Words are ideas too

Words can be ideas too. Click image for source.

Words can be ideas too. Click image for source.

Over the past few weeks since going freelance I’ve noticed the value clients place on ideas.

As a copywriter there’s a temptation to think that your writing is the end product. It is, but that all starts with ideas. You can’t just sit down with a client and start penning words, but you can sit down and go through ideas with them.

It’s at this stage that the chemistry is so important. Sit down with the client and within minutes you can come up with something that you both think will work.

To take an example, I’m working with a client right now who wants to impress on their customers the need to make a website work – as in, really work, as in, actually bring business in and make money. This is something big business cottoned onto years ago and yet it’s amazing how many smaller enterprises haven’t done this yet.

For example, I’ve seen at least three sites recently that look like flashbacks to the mid-nineties. They have horrible mouse-over buttons at the top and flashing stars in the background (remember them?). More to the point, as a copywriter, I see about ten different messages splashed all over the show, none of them truly expressing a benefit for prospective clients, and certainly none of them saying what is different about the company. It’s as if Unique Selling Points never existed.

So, we can do two things, straight away. Isolate what makes the clients unique, and why that benefits their customers. We’re in the business of behaviour change here, so we want to stop people doing something they’d rather not be doing, or start them doing something they can’t do right now.

The actual reasons will vary between clients but just a quick convo can reveal so much. It could be that the client has been in business for thirty years and has oodles of experience. This is a great point to push when the client’s customers want a safe pair of hands. Or maybe the client already has a whole string of events already planned. Great – let’s get some nice, conversational copy out there and push them to a Facebook community.

Then we can build in some great SEO keywords that will get them listed on Google. Provided we’re canny, we can even get them listed above the competition. The result? The client’s phone starts ringing and everyone’s happy.

The point I’m making is that a copywriter doesn’t just write copy. A copywriter also needs to help with ideas. And so often, the ideas come when you sit down with clients, and listen to what they have to say, and understand not only what makes their businesses tick, but what makes them tick too.

So, PR account directors and managers everywhere, hear my plea: let your copywriters out of the engine room. They’re not just black boxes that you can feed briefs into and get copy out. If they’re good, they’ll be full of ideas and your clients might just love them for it.

And if you want to tweet that, tweet this:
Let your copywriters out of the engine room. They’ll be full of ideas and your clients will love them for it. http://bit.ly/zojJe

2 thoughts on “Words are ideas too

  1. This is exactly what I often preach on my own blog about how writers can increase their income and break out of the $10 article racket. Offer clients added value on top of your words and you can justify higher prices.

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