Anyone else enjoy life 3% more when The Daily Show isn’t in reruns? Well, if you think TV’s gotten bad since the writers’ strike, just wait until online copywriters wise up. In fact, copywriters and bloggers should consider picketing right along with the TV & film writers. (Notice I didn’t say “screenwriters.” In today’s media, a screen is a screen is a screen.) This strike isn’t about television or film. It’s about high-profile screenwriters — as high-profile as unknown gets, anyway — insisting that online content has value.
Don’t think copywriters are undervalued? Show me a marketing budget without a serious chunk of cash set aside for Web copy, and I’ll show you a website that doesn’t convert, sell, or even explain why it exists in the first place.
Copyblogger‘s Brian Clark, who decided to follow his script-writing dreams until he realized what an awful gig it can be, makes some great points about “What Web Writers Can Learn from the Writers’ Strike.” Lucky for us, 10 years later, Brian’s selling content online — and he decides which of his content is free; a real advantage over Daily Show writers like this guy:
As you can see, one of the more telling points about about the writers’ strike is that these “traditional media” writers really do know how to leverage the Web. They’re even taking a cue from the “Save Jericho” campaign and mailing boxes of pencils to the media moguls.
For most organizations, copywriting is an afterthought. And surely, the web design community would agree. When businesses don’t take copy seriously, they’re the ones who get fired when the site doesn’t do its job. Consider this recent snapshot of a slide at the Future of Web Design conference:
Businesses can optimize their online content all they like, but stale copy leads to poor sales and limp branding. The good news is that if a company’s text doesn’t persuade in the first place, they’ll never know how much business is being left on the table. But the bad news is that if their text didn’t persuade in the first place, they’d never know how much was left on the table. So unless you’ve invented an iPhone that doubles as a teleporter, and you can show all of that with some press clippings and a Flash demo, you’re better off not being cheap with your words.
It may look rough at the moment, but the floodgates have opened, and the real value of online content has become clear. So if you’re writing for television or film, and want to control what your words are worth, now’s a good time to become a persuasive online copywriter.
[Hat tip to Tim Miles for sharing the "Not the Daily Show" clip.]