Many see copywriting as a dying art and we the client are to some degree responsible for it. Ask an agency professional, and you will hear that term copywriter is a sort of a misnomer (a wrong or inaccurate name or designation) in the modern times where everything is wanted instantly or in real-time.
According to a study by Content Marketing Institute, good copywriters are in short supply. 1/3 of companies don’t find anyone talented enough to write for their brand. While what is questionable is why is it that in spite of an influx of new copywriters most produce poor quality work? If we had to understand what has changed we need to rewind back a little then we might have an answer to the question. When Apple hired TBWA/Chiat/Day back in 1997 to create the now famous multi-format ‘Think Different’ campaign it took the agency close to 8 -9 weeks to work on the campaign from start to finish. Today agencies only get about 4-6 weeks to work on a multi-format campaign and even shorter timelines if it’s a digital campaign.
Shorter-timelines have radically changed the craft with the limited effort being put into rewriting which is an essential element of copywriting. Also often you will have clients who would want the agency to add a particular buzzword into the copy even if it doesn’t make sense. Just check the real-estate advertisements, and you will notice the trend of using the similar set of buzzwords. Just check the real-estate advertisements, and you will see the trend of using the same round of buzzwords. If you are agency professional, you would know how many times you had to accept those track changes or had to convince the client for removing the additions made to copy/content.
Copywriters are usually slow with their work that’s the very reason that you see a lot of journalists getting into the role because if you need the content to be quick, reactive and relevant, then journalists will get it done better. Copywriters in addition to being good at copywriting often get involved in writing for blogs, articles, interviews, briefs, scripts for video and social media which requires higher order skills in content marketing.
What kills copywriting is that many consider that it’s become cliched and predictable. Hoards of copywriters are just aping what’s working for other brands and taking a short-cut to finish the work. When you accept or are forced to accept mediocrity as a means to an end then what follows is work that you don’t feel worthy enough to be added to your portfolio.
So are copywriters the dying breed to put it in a perspective they have evolved with time as the craft demands more from them. Today a copywriter needs to do copy, content marketing, work with the art team and also does help with the final execution considering the timelines. Yes the quality of work that was produced has indeed been hit if one had to compare it to the late 90’s and 80’s but then you also have a massive influx of agencies and specialists who have joined the industry impacting quality. We need copywriters while it’s difficult to breed them, but as clients and agencies, we need to create an environment which is conducive to them. As the late John Steinbeck, Ameican Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist puts it we need copywriters right from the start in any creative process.
Bringing a copywriters in at the end of the creative process is like trying to put toothpaste into a tube