Confessions of a Copywriter #9
I’m sat here writing this from Marco Polo Int. Airport in Venezia after taking the weekend to enjoy my first Biennale. No working Wi-Fi, but it hasn’t stopped me from telling you what I’ve learned this week.
1 Learn from one another (or not)
As a copywriter on the come up who’s proudly dissatisfied with what I’ve learned so far, I look to many sources for inspiration and lessons that I can use in my career. Articles, podcasts, books, experience, advertising, and more. The one I assumed would be the most useful is fellow copywriters. But having spent the past 2 months hiring over six different copywriters — all far more senior than myself — I’ve come to the shocking realisation that I’ve learned very little from any of them. And I’ve tried too. I’ve asked the right questions, been upfront about wanting to learn as much as possible from them and yet when I think back, none of them taught me anything of great significance. Ever the learner, ironically, this has taught me that you might be surprised to learn nothing from a fellow creative or copywriter.
2 Of widows and orphans
I have however, learned a bunch of previously unknown terminology from designers at work. “Widows”, “orphans”, and “Logo Lock-ups” have all been added to what I thought was a pretty well-established lexicon of terms around digital copywriting and design. You might think this isn’t particularly important unlike the nitty gritty of copywriting but when it comes to making an impression with a new client on a particularly important project, working with a new team (remotely or not) when when time is of the essence, these terms and more can mean the difference between securing that contract and delivering that project.
3 When mock ups mean the world
And speaking of projects where every the details matter, this week I learned about Type Anything, a service on Product Hunt that lets you… well, type anything on your website and see how it looks in a wide variety of typefaces. As a copywriter this means no more grueling hours spent downloading fonts one-by-one to try on a page that looks sort of similar to yours/the clients. This tool is going to be invaluable in creating multiple mock ups to show clients on the journey towards the end product live in situ without any ‘sorta’ stuff.
4 Transactional v informational alignment
Often people underestimate the importance of really fine-tuning a marketing emails. Those are the same people that try the same sales technique again and again without thinking of a unique angle. Because so much of how we perceive an email in our inbox is subconscious, it can be hard to break down exactly what’s right and wrong with what you’re sending. This week I learned that most informational emails (giving you an update on services, your account etc. will align text on the left (as it would be in a more formal document). Meanwhile transactional emails upselling a product, reminding you of a sale etc. will be aligned left. This gives the impression the content isn’t as long and gets the reader to the good stuff asap. This type of thing is inherent in all of us subconsciously but it’s only when we break it down and analyse it consciously that we can use it as a weapon in our marketing.