Before I was a copywriter, I was a creative writing graduate. I’d spent the last three years learning how to be clever with words. But then university finished, and I had to get a job.
I didn’t have the patience to be a novelist, so copywriting seemed like a good career choice. I’d get to be clever with words, but for brands and companies.
But I found out that’s not quite how it works.
It’s useless being clever. Unless …
David Ogilvy, who many copywriters see as the father of advertising, once said “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”
In copywriting, there’s no point in being clever with words just so you can be praised for being clever with words. Your writing has to speak to your reader, and be interesting or helpful to them.
And being a copywriter who’s clever with words can be useful here. It can help you find unique ways of promoting benefits to your reader. You just have to remember to sell those benefits.
No one wants you to be creative
David also said “Advertising is not an art form, it’s a medium for information, a message for a single purpose: to sell.”
When you’re a copywriter, your client isn’t paying you to be creative. They’re paying you to help sell their product.
And your reader isn’t reading your copy to see how creative it is. They’re reading it to find out how their life will get better. Your copy has to show them this so they buy the product you’re writing about.
Connect and sell
Going into copywriting from a creative background isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be a good thing. Just remember to speak to your reader and sell the benefits of your client’s product.