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July 15, 2011

Why You Should Never Hire A Copywriter – A SPN Exclusive Article

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When most online business owners think of boosting their sales, they immediately think of getting a copywriter. They understand that words sell. So if they want to increase conversion rates, getting better copy is a great way to do that.

Here’s the rub though. While the copy is probably the single most important aspect to improve sales, it’s completely irrelevant if the strategy is wrong. Or if the design/usability of your website is not right.

Copy sells. But copy doesn’t sell in a vacuum. Strategy trumps copy every time.

Increasing sales is a factor of targeted traffic, to an effectively designed site, with great copy to compel prospects to act. Underlying all this is strategy: Positioning, unique selling proposition, direct response marketing, and creating an irresistible offer.

While most copywriters have some understanding of these topics, they are usually blinded because they focus singularly on the copy. The same way that a doctor focuses on drugs and surgery and a carpenter focuses on using a hammer and nails. It’s simply what they do.

Most copywriters do what you tell them. And that’s actually bad. They write what you ask for. The problem is what you think you need is often not what you actually need to get results.

This is a constant source of frustration for both business owners and copywriters. The business owner blames the copywriter. The copywriter blames the business owner.

The truth? They are both to blame. And at the same time neither to blame.

Let me explain.

The business owner has a myopic vision of his/her business. The copywriter has a bias toward copy. The copywriter shouldn’t let the business owner dictate what needs to be done. The business owner shouldn’t be looking to the copywriter to save the day.

They can’t. Only strategy meshed with copy will save the day.

The right strategy combined with great copy, read by the right group of targeted prospects will create a winner.

Many copywriters today add the word consultant to their byline. The only way to find out if they really are strategically focused, is by the way they talk and the questions they ask. Do they seem to be primarily focused on the words, prospect, and product? Or do they ask strategic questions on the bigger picture.

The answer is to look for a marketer, not a copywriter. A direct marketer to be specific: Not an ad agency, media rep, or traditional marketing consultant, and not just a copywriter.

If you aren’t getting the results you want, and you’ve tried improving the copy chances are it’s a strategic issue, not the copy. So you need a marketer to figure that out, not a copywriter.


Ken Hoffman is a strategic business advisor and direct response copywriter. He is the author of “Scientific Advertising For The New Economy.” Signup for Ken’s FREE newsletter, Sales Copy: Before & After. You can also download his free report “Website Conversion Strategies” Get it now from http://www.goodmarketingforbadtimes.com/ezine.html

4 Responses to “Why You Should Never Hire A Copywriter – A SPN Exclusive Article

    I differ with the article. A good copywriter is ALWAYS a marketer.

    If you look for a marketer, you may find a crappy writer.

    If you look for a copywriter, you will end up with a marketer anyway.

    Remember, we are NOT looking for writers, we are looking for copywriters.

    avatar Ken Hoffman says:

    Unfortunately most copywriters don’t know marketing. There are many different types of copywriting. Only one that produces measurable results: direct response. The best marketers use direct resonse strategy. And if they aren’t a good copywriter themselves, they will have someone they use to write the copy for them. A good marketer knows the importance of good copy. Most copywriters do NOT know the importance of good strategy. The person who wrote this comment above is an SEO copywriter. SEO has more to do with keyword optimization than it does with marketing or copywriting.

    avatar Phil Stephens says:

    “Underlying all this is strategy: Positioning, unique selling proposition, direct response marketing, and creating an irresistible offer.”

    That is exactly what a good copywriter looks for when he interviews the client. All that is taken into account before he begins writing anything.

    If the client chooses to ignore the writer’s advice, that is his choice.

    avatar Ann says:

    The headline of this article should be “Never hire a lousy copywriter.”

    Because an effective copywriter DOES understand the principles of marketing strategy and knows how to apply them, creating big ideas that sell and writing compelling copy that works to persuade the reader to buy a product or service.

    It’s an overgeneralization to say that “most copywriters don’t know marketing.” It would be accurate to say that “lousy copywriters don’t know marketing.”

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