Thursday, July 2, 2009

Everyone can write, right?

That question is usually followed by, "So why should I hire someone to write for me?"

Put it this way. I play volleyball on a co-rec sand league. I can get it over the net when I serve, I can bump it up to the front row maybe 70 percent of the time. Every once in awhile I'll get a good set over to my partner and sometimes we win the game. But you'll never see me on the professional circuit, that's for sure. I know my place and I like it just fine. I'll leave the real volleyball to the ones who do it for a living.

That's pretty much true about everything in life. For those of you who are lucky to be doing what you love and want to promote it, here's a few reasons to hand that pen off to someone that makes their living doing it:

1) Perspective. You know what you do, but do you feel like sometimes when you explain it to people it's like trying to describe a movie to someone who's never seen it? Sometimes you can be too close to what you do and lose sight on what your audience might understand, or find important. A copywriter takes what you have to say and sees it as your clients or customers see it - and explains it as such.

2) Keep it real. A medical client of a former business I worked with once said, "You guys promise not to do surgery and we promise not to do marketing." Fair enough. That client performed everything from esophagogastrectomies to herniorrhapies and everything in between, and it was my job to describe to people who were getting one of these procedures done exactly what was going to happen in a language they would understand. Not only did it educate the patient, it made them feel as if the physician cared enough to explain medical procedures to them in a straightforward, "layman's term" way.

3) Do what you do. When you take the time to write your own stuff, you're taking time away from what you do best. If you form a long-term relationship with a copywriter, that person will get to know you and your business, and over time, can be your "write-hand" person (OK, pun intended.) He or she can suggest areas where editorial can be beneficial - from web copy, ads, and brochures to articles in local, regional or national trade publications. You go on about your business, and trust your copywriter to be your biggest fan.

What gets written about what you do is going to be what forms the public's knowledge, awareness and opinion of you as a person and as a business. Like a good accountant, a good realtor, a good investment banker or a good friend, having a good copywriter by your side ensures that the public perceives positive prose...professionally penned.

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