A couple of years ago, I wrote crap.
Truth. My professional life was largely dominated by creating web copy that I really, really disliked, but that got the job done really, really well. It was peppered with synonyms, keywords, and cautious-but-very-deliberate repetition.
It wasn’t link-bait, but it wasn’t beautiful.
If I’m honest, the crap copy was fun to create, because I was writing puzzles – using my right brain to generate original content that relied on my left brain to be strategic enough to rank highly. But I was aware that, in the grand scheme, it sucked.
Contrary to what you might believe, not even half of the copywriting job is the actual writing. If I were forced to apply a ratio, I’d say only 40% of creating copy is actually putting words onto a page. The magic bullet that differentiates the successful copywriters from the less successful ones is the other 60%.
So if you’ve ever interviewed a copywriter, employed a copywriter, worked alongside a copywriter, or wanted to be a copywriter, you should know that:
1. Copywriting is problem solving
Long before the words start flowing, the copywriter is thinking about, and trying...
A tire company has the world’s best restaurant guide. Seriously.
One of the most effective rules of content marketing, at least for me, is telling interesting stories that have only a tangential connection (or even nothing to do with) your product or service. As long as they’re relevant and useful, they’re golden.
This is the epitome of reader-focused copy, but it’s also a helpful credo when you’ve written 50 similar blog posts and then run out of relevant ideas.
Want a great example? Go back 117 years, to famous tire company Michelin, which proved – even before content marketing...
It’s an epidemic.
These days every email, regardless of content, context or source, is prefaced with the stale opener, ‘I hope you are well’ (or its more patronising spinster cousin, ‘Trust this email finds you well*.’)
But does the sender really hope I’m well? Is he or she genuinely concerned with the state of my health – physical, mental or otherwise? Probably not. And yet…there it is.
Why do we do it?
Because we’re reluctant to dive into our message. It feels abrupt; rude even, and so we experience a measure of professional guilt if we don’t top and tail our business...