“Copywriting is dead” – a phrase we (copywriters) hear from time to time. I don’t know if it’s an intimidation tactic or that the people who say it honestly believe that is the case.
You need to promote your products and services to generate revenue and keep your business rolling. Therefore, you must understand that copywriting is not dead. But that bad copywriting is.
“And what exactly is bad sales copy?” you might be asking inquisitively.
Bad copywriting is fluff. The type of writing is very superficial in its message and trivial in its approach. That type of sales and marketing copy was – and in some places, still is – produced by lazy advertisers and wannabe Hollywood writers looking to get cute and funny with their projects.
Think of every Super Bowl commercial in existence. Most advertising agencies who work on those ads took their clients’ money to create an “entertaining” cinematic feature that cost millions of dollars – both in production and airtime purchasing. Yet you can’t track one single dollar that those commercials generated.
And by the end of March, those amazing pieces of cinematography are quickly forgotten; replaced by the next thing.
That right there is bad copywriting. And in the direct response industry (for instance), that type of sales and marketing copywriting is dead.
Before I offer my reasons why bad copywriting is dead, I’d like to present you with two valuable resources that expand on this topic.
My first resource is an article written by Alex Cattoni titled How Not to Write Copy: 8 Bad Copywriting Examples and Marketing Fails. This report highlights eight cringeworthy copywriting and marketing pieces that will make you realize how important it is to how a competent copywriter and marketing editor.
The second source is the book The Copywriter’s Handbook, written by Bob Bly. I’d like to point out (specifically) the first chapter: An Introduction to Copywriting. There, Mr. Bly explains the goal of every advertisement, the biggest mistake a copywriter can make, and the effect of the internet on the copywriting craft.
Now, drawing off the two resources mentioned, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, here are three reasons why bad copywriting is dead.
“If you don’t like what’s on TV, change the channel” – people used to say. Now you can change the channel, open your laptop, or go straight to your phone.
People have so many options to find what would capture their interests now. From thousands of TV channels and radio stations to millions of websites and mobile apps. If what you put in front of your audience doesn’t captivate them – then you’re presenting bad copywriting.
An example – for web content, the bounce rate is a good indicator of how interested people are in your content. Watch this video from Social Media Examiner to get a better understanding of bounce rates:
Whether it’s online, print, or in-person – if you don’t present content that fascinates the audience, they’ll find something that does. And today, they have more than one way to do so.
Don’t take the intelligence of your market for granted.
In today’s world, people have more access to information than ever before. And while some people spend their time looking at cats or people doing stupid things on video, others take time to educate themselves. They read articles, watch videos from experts, and keep up with what’s important in the news.
That segment of the audience that educates themselves continually knows how to shun promotion, detect hype, and ignore fluff advertising. They are more skeptical than most and prefer educational advertising.
Advertising is designed to help the customer make a wise purchasing decision.
Respect the intelligence of your customers. Don’t talk down to your audience and present the information that will help in making their lives easier/better.
Your customers have no time to fool around. And they would appreciate it that you don’t waste their time with unwanted tomfoolery.
Time has become our biggest asset. Well, it has always been but now it’s accentuated more because of how fast we’re moving as a global society. Hence, when people come to you in the hopes that you solve a problem, they expect you to do it as quickly and effectively as possible. That applies to your marketing and advertising too.
Make sure your ads put the audience’s wants and need ahead of your ego. Go straight to the matter at hand most clearly and concisely. Avoid jargon, please. And be specific on what the reader needs to do to resolve their situation. Be certain that once the audience finishes with your advertisement, they will know exactly why, how, and what they need to do to make their lives easier.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t display your personality in your ads. By all means – just be subtle and keep it to a minimum.
Be efficient with your marketing and advertising. Don’t waste people’s time.
Starting today, you should have a better understanding of why bad copywriting is dead. People have no time to waste, so you shouldn’t have them wasting some on bad sales copy. Because if you do so, intelligent customers will see it from a mile away. And they will look for someone else to address their issues.
Do you have a comment, suggestion, or question on why bad copywriting is dead? Leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!