September 16, 2019

Why Copywriting in 2019 Doesn't Mean Shit

Posted by Alan Stobie
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I was on Linkedin earlier. No, I wasn’t looking for a new job. I was looking at a friend request from someone involved in a strategic business streamlining network who had ‘felt some synergies between our business methodologies’ and felt it was a great idea to link. I didn’t really feel the synergy. Really, I didn’t. In fact I don’t know what synergy feels like…a tingling sensation? An unrelenting calling? Hives?

Anyway. I was on Linkedin. And I discovered something. It would appear pretty much everyone involved in marketing in some shape or form is an expert in writing copy. Thank god. Copywriting is now one of the widest specialisms in the whole of internetdom. Everyone and their mum is capable of penning a pithy line, a world beating strapline and an ear tingling radio ad that will cause everyone who watches / listens / reads it to drop what they’re doing and go and buy what’s being promoted. Huzzah.

It has reached epidemic proportions. Literally everyone in marketing in some form or another has been affected. An unbelievable stroke of luck for anyone wanting to sell anything or build a brand.

Please. Please. Fuckety, please. Stop it.

But what are the powers at force here? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a realist. Small kids lie in bed at night dreaming that one day they’ll be a doctor, an astronaut or a fireman. I don’t know of any kid dreaming of being a copywriter. Maybe the romantic allure of Mad Men has helped, those heady days of tinging crystal glasses filled with scotch as they stared into the middle distance pontificating about the next line that would make a million for a client might help. But really, come on. Sadly, these days, kids dream of being a YouTuber. Or a fashion blogger. Thank you internet.

The media is now so fragmented that everyone’s tablet, phone or laptop is riddled with thousands of messages a day, wherever they are, whatever they search for, whatever the app they use. We’re awash with media channels. We’re all content generators. Everyone.

And that’s the point. Everyone becomes no-one.

Where is the single-minded proposition? The hook. The crux. The nitty gritty. The meat and potatoes…

It’s just stuff.

Content.

It makes me sad. Most of us are busy. We need disrupted. A wee bit of dissonance over here, please.

We need the headlines that make us sit up and notice. And we need copy that genuinely holds our attention throughout, taking us on an interesting journey, rounding up the argument by the time you’ve reached the end, resulting in your view being influenced.

If you’re a copywriter, punch someone in the face. If you’re a copywriter, kick ‘em in the proverbials. Or shake ‘em until their eyeballs are black and blue. But do it with a pen lodged betwixt thumb and forefinger. Or mashing a keyboard with your sausage fingers. However you do it, make someone notice above the sea of faceless crap or soporific shizzle we call modern media. On that note, if your copy is on a mobile device, keep the user in mind. If you’re on a 48 sheet poster, write to get even more attention. And if you’re on tablets, I hope you get better soon.

So, copywriters, you know what to do. Oh, incidentally, before I forget, we’re looking for a good one, by the way. A good one.

Maybe I’m old school. But I will keep punching this point home until I can’t stand up any more. And even when I’m on my knees I’ll keep punching the point in the privates. I will. I really will.

Meantime, I’m off to help a few people with their bees, long hair, butter and snowshoes. I’m an endorsed specialist in each of these things. It’s on my Linkedin profile.

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