21 Feb 10 Copywriting Myths that Drive Us Crazy
Our team of professional copywriters and marketers hear the same crazy copywriting myths over and over again. And they drive us crazy.
We collected the top 10 in this blog post. Let’s debunk those myths, shall we?
1. Copywriters and copyright are the same
The US Copyright Office explains it beautifully: Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
Copywriters write the stuff that is protected.
2. You need an English degree to be a copywriter
Nope! You just need to be an excellent writer with a strong understanding of marketing. Holding an English degree isn’t necessary.
Here at Jansen Communications, we hold a variety of degrees. I have a BS in Business Administration, and the members of my team hold undergrad and graduate degrees in psychology, literature, theater, and media arts. One person has an MBA. Another went straight from high school to working at an ad agency. All are fantastic copywriters.
3. Copywriting is easy
If it were easy, anyone could do. Good copywriters possess excellent grammar and spelling skills. They have large vocabularies. They understand marketing, branding, advertising, psychology and human behavior.
They have a firm grasp of (and keep up with) best practices for a variety of mediums – websites, emails, blogs, ads, etc. They are as comfortable doing some graphic design as they are working in WordPress or pulling reports on Google Analytics.
In short, we have mad skillz.
4. Copywriting is cheap
You get what you pay for. Just like you wouldn’t expect a Ford Focus to perform at the level of a Ferrari 488 Pista, don’t expect a $20/hour copywriter to be as good as a $150/hour copywriter.
5. Copywriters can create copy from nothing
It always surprises us when a new client says, “I want you to write about Topic X. Thanks!” And then they kind of just … disappear.
Mmm, it doesn’t quite work that way. In order to begin writing, we need to have a conversation with the client and as much background information as possible. The topic is only one piece of the puzzle. We need your help identifying and gathering the other pieces.
6. Copywriters can read minds
Yes, I know it comes as a shock that we are not mind readers. But I swear to god, some clients think we are.
Unless you specifically tell us something, we are not going to know what’s bouncing around in your brain. Want us to source information from a specific article? Or edit this one paragraph so it focuses more on X instead of Y? Or use a specific phrase? You need to tell us.
7. Copywriting is separate from strategy
We don’t just throw words down on a paper. Everything we write supports a larger strategy.
A blog post topic might support your goal to build thought leadership. A white paper might help pull a new target market into your sales pipeline. A Facebook ad campaign might be used to grow your email list.
If you want us to write something, we ask why. Without a strategy, you’re just throwing money around.
8. It’s easy to write up a few words
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and philosopher
There are many versions of this quote, but this is believed to be the original. M. Pascal hit the nail on its head. It is extremely difficult to clearly distill an idea down to a few words.
When someone asks what your company does, how long is your answer? Can you shorten it to five words? Ten?
It’s hard, isn’t it?
9. Any writer can be a copywriter
My point is, there are numerous types of writers out there. No matter how good they are at their craft, their skills might not translate to another genre. Mine definitely don’t!
10. Copywriters work for free
HA. HA. That’s a good one!
You wouldn’t ask your orthopedic surgeon to replace your knee for free, would you? Of course not. We are skilled professionals, and we do not work for free. Ever.
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