Good Copywriters Are ...

"What makes for good online copywriting?" Both marketers and copywriters have their reasons for asking this question. And we've got answers like Carters proverbially had liver pills. You can read them. You can come listen to them. (Answers, that is. Not pills.)

"Can you recommend a good online copywriter?" Ah. Unfortunately we have considerably fewer answers to that one (although we wish we were busting at the seams with them). So one day, I enlisted my colleagues in brainstorming the answer to this related question: "What qualities must a good onlne copywriter possess?"

Here's a Baker's Dozen listing what we would look for in someone we entrusted with the job of creating persuasive copy.

Good online copywriters are:

  • creative. They must be able to examine things from multiple and unusual perspectives.

  • intelligent. They must be able to comprehend new subjects quickly and thoroughly.

  • empathizers. They must be able to relate to and understand different audiences, especially when the audience's viewpoint is different from that of the copywriter.

  • well-read. The more people read different styles and works, the better able they are to learn from others and expand their own repertoir.

  • good listeners. The best way to learn about a subject or an audience is to really listen.

  • organized. They must be able to follow directions, manage multiple responsibilities, and be detail oriented.

  • deadline-oriented. They must possess discipline. Good copywriters have to get it done on time. Period. No exceptions. Those who consistently are late consistently are out of work.

  • client managers. That's right. It's often the copywriter's job to manage the client, not the other way around. The copywriter must manage client expectations and explain when they're wrong. Clients may not always listen, but if the copywriter doesn't speak up and the copy doesn't work, guess who gets blamed!

  • simple communicators. They must be able to write as simply as possible, taking complex and technical subject matter and explaining it in clear concise language.

  • consistent. They must be able to sustain a consistent voice and personality throughout the copy

  • humble. Copywriters can not fall in love with their own words; they have to separate their egos from their work. They must be able to edit and cut their copy without emotional connection.

  • web-savvy. The web is different from any other medium. It is NOT the same as print or direct marketing. Just for starters, copywriters must understand hyperlinks, persuasive momentum, and writing for search engines.

  • themselves writers. The best copywriters pursue their love for writing beyond the confines of their business applications.

Nothing anchors the persuasive experience in the mind of the visitor better than words. Simply nothing. To copywriters at large: embrace these qualities and you're worth your weight in gold. To marketers at large: when you find a copywriter who meets these criteria, don't even think of playing penny wise and pound foolish.

Volume 118: 10/01/05


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