The Sunday Feed!

To Kill a Copywriter

Photo: Suzy Hazelwood

Advertisements today do not have copy. They have what is called an assembly of ”keywords.” This I believe is the new definition of copywriting. Advertising has become subservient to FB and Google. Copy is not written to make the communication feel and sound good but to please the algorithms.

Just opened a video to see a douche start with a statement that you don’t need to have years of experience for becoming good at copywriting. That’s not all, he goes ahead to say that if you want to write copy, go to Reditt and pick up the phrases from the comments and put them in your copy.

As long as we have these types of charlatans doing the rounds of the internet, it will not be long before copywriting will become a skill of the past. All that we will be left with will be “keyword collectors” more popularly referred to as “content writers.”

So what are the things that have led to the demise of such a beautiful skill?

1. The Goldfish effect

More than 90% of the world population has an attention span of 3 seconds, which is humiliating when you realize that the goldfish can look at an object for 8 seconds. This means that if you are an advertiser then, the key objective for you is to thrust a barrage of keywords in the first 3 seconds.

Short videos uploaded in millions over different platforms are one of the key contributors in exponentially reducing our ability to concentrate on anything.

2. Multitasking

Most ads today are consumed on social media. However, the thing about a phone or a computer is that at any time, a user has more than 5 tabs that are open on the gadget. Which means that whenever a person is watching or reading something on the phone or the computer, there are 4 other tabs that are vying for his or her attention leaving the person with just a cursory salience with the feed being consumed at any given time.

3. No regard for the well-read

Have a look at any job ad for a “content writer” and you will realize that most of them say that the candidate should be able to write copy. Essentially meaning that anyone who can type on the computer is by de-facto a copywriter. Just like saying that anyone who can make a video on the phone is a filmmaker.

It is time to make the reader understand that the headline or the copy they read in a good ad is a result of hours of deliberation and tons of correction.

4. Silence of the firms

A lot of medium to large advertising companies are thinking that we do not have to worry about the deteriorating standards in the communication industry as we have highly experienced and qualified writers.

Make no mistake, AI is coming fast at you. There are some apps like “Jasper” that are promising to generate content in seconds. It is not going to be very long before AI invades the art director’s domain. In fact it has with the app called “Adzign” which promises to create dozens of ads in one click.

The carnage has just started and if the viewer or the reader is not made aware of the difference between a good copy and a mediocre one, AI is going to erase many careers even before they have started.

When a film or a TV series becomes a hit, the credit is often given to the actors and the director. Very rarely do we acknowledge that the real person behind the success of the ad or the film is the person who actually came up with the idea for the story, the writer.

I have a lot of reverence for copywriters and I think they deserve much more respect than what they get right now. I believe it will be totally unfair to ask a good copywriter to write copy to just please the algorithms and at the same time freely confer the title of a copywriter on someone who is just a “Keyword accumulator.”

John Khalkho — CEO: Dolores Web Design

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