Surely, anyone who can string a sentence together can write marketing copy, right?

Surely, anyone who can string a sentence together can write marketing copy, right?

This is one of the most common misconceptions associated with copywriting, especially within companies using in-house marketers to handle everything from budgeting, strategy, managing suppliers, reporting and creative execution.

How many marketing managers have you heard groaning at the thought of writing a whole direct mail pack, when they have ‘more important’ things to do such as the end of year financial report?

Let’s look at things realistically…

The truth is, very few people have the ability (or the time, or even the desire) to switch hats from being a financial wizard to a creative genius, so why do we continually think that they can?

These days, everyone knows that if you want a beautifully designed leaflet, you need to ask a designer to help you out. You could of course test out your skills on a Mac and produce something half decent, but it would probably leave most art directors cold – and without the magic ‘polish’ that a designer adds, your leaflet will lack that professional touch, and response may suffer.

Likewise, you might know your piston from your crank shaft when it comes to car engines, but how many stories have you heard about a friend-of-a-friend who had a tinker under the bonnet and ended up making matters a whole lot worse?

The same applies to copywriting: Yes, you know the main selling points of your product or service, and who better to inspire passion in a brand than you? But when it comes to weaving a subtle marketing message within a limited space, or teasing out responses from cold prospects, do you feel confident you could choose the right words?

It pains me to hear the overused mantra that ‘creative sits at the bottom of the list’ when it comes to key performers within marketing campaigns. Whilst it is true that you have to target the right audience at the right time with the right offer – it’s a scandal to target them with only half of a convincing argument, surely?

With response across many industries dipping in recent years as companies scrap over customers, you could find yourself asking whether more people would have taken up your offer if you’d put forward a better case.

So yes, copywriting is an important aspect of marketing.

But the difference between ordinary copy and great copy is immense. For starters, you need to be able to grab the attention of a potential customer – often when he or she isn’t in the mood to be ‘sold’ to. You need to be able to write concise, snappy sentences which sum up an idea in just a few words.

You need the subtlety and cunning of a magician. You need to make people stop in their tracks and take notice. Then you need them to read on. And then you need them to take action.

Of course, it’s not rocket science, and many businesses will survive just fine without a wordsmith, thank you very much. But as the world keeps turning, competition gets fiercer and businesses are pressured to hit impossible sales targets, why not see what a carefully crafted message could really do to boost your business? I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

Leave a comment