Oink day 4 /365 days

“Make a Six-Figure Income as a Copywriter- With NO training or experience!”

Yeah, yeah. Sound familiar?

If you’ve poked around on the Net even a little bit, you’ve surely run into this type of ad. They promise you the world on a platter for minimal effort, and it’s all a very closely-kept secret… that can be yours for only $49.99 (or insert your favorite price tag here).

The Experience

I subscribe to a newsletter written by a very popular, successful, and well- known copywriter. I am always looking for ways to stretch my writing wings, and I know my writing could be better, so I often look for tips or advise from those who do the job well. Boy was I surprised when the newsletter arrived.

It wasn’t at all what I would expect from a successful copywriter. It was laden with boring, pushy copy, sales pitches, and run-down lead ins. Week after week, my inbox held yet another newsletter proclaiming the wonders of the author’s latest and greatest copywriting product. Never, never did they include any useful information for copywriters (other than the statement that you MUST have this product to succeed as a copywriter).

I grumbled, I groused, I considered unsubscribing. I was optimistic that somewhere, buried in all that drivel, was one golden nugget of useful knowledge that I could use. Each week, I scanned the text and tossed each one in the trash, where it belonged.

Another newsletter arrived today. The headline was catchy, I was hopeful. I clicked through… to land on a long-winded, eye-grating sales pages. I was betrayed by my own optimism.

I wanted to leave a comment to the effect of, “Do you really think anyone reads, let alone buys, this crap? Why can’t you ever produce something of value? You’re giving copywriting a bad image and you should be ashamed to pay your bills with deception and trickery.” But, alas, I saved my foot from my mouth- there was not a comment section to be found.

The Lesson

I unsubscribed today.

I decided that my time and energy are better spent elsewhere. And while I am not snarky enough to mention this writer’s name, I will say that he most likely will never read this post, nor will he notice my unsubscribing. That wasn’t my goal.

Copywriting is not simply putting up words to push,trick, or persuade people into clicking through, buying a product, or supporting a cause. It is the intricate art of changing minds. It is establishing a connection with your reader, presenting your case in a positive light, and creating trust between you and the reader.

Writing copy is delicate, hard work. It takes time, practice, sweat, and serious mental effort. It is not a task for the faint of heart. Nor is it an easy path to a paycheck.

Reading copy should not make you feel like you’ve just interacted with a sleazy used-car salesman with a bad comb-over who talks at your boobs.

Great copywriting encourages you to expand your thinking, see things from another’s point of view, and want to sit down with the author over a cup of coffee. If you can pull that off, you might just make a living at this copywriting gig.

P.S.: For Sal and Sean, I’ve left out all lists for today’s post. You’re welcome. 😀
Creative Commons License photo credit: 1Happysnapper

4 thoughts on “Keeping it Real in Copywriting

  1. Debra Torres says:

    Thanks Jamie,
    I'm so glad you are writing your blog again. I've decided to commit myself to reading at least one blog a day to enhance my writing and designing skills. Thanks for your courageous effort in helping copywriters focus on writing from the heart. (I love your car salesman analogy.)

  2. Debra Torres says:

    Thanks Jamie,
    I'm so glad you are writing your blog again. I've decided to commit myself to reading at least one blog a day to enhance my writing and designing skills. Thanks for your courageous effort in helping copywriters focus on writing from the heart. (I love your car salesman analogy.)

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