William Wordsworth would often walk up to 20 miles a day. Usually for no other reason than to give him time to think and gain inspiration for his poetry. Whilst exploring the hills and wide open fields of England’s Lake District, he would compose his lines, repeating and adjusting them over and over again, until he was satisfied and could return home to pen his latest masterpiece.
Inspiration isn’t something you can always summon at will, and good writing doesn’t naturally occur after four cups of coffee whilst chained to your desk.
Now, I’m not suggesting that copywriters, or writers in general, should be aiming for the near transcendental approach to their words as Wordsworth. But good writing takes time, and isn’t always achieved in the first sitting.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to go for a walk or sit in the garden and then the words to capture that final call to action will arrive unannounced and get ideas flowing for the next draft.
Writing concisely, engagingly and in a style that is informing without being boring isn’t easy. It takes time.
With a website’s copywriting often treated as a facet rather than the centerpiece, it’s important to get businesses aware of the work that goes into the words needed to appeal to their target audience, communicate the benefits and promote their expertise.
With copy still being bought in bulk on Craigslist and work bidding websites, a line needs to be drawn between rushed copy and that which has taken time to mature. Your words are the most important element of your website as only they will convince visitors why they need your product or service and why they should trust you. Good quality copywriting can differentiate you from the competition.
Poor copy might be packed with keywords. But will it be cost effective over the long-term? With Google’s algorithm shifting from keywords to relevant back-links it’s likely that purely SEO focused copy will start being ignored. If it can’t convert visitors or attract back-links then it’s not going to be money well spent.
Shannon at thinkvitamin.com wrote a useful article earlier this month on copywriting for e-commerce:
- Use a consistent tone and style, even in your error messages, to broadcast and promote your brand as well as your products.
- Don’t describe products and services with a flurry of adjectives, cliches and filler as this is likely to cause a reader’s eyes to glaze over.
- Highlight the benefits; don’t just say it’s ‘great’.
- “Your site’s copy is the key to your brand and company identity.”
Whilst I’m linking out, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week on business blogging success stories. They’re all great examples of businesses that have thrived and built relationships from blogging, whilst highlighting that blogs require a significant investment of time if they’re to succeed.
15 thoughts on “Why Copywriting Shouldn’t be Rushed…or Cheap”
just want to say that I agree with your post. Inspiration doesn’t come only when we are in front of the PC, it comes from everywhere and anytime.
You said it! Writing is thinking on paper (albeit virtual paper), and that needs generative time, and refinement time.
Rushing to action is endemic. Fast is not the same as good. Although, much copy is repetitive and can be a delivered quickly because it is just a variation on a template. But that is not the good stuff. The slap-you-in-the-face arresting headline, and copy that pulls you in like the siren call of mermaids, takes time.
Educating your client to slow down now, pays dividends. On the other hand, if you can’t convince them of the need for time, then that might not be the client for you. I certainly need to define boundaries.
I completely agree and it’s always worth differentiating yourself from those offering discounts on high volume copywriting projects.
There’s a difference between being slow and being meticulous about your writing.
Learning to say no to clients is so important. My view is that commercial writing, like many service business, relies on repeat business. That means that you need to develop a relationship, one of give and take.
When I get a client that isn’t a good fit for me, then I try to find someone who is better suited, rather than just say no. Some people that buy creative services, do understand the creative process. I would say business owners do, entrepreneurs do, but corporate middle managers tend to need some education time.
Hey, I know this article is heinously old, but it’s still being read (I just found it after all), and I’d like to throw in my two cents. Totally agree with the specific points labelled, but I’ve just written an article from a different perspective, as to how experience builds value:
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