I often think that copywriters are, in fact, storytellers with a gift for summarizing the essentials and getting the messages across. What makes them tick? I still love my work after all these years and wanted to share some of my insights with you.
Writing is a solitary business. You can spend time meeting clients, suppliers and other specialists but in the end it’s you, staring at a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper and wondering how best to fill it. It’s you, battling with your own standards and expectations.
I’ve always felt it to be a special moment where you reflect on your many years of experience before you start to give a concept or a message some shape and direction. Anyone involved in marketing communications will tell you that it’s the pauses in the work that count the most – the moments when you ask yourself “What will influence the reader the most”?
You need to stand back sometimes and view everything from a more objective viewpoint.
I believe that good content transcends the simple delivery of information. It delves into the spirit of what’s being said and – most importantly – tries to empathize with readers, get their attention and guide them. It’s almost as if the copywriter has a kind of ‘inner engine’ at work that won’t let up until a compelling story has been prepared.
A part of this engine are the open facts that need to be researched and resolved before the job can move forward. If you come across something that doesn’t seem to make sense or is not backed by facts, you have to stop and resolve it – or mark it for future attention. It’s like embroidery where several stitches have been missed – you can’t help but notice it.
I think that one of the reasons for a great variation in prices by different copywriters is their willingness or unwillingness to delay progress until the bugs in the work have been removed. Another reason is how often they review the material that they’ve written. Critical editing is an essential part of writing. Almost every text benefits from being placed aside and reviewed after a delay. I look at stuff that I wrote a wrote a couple of years back and I ask myself ‘Did I really write that’?
We all have aspirations to excellence and part of that is being critical of our own work.