But I’m not for everyone. By definition, if you cherish some principles, there must be others you reject. Here are ten I disdain. If you recognize your beliefs among them, I encourage you to work with a different copywriter. (Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s all too easy to find writers who will accommodate you.)
1. You don’t really want to sell:
For reasons beyond my ken, some clients would prefer not to grab their prospects with persuasive, hard-hitting copy that motivates action, response, sales and profits. Instead, they’d like to play it soft, easy, and non-provocative. Nice and collegial. “Professional.” Frankly, that’s a waste of your money and my talent. Put me on the job when you want your copy to work.
2. You don’t want a writer who asks a lot of questions:
If you call me out of the blue and ask me to suggest a good ad headline on the spot, I’ll tell you that I can’t — no one can. Oh, sure, without appropriate background information, I could give you something cute or “clever.” (There are entire agencies that specialize in nothing else.) But if you want something effective, I need to understand the complete picture. Who are you? Who are your customers? What do they think, feel, value, desire and fear? What’s your market, your competition, your positioning, proposition, brand? And so on. I ask tons of questions because they’re the fastest, most productive way to uncover the underlying passions and proof points that make great copy.
3. You believe a copywriter has no business suggesting strategy:
There’s no such thing as “good” copy per se; there’s only effective copy that successfully fulfills a given set of objectives within a given set of circumstances. There’s no way around it — your message has to be built on a foundation of sound strategy. Expect me to roll up my sleeves and start building.
4. You think thinking is dangerous, and would rather stick to the same old, same old:
Just getting along with the familiar is easy and remains comfortable even as results decline. Thinking, on the other hand, disrupts. It disrupts habits, politics, forms and customs — and, therefore, it often causes pain. But the consequences of not thinking are far worse. I’d rather sting my assumptions with thought than sink into failure with the familiar.
5. You like jargon:
Proactive, paradigms and innovative solutions. Out-of-the-box and on the bleeding edge. Turgid jargon and tired clichés mean nothing to your prospects and customers, so they shouldn’t mean anything to you.
6. You want to play it safe:
If you begin your next project by taking your cues from the competition, you’ll end with a message that babbles among the pack — unheard and ignored by your intended audience. Better to do your homework, do some thinking, and take a few reasonable risks. Douglas MacArthur got it right: “There is no security, only opportunity.”
7. Pleasing the executives above you is more important than generating business:
Most executives don’t meddle with the legal briefs produced by their law firms. Yet many people without the slightest understanding of — or experience in — marketing and sales feel obligated to muck about in the deliverables. If you’re not willing to do battle for the quality work we put together, don’t ask me to fight at your side.
8. You like vague messaging:
Large, nebulous abstractions — so ennobling, so professional-sounding . . . and so catastrophically ineffective. When you want impact, you need specifics — physical, tangible, meaty and meaningful things you do, offer, sell, provide and deliver. When I’m pitching, no puff balls allowed.
9. Your company loves long, lingering gazes in the mirror:
When Narcissus wasn’t admiring his reflection, he was writing pretentious mission statements and dreary “About Us” Web pages. Push the self-absorbed S.O.B. in the water and remember, it’s never about you or me — it’s all about the customer. When you work with me, we create materials that reflect your prospects’ desires and concerns, not ours.
10. You simply don’t care whether the copy is effective or not:
Hey, results mean more work and who needs that? It’s more fun to hang around with the gang by the coffee machine, talking sports scores while surreptitiously eyeing that last doughnut . . .
Sadly, many people are like that. I’m not. And if you’ve read this far, you’re not either. Maybe it’s time we work together.
What can I do for you?
I write marketing materials that close sales, generate leads and move potential customers along your sales pipeline. Tactics include website copy, ebooks, case studies, direct mail, collateral, print ads, contributed (bylined) articles and much more.
To get a quote on any custom service or to request samples/references, contact me by e-mail or call (781) 620-1154.