This one’s a little marketing specific, but I had to take a minute.
Everybody thinks they’re a writer. Most people are not.
I edit a fair amount of work, and it’s pretty impressive just how poorly most people write. That’s OK. Writing, like most things, is a skill. Some are better at it than others.
Like with most requirements in life, we often make the mistake of thinking because we learned to do it at an early age and have been doing it our entire lives, that we can do it as well as anyone else.
But in fact, writing is a skill that takes work to maintain and develop. Just as many think they can write, many in business also think they can write marketing copy. They can’t.
Just because you can write a blog or a paper or a long and thoughtful email, it doesn’t mean you can write marketing copy.
Writing copy is an art. It’s the art of taking a complex idea, distilling down to its bare essence, and the effectively communicating that thought or idea in a few words as possible.
Every time I hear a salesperson express how frustrated they are at how long it’s going to take the copywriter to finish their marketing piece, and that they’re just going to write it themselves, I assume it’s going to use twice as many words to convey half the information as the copywriter would have done.
I’ve worked with many writers who talk about their short stories, unpublished novels, and blog posts who all think they can write copy. To a person, they can’t. They can write overly long and wandering passages that are well written. But they can’t convey the idea in a headline.
If you’re ever trying to distill an idea down or communicate an idea in a brief and concise way, do yourself a favor and hire a good copywriter. It may seem like you could do it, but chances are, they’ll pay for themselves.