Copywriters: never mind who’s the Daddy, who’s the market?

A tweet from a very nice bloke I follow on Twitter reminded me of something I’ve wanted to spout off about for ages.

But first, the tweet that jolted me into action – and words.

As you’ll hopefully see from the screenshot, it was from @BestWordsmith, a bloke called Doug – a very good copywriter from what I’ve read and, as far as I can tell, (as much as you can tell via sociable media) a thoroughly decent chap. Go on, give him a follow. Then check out the other copy monkeys I follow – they’re all good people and well worth a sneak up behind. (If you’re a writer and don’t currently appear on my list, it’s nothing personal… well it is… personally, I’m crap at keeping my lists up to date – so please give me a shout below and I’ll gladly add your name).

Doug’s tweet directed me to a big long list of copywriting tips from a fellow marketing hack called Bill. If you’re a writer, you’ll have heard of him – Bill Fryer – a Big Daddy amongst the Copy Club.

Now Bill’s obviously pretty successful. He’s one of the breed of copywriters who’s utterly, totally, completely commercially focused.

‘What?’ I hear the writers scream. ‘To be a decent writer (of the marketing copy variety) you are inherently commercial.’

Yup. But I’m talking about being commercial in terms of marketing yourself as opposed to being commercial about marketing your clients.

And here comes the other ‘but’. And the thing I’ve been meaning to mention for ages:

Just who does this breed of copywriter think they are marketing to?

Take a look at the link – if you haven’t already.

As I said, a great big long list of copywriting tips. For copywriters.

Now writers, I don’t know about you, but my market is not a bunch of copywriters looking for tips on how to improve their skills. My market is a bunch of marketing bods and business bods looking to improve their bottom line.

I’m not talking about posts on SEO, discussions on grocers’ apostrophes and debates on copy style – the benefit of a potential client reading those is obvious. They show the writer has more in-depth knowledge; they show the writer thinks beyond wasting pixel ink; they show the writer cares about their craft.

And they show the writer to be someone who can add far more value than the client who can merely string words together.

You know that client. It’s the client that forces their version upon you. The cart horse client who drafts their idea of how the copy should be, challenges you to beat it and after you duly knock it into shape and beat its potential pulling power out of sight, still doesn’t drink the water.

The client who really shouldn’t be writing copy.

So are Bill’s tips for that client? Because they seem like tips for writers to me.

Which begs me to ask, ‘Is it all a little bit of peacocking?’ (Yup, you’re allowed to invent new words on your own blog by the way.)

Or is it misdirected marketing?

I’ve not made up my mind yet but at least I’ve got it off my chest.

I dunno, you tell me.


Larner Caleb

Freelance Copy, Concepts,
Branding & Creative Direction

May 19th, 2010 4 Comments



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    • Doug Jenner
      May 19, 2010 - 11:44 am

      ‘Peacocking’! Love it, Larner! Can I use that in my ‘best new words’ blog? (You get a free mini-ad and link to your site in exchange for the word and definition).

      I agree with you – Bill’s tips are tops, but they’re aimed at writers.



    • Larner
      May 19, 2010 - 1:47 pm

      Hey Doug,

      Cheers for dropping by – and for the go ahead on this little ditty.

      ‘Course you can use it. And it’d be great fun to write a definition for it – just let me know where you want it sending.

      All the best, L

    • Head Honcho
      May 19, 2010 - 3:13 pm


      make up your own words. The English Dictionary is full of them. That’s why we have the most eclectic language with four times as many words as most other languages. English Rocks.

      I’m liking the words PIMP and BLING – where did BLING come from? Aly Geee?

      dig-a-dig-doug-it… you’re so creativ innit 😉

    • Mike Fletcher
      November 17, 2010 - 3:39 pm

      First time on the blog – good stuff.

      Doesn’t Bill say at the start of his list – ‘ideally you should be using the likes of me but if i’m too expensive (tightwad) here’s some tips to help make a good diy job’ sort of thing?

      Maybe it’s to make people who think they can do it themselves realise just how much skill is involved in doing something effective.

      Dunno, could be just the way i read it!

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