in order to create authentic copy that will resonate with all parties. Likewise, time is also needed to refine and perfect works; Nothing is ever foolproof on the first try, and sometimes sitting on an idea helps us generate an even better one.
That’s not to undermine those who genuinely write speedily, but even if they do, any copywriter appreciates clients who supportively abides by the deadline instead of bargaining it.
3. Having Less Words Doesn’t Mean Lower Quality
An example of short, purposeful copy. Source: Buzzfeed
Word count has always been a matter of contention between clients and writers. While some do understand that quality does not equate to quantity, there’s always a hint of disappointment when the final result seems ’empty’.
All that money for a one-paragraph company profile? Yes, we know; That doesn’t exactly leave a sweet taste.
Though its not ‘value for money’ if you break costs down word for word, and it seems like not enough information is provided, trust your copywriter. Short, concise messages are actually much more effective than lengthier copy when it comes to projecting key points and improving readability.
Besides, it takes skill to summarise than to expand; Some of the best content out there are so successful because they are cleverly simple.
Ultimately, perfection is what drives copywriters nuts everyday. We fret and fumble (and occasionally complain uselessly) because we strive to create the best work for our clients. So, the next time you meet a copywriter, show a little understanding and appreciation for the work they do – After all, they are doing it for you.
Written by: (www.script.com.sg)
Edited & Illustrated by: Script Consultants Pte Ltd