5 minutes with Jo and Katie
The world of commercial words is perhaps so easy to understand that it is completely misunderstood.
It’s time to put a spotlight on the word artistes. Introducing the crème de la copywriting crème, my friends Jo and Katie: Jo works in-house for one of the UK’s leading building societies, and Katie works agency side on projects for blue-chip brands.
Here is why copywriting is all about the words, and yet so much more than words:
Reading and research give your writing rhythm
There is a reason that poetry stands the test of time, and it’s mainly because our senses love the sound of rhyme. It makes stories more memorable.
While not everything needs to sound like a Dr. Seuss narration, reading and research set the pace for the right words.
“In fact, I’d change the term ‘copywriting’ to ‘thinkaloting’. I’m a thinkalot. Designing and shaping what you intend to write starts way before pen even touches paper. I think the new term also makes me sound like a medieval knight, which is pretty cool!” exclaims Jo.
Achieving simplicity is a puzzle of complexity
The easier something is to read, the harder it was to write.
Katie explains: “People think writing happens quickly. You can’t be slow, but you have to think about it. It’s a creative thing that requires thought. With complex ideas, you can’t wing it!”
Choosing the right words takes courage
As the currency of copywriting, words need to be treated with respect. The weight of the words is often on Jo and Katie’s shoulders, signing-off headlines, scripts and high-profile research reports on the basis that the words work well together, suit the target audience and achieve the desired outcome.
“There is a craft involved in tuning sentences, tweaking them to say exactly what you want, in the tone you want to hit”, remarks Jo, “Well-worded copy and a consistent voice make brands who they are, and give them credibility”.
Everything is heart, even your head
This is a good thing – the heart often realises what’s going on before the head. When the head catches up and agrees, you know you’re ready to share the words.
Katie adds: “When you’ve worked hard, there is such a sense of satisfaction. You know when it works and it’s the best feeling ever”.
Talent is paramount
Technology has given us automatic spell checkers, grammar assistants and even ghost writers, but the pen will always be mightier than the content generator.
“I think that there is a lot of talk about content generators. Machines. That won’t happen. There is no substitute for talented people. It will be very sad if machines come in. A human being who is talented – the world needs that”, asserts Katie.
Jo agrees: “Without ‘real’ copywriters, the beauty in the communication and professionalism of what’s said would be lost”.