Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?
by Newman P. Mallon
Often people will try to save money by writing their web site or advertising themselves. More often than not, the approach may not be motivating or may even be distasteful, or the copy may not really explain things persuasively.
Often when the person is writing in a language that is not their first language there are grammatical errors that reflect poorly on the business, and they should definetely get it at least edited.
It's essential to point out the features of the product, and if it's not obvious, what the benefit to the audience is, as in "100 bits per millisecond for fast processing!". Or, to emphasize the point even further try, a "versatile and powerful spreadsheet program that operates at 100 bits per millisecond for fast processing to save you time, money and frustration!"
The other day, I received a phone message from someone who said they "had a project for me". Thinking they might have some work for me, I looked them up on the web. Their site had many grammatical errors. The first line said "Welcome at company.com" not "to". Another line said "well-knowned establishments" instead of "well-known" or "renowned".
I was confused as to exactly what the business was since it described itself as a TV network. That sounds great, but it turned out it was a firm selling an ad on a TV monitor located in a local restaurant and only in that restaurant. Hardly a network, although they had closed-circuit TVs in many restaurants but they played different commercials at each location. That is great for local businesses, but it is hardly a network. The local aspect was not even mentioned and I only found that out when I called them back and they wanted me to buy an ad, so I asked questions to determine the value of the ad. The local aspect was actually very interesting to me, but it was completely overlooked on the web site.
Wouldn't it sound much better to say "Now you can purchase a TV ad that will be shown over 50 times per day at a local restaurant in your neighborhood that has over 5000 clientele each and every day. Only 20 ads are available to ensure your commercial is seen again and again. Your ad will be shown over 10,000 times per year for an average cost of only 10 cents per showing! Plus, you will be the only one in your industry who will be able to advertise at this location for a full year! Book your spot today to ensure you hold the only exclusive spot for your type of business at the restaurant establishment of your choice!"
The web copy didn't even come close to this, hinting at "perfect-target customers, to your disposition", whatever that means?
When I suggested their web site needed a lot of work, they laughed at me and said "I can't believe you said that". After all, they wrote it themselves so it must be perfect. After all, they know their business best (maybe they do but obviously have difficulty describing it). These are likely the same people who would gladly pay $100 an hour for a plumber but because they wrote essays in university, they know everything about copywriting.
A good copywriter is also a skilled interviewer, who can ask the pertinent questions to find out what the product is, why an audience might buy it, and how it would benefit them by solving a problem or making their life easier or better. Then they tell your potential clientele all of the above and more.
It's really not necessary that a copywriter has written specifically on the particular product or service, since they must learn about your product anyway to find out what makes it different from your competitors. Certainly though, experience in the field might reassure the person hiring that the copywriter can do it.
So, do hire a professional copywriter and do enquire about credentials from a few writers but don't waste too much time looking for specific experience with your very specific product or widget, since the thing that makes it unique is exactly what the copywriter should question you about and bring out in the copy. It should not be a remake of something that was done before.
Copyright © 2011 by Newman Mallon You may download or print a copy of this article for your own personal use, or reviewers may quote brief passages of 25 words or less in a review with credit given to the author. For other permissions or reproduction rights please call Newman Mallon at (416) 285-0911 or e-mail him at Newman@Mallon.com.