Copy Talk

Copywriting Isn’t Magic

“Use your copywriter magic.” That’s what she wrote. She wanted a headline, but she asked for magic.

On my list of impossible copy requests, magic sits under pizzazz, POP! and punch. What are these things?

“Just wordsmith it.” Hmm. Do I take it to my wordsmith shop and sand it til it’s smooth?

I guess there’s some confusion around what a copywriter does. Let me de-mystify it:

I sit down and I think. Everything I’ve ever seen or heard is my inspiration. I draw on it. I try to forget it. I draw on it again. Sometimes, I listen to music. I use the Internet to look things up. I talk to people. I read. I read a lot.

I write most of my ideas down. Some are terrible and I don’t write them down, but if they keeping popping up, then I’ll write them down just to acknowledge their existence and hope they go away. I keep thinking, I keep writing.

That’s it. (Later comes editing, a cold-hearted practice that is more likely to be compared to butchery than wizardry). Considering that no fairies or sprites are involved, I think it’s time we upgrade our collective vocabulary.

Instead of asking for punch or pizzazz, ask for clarity. Or whimsy. Ask for something poignant and emotional. Or something alarming. Think about how you want it to feel and ask for that. Be specific and clear. Know what you’re looking for. Communicate that.

It’s exactly that easy and exactly that difficult.

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