Monday, March 23, 2009

Every BRAND knows who copywriter is

It has been my experience with clients and several independent consultants who are thinking that writing copy is near to nothing. They think that it is just a page full of words which are typed with relative ease, and it amounts to no effort on that part of the writer and does need no special skill or knowledge to do that. Especially so - if the writer doesn’t make a big deal about it – deliberately telling them it took some sleepless nights, and if s/he is unfortunately little down to earth and hungry for some good work(like me)..

It takes huge effort (years) to learn any craft…so is copywriting

They often tend to think that the words are just randomly thrown in to make sentences, and have no special purpose to them. And hence, they’re reluctant to pay and least they refuse to accept that the writer has done some substantial work to write the copy. It takes herculean efforts to painstakingly give the whole communication a voice and a personality by strategically aligning the words – into thoughts.

I have great respect for those who really are keen to see and understand how hard the job is. Yes, there are clients and people who appreciate good work and really pay handsomely to the writer besides pouring copious appreciation and accolades. Kudos to them! But majority, I don’t know why are plain indifferent to them; and let alone pay them reasonably, do not seem to acknowledge the importance of it.

I presume it’s all that they never gave a thought to the copywriter’s plight; or they were never apprised of what it is by anyone. Otherwise, they too will respect the good work and pay handsomely, I believe!

The reason why, this ranting!

Freelance copywriting needs a new lease, here

Freelance Copywriting elsewhere in the west is well appreciated and the business too is lot more organized and no assignment is taken without any agreement and everything is professionally run. Hence it’s easy for the copywriters to do their job peacefully and not to worry about the payment hassles.

But down here, if you ask a client to commit to certain conditions and seek a written agreement they take it as indifference and lack of trust; not knowing that the written agreement makes both the parties to concentrate on the work they do and have a peace of mind without other negative doubts hampering their work. And it’s a great boon for the client too, as he is assured of timely delivery. (Here again, it doesn’t apply to those who go by the rule and stick to them)

I just want to see where and how a copywriter’s job gets a beating in comparison to other professions and why. It’s just a way to show that the copywriter works really hard and goes through the grind and, s/he too aspires to be paid what is due and, if not respected for what s/he does, at least not looked down upon.
Here is a peep into the kind of work copywriter does vis a vis to any other work that is done:
Words from mind & heart, not from dictionary
The tools of a copywriter – the laptop, PC, dictionary, some books on copywriting, and other books do not make the writer, or do not make them appear physically run down unless they make a show of it; albeit mentally they are drained thoroughly, though.
Life Experience –the bank of knowledge
Writer’s biggest bank of knowledge is their experiences in life; their efforts to know the world with uncanny ability and candor. They draw from these vast reserves of knowledge of life they lived and observed from close angles – that obviously can’t be seen unless you are keen to know it.
It’s physical as well as mental
Even the write up or copy too appear some normal words on a screen or a page which do not seem to have come with some physical labour; obviously no writer likes to show them how many times s/he has drafted, redrafted it; how many hours did he spend thinking about it. It’s a mental and physical labour, though
Fruit of stinging labour, though
The reason that since the write up or copy (poor thing) appears lame sans the design as a brochure, website content, flyer, mailer etc shouldn’t be implied as worthless; often some clients feel it’s just black words on white paper and nothing else (alas!).

It’s time each copywriter gets his or her due recognition in the advertising scheme of things. Especially in this part of the world the freelance copywriters are taken for granted and end up doing drudgery.
Do you think copywriting needs any special skills …can you share your thoughts with us?


Marte said...

You are absolutely right. Good copy takes time and effort. The first step is knowing the product well. Second is knowing the target audience and what really matters to them so you can write to appeal to both their obvious and hidden desires.

After that comes the actual writing, editing, polishing, etc.

Even a short e-mail or a postcard takes time, because you must choose what to say and what to leave out.

Even in the U.S. many people don't see the value, because when a good copywriter is finished, the end product looks "easy."

Those who don't see the work that goes into it aren't your best customers. Keep searching for those who do know the value of your words, because they are the companies that will thrive and give you ongoing work...

Best success!

Marte Cliff - (another freelancer)

Feel free to visit and add your comments on my blog:

Solomon said...

Hi Marte,
Thanks for your visit! I can't thank you enough for your visit. I felt my journey as a copywriter would enlighten some young minds, and as well as educate few clients what this particular skill entails.

It was and is experience that copy is undermined. I felt it's my responsibility to put forth my take on it.

Vivienne Quek said...

Copy writing is seemingly simple, however, it isn't always easy. Only those who are in the trade will truly appreciate it. One of my mentors used to say, "Writing is re-writing.".

Solomon said...

Hi Vivienne,

Great quote: 'writing is re-writing'!
Keep visiting us and share your experience here!
Your presence as a marketing and advertising expert gives us a huge lift.
Thank you!