Copywriter Value: Can’t Anyone Write?

“Have you ever seen someone at an art gallery size up a painting with the words, “Well, I could do that!”
Truth is, maybe you could. But you didn’t.”

~Dave Egan

Most of what makes decent, even excellent writing happens in our minds and hearts. It really is more like pottery or painting or other art. We think or make a mental picture or mutter to ourselves or pace around or have another cup of coffee or tea or call a friend or listen to music or sit in silence or, well the list can go on. Quickly or slowly words begin to come through our fingers as they move across the keyboard and appear onscreen.

~ Anne Wayman, About Freelance Writing

My fellow business writing freelancers have been tossing around this lively discussion about the mystery vs. the value of writing. Have we made it look too easy? Can’t anyone put words on paper? How hard can it be?

From a business perspective, the question boils down to this: why should we pay a writer?

I love what Dave Egan said about art valuation above but I’d add a musical analogy. It doesn’t take a genius to draw little notes on a staff. I did that in my second grade piano class. But play your scribbled notes and then play Mozart’s. Different? Vastly. Why?

Mozart understood how to arrange rhythms and melodies, rests and syncopations to enhance a listener’s experience, to move them emotionally.

It’s much the same with an experienced writer. We use the same tools you do, but we understand flow and rhythm. Marketing copywriters know what it takes to move a reader sensibly from information to action. Good writers forego flowery and flabby phrases and distill data into understandable and compelling copy.

When you hire a capable marketing copywriter, you should know that every sentence you review has survived a gauntlet, been strained through a sieve, questioned for purpose and scrutinized in tone. Writers glean gems from the mundane and mine management for passion. They think and drink coffee, research your competition, check keywords, call your clients, think some more, nap, ask questions and then, maybe, write. Once they’ve written, they review and prune with machete-like motion. They agonize over phrases and worry over rhythms. They drink more coffee and revise again. And this is for your first draft.

Is there value in what a writer can do for you? You decide.





3 thoughts on “Copywriter Value: Can’t Anyone Write?

  1. Amber Galusha says:

    Well said, and well written. I don’t prune my client’s work with machete-like motion; it’s more like hand-shearing the lawn with fingernail clippers — machete, fingernail clippers, same diff. Nice post!

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