There are many ways to judge a great copywriter.
I love a great line. And after all these years I’m still struck by the power of words and the skill and creativity that’s needed to put together a great piece of copy.
But they are just words.
However finely crafted or highly polished, words serve a purpose. They are not Ming vases, diamond rings or Fabergé eggs that need to be revered, cherished and protected. If they don’t work for the client and fulfil the brief, they get red-penned.
This means that any writer who is too precious about their knock-out line or killer concept gets short shrift here.
There’s just no other way to make a copywriting agency work in the long run.
I’m all for talking up a good idea or line, but ultimately you have to let great copy go if it doesn’t help fulfil the overall brief. We also have to accept that a client’s judgement may differ from ours.
Our years of experience and judgement are, in the end, no more than a solid foundation for the very best advice we can offer. Any opinion about a piece of writing is subjective and, ultimately, it’s the client’s take on a job that matters.
They understand their products, markets, causes and audiences far better than we do.
Good writers are like the copy they produce
And this is why the working style of the best writers is rather like the great copy that they produce: malleable, flexible and seemingly effortless.
All creatives are protective of their work. But writers can’t be getting all uppity with clients. Good writers relish being a pen (or, these days, a keyboard) for hire and want to produce what actually works for the client regardless of their own ambitions for the project.
Writers who can’t do this don’t last long with us (or with anyone else, I suspect). They fall by the wayside… just like the lines they write.