Why hiring a copywriter isn’t like
buying deli ham.
I could start this off with a few juicy ham jokes, but I’ll resist. For now anyway.
What I want to talk about is “buying copy by the pound” – a laughable (yet frighteningly all too common) method that countless clients and/or content marketers use for their content/copy creation.
Since when did “500 words” become some magic total number?
I’m not talking about copy that needs to fit a specific area on a traditionally-printed piece. I’m bitching about how many thousands of copywriting (and I use that term loosely, since “online article writers” are NOT copywriters) jobs demand something like “need 500 words about…” For starters, how do you KNOW you need 500 words if the damn piece hasn’t been written yet? And what if it can be well written using only 177 words? When dealing with a talented writer (again, not some hack with delusions and a keyboard), s/he can slice 500 words of crap down to less than 200 words of nicely-crafted – and very readable – copy. And if they can’t…find a new writer. Pronto.
Stop treating your website content like it’s a high school essay.
Remember when your science teacher required that your paper about “Where Coal Comes From” be five pages long? And how clever you felt when you used a really big type font AND triple line-spaced everything to fill up those five pages? Sadly, most web developers/clients still approach copywriting like it’s a by-the-page commodity instead of focusing on the content itself: what’s being said, what the reader benefit(s) are and if it’s a well-written piece.
It’s time to cut the fat from your website’s copy.
Take a long, hard look at your site. Better yet, hire a skilled (review their portfolio!) actual copywriter (no SEO article writers, please) to objectively evaluate your website. Ask for their unvarnished opinions, good and bad. And LISTEN to what they tell you about your site and what it needs. You don’t have to act on every recommendation, but if you’re serious about your website offering anything more than virtual piles of stale, processed deli ham, you’ll commit the time – and resources – necessary to whip it into shape.
Remember: no one asks for seconds from a second-rate website.
~ Lenni Lee | word wrangler