Cruising around on Facebook, I saw an image about copywriting that made my belly do a backflip.
It said, “Why I Don’t Believe in Copywriters”.
My initial reaction was,
“OMG! Who is this person saying something I think but I’m too scared to admit, for fear of upsetting my writer friends?”
It was Jen Hall. A Business Coach I am privileged to know and have a great deal of respect for.
So, if Jen can say it, surely, I can too?
However… let me qualify it with a story…
I’m in the third year of fully full-time self-employment.
For years I’d dabbled, hustled and played at business, all the while enjoying the security of a ‘proper job’.
But now, my business is my ‘proper job’!
Two years ago, I would have squirmed at that sentence. The voice of self-doubt especially vocal in my brain at that stage.
I felt like an imposter (because I was!).
I was an imposter because I said yes to everyone – so I didn’t run out of money – even when in my heart of hearts, I knew I didn’t want to do it.
Procrastinating to avoid the task.
Resenting every moment of it.
Looking back on a final product and knowing my clients weren’t getting the best from me.
I’m pretty sure I also ripped a couple of people off in the early days. I priced myself high to put them off, only to have them accept the quote!
This was when I was saying yes to copywriting gigs.
The problem is, when you walk into a networking event and call yourself a ‘writer’, everyone immediately assumes you are a copywriter.
They’ll throw some piecemeal scraps and a few website links at you and expect it magically turned into high converting, beautifully crafted, marketing copy. I was a start-up. I needed the cash. Who was I to say no?
I Felt Fake
Every moment I was writing something, pretending to be someone else, I felt fake.
My mind wandered onto the things I wanted to write. Trapped at a desk, writing someone else’s words, while my own were buried. The novelist in me, who relished the experience of weaving a tall tale, was ignored.
The part of me that had spent the thick end of 20 years training and empowering, was silenced.
It took some time to realise this – as I stitched together the text for a housing association and an engineering firm to create some crude shrouds of website copy – I hated it because I didn’t believe in it.
I hated it because I didn’t believe in it.
Copywriting is fine, for some, but…
To set the record straight, I’m NOT saying I don’t believe in copywriting at all, or that the whole industry is somehow fake. It isn’t.
I absolutely get that not all of us have the time, or inclination, to write. Many businesses may not have the in-house resources to write. I appreciate that writing well is not a skill we all have.
Ultimately, as a business, you must…
Stick to what you do best and outsource the rest
But for me, doing it for people goes against everything I have ever stood for in my career and my life.
I pursued a path of training and coaching in my career because I wanted to empower others to embrace their own abilities.
When I started my own business, I wanted to share my love of creative writing with businesses to help them to learn to love their words.
If they want to write for themselves, and are willing to ask for help, I want businesses to be able to articulate the passion behind what they do and why they do it.
To be proud of their own achievements.
To feel that satisfaction of releasing your words into the wild and enticing people into your world with them.
When I’m not respecting that, I’m not being authentic.
“No, I’m not a copywriter”
It took me a while to pluck up the courage to say it, but “No” is one of the most important words to use confidently in a business!
I still struggle to articulate what I do in my own words (I need my own coach for this!) – I coach / train / mentor / support / advise…
I DO NOT write it for you (even if you ask me nicely and pay me lots of money!)
Besides, I have more novels in me waiting to get out.
When I make time to write, I’m bloody well writing what I want to write, not selling that time to someone else!
One of the things I love about blogging is the often-overlooked professional development.
By regularly blogging you can…
- Find your voice
- Articulate your story
- Learn more about yourself.
- Learn more about what resonates with your readers.
- Discover who your customers really are, it’s often different to who you think they are.
- Find a common language, connecting you to your audience.