Why your copywriter looks sadWhy your copywriter looks sad

Great British Copywriting

in Musings

Great British Copywriting is the Direct Marketing Association’s campaign “to champion copywriting, listen to copywriters, create the conditions in which they can do what they do best, highlight the value of copy to growing businesses and rally our community behind them as they rewrite the future of one-to-one-to-millions communications.”

It was launched back in April with the publication of Why your copywriter looks sad, the results of a survey of 433 British copywriters (including me) about their job and the state of the industry.

I was slightly surprised by the results because – as the title of the publication suggests – we’re seemingly an unhappy (and frankly grumpy) bunch! I was surprised because, even given I’m very much a ‘glass half empty’ person, lots of the findings simply aren’t borne out by my own experiences.

Here are my thoughts on a few of the points the survey made…

Our days are punctuated by seeing depressing examples of bad copy. I’d agree with this (radio ads, even for national radio stations that you think would attract better quality, often make me whimper and/or swear), but rather than seeing it as depressing I see lots of opportunities.

The biggest barriers to us doing good work include:

  • Poor briefs
  • Lack of respect for the value of copywriting
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Insufficient insight into the customer

I think these are interesting. The great thing about working for myself is that I have a lot more control than I would in an agency. I can go back to my client to get more information to improve the brief or get a better insight. If a deadline simply can’t realistically be met I can turn the work down. And as for the lack of respect, maybe I’m just lucky to have some really great clients, but I respect/admire/am in awe of what they do and I think the feeling is mutual (well, at least with regard to the respect bit).

One respondent commented:

“Content has never been more important but copywriters have never been less appreciated.”

Maybe I entered the industry too late and have missed the golden age. But whenever I tell people what I do they’re always interested and understand the value I bring, even if they don’t immediately think they need me.

And finally, here’s the most important quote of the survey for me.

“Unfortunately, because most people can write in one form or another it’s not seen as a difficult skill to find. But because bosses, clients etc. often have no idea how to put code together they see it as magic in comparison. Clients, agencies, bosses, whoever need education as to what copywriting is and it’s worth.”

I’d completely agree with this. But it’s only by taking up the challenge that we can become less sad as a profession.

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