Who.

The.

Hell.

Would be a copywriter?

Seriously.

I threw out a request on Twitter for folks to tell me what they thought the hardest thing about being a copywriter is and…jeez.

Ping. Ping. Ping, went notifications.

Hundreds of fellow sufferers gave their two pence and the little tweet soon turned into some kind of cathartic thread for copywriters around the world.

There’s no way I can thank and credit everyone who replied, but you can check out the full thread here…

Add your thoughts if you like.

There were definitely a few recurring issues called out more than others.

Below I go through the top three and attempt to turn these challenges into benefits live before your very eyes.

Who even are you, schmuck?

Julia gets right to the point:

And my word…

So many people suggested ‘Imposter Syndrome’ in one form or another.

Lots of you see this as a real challenge.

It is.

100%.

And it doesn’t really go away, no matter how ‘successful’ you are.

I’ve written a piece on this before that might help if this is something you worry about too.

Read it here.

Top line advice – focus on telling your story and make sure you tell it well.

The benefit of imposter syndrome?

Humility.

In my experience, the most successful people out there are often the most humble.

More than that, they’re happier.

The ones shouting and spitting about how they’ve made so much money it hurts and claim to be working on the beach with their laptops and guru ninja skills…

They’re not really happy.

Feeling like an imposter reminds you to be humble and that’s an incredibly admirable quality.

As an aside, a problem with the laptop on the beach image: a) wouldn’t you get sand in the keyboard and b) if you’re relaxing on the beach, why would you want your laptop there?

Experts of everything

Another big issue that comes up over and over again is research.

Specifically researching things you don’t really know or care about.

Megan sums it up here:

This is a challenge.

As Megan points out, it’s avoided in part by only choosing projects you’re interested in.

But we’ve all landed a gig where maybe the money is great, the company is nice, but the subject matter is a little bit, er, dull.

As a copywriter, it’s your job to find out what’s exciting about the subject.

This is the true challenge of a copywriter – to really understand the audience, you’ve quickly got to become an expert in the area and THEN find something unique the audience doesn’t know about.

It’s kind of insane.

And I repeat for dramatic effect:

Who.

The.

Hell.

Would be a copywriter?

Ultimately, the answer to that question is:

Weirdos.

Yes. You are a bit weird. And that’s OK.

In fact, this is the benefit of having to do so much esoteric research…

It feeds the insatiable curiosity that makes you the weird and wonderful copywriter you are.

By challenging yourself to follow strange leads, uncover weird details and identify the unique selling proposition of basmati rice, plain wax candles or rain-proof slate roofing…

You expand your brain.

You understand more about how people think.

You become a better copywriter.

Everyone knows better than you

Andrew Boulton mentioned the discipline to work within set boundaries…

So I’m going to limit myself and stick to three big issues in this piece.

The third?

Well, it’s got to be the notion everyone thinks they know better than the copywriter.

We’ll use Chloe’s tweet to sum it up:

We ALL have those moments when a client leans on their opinion rather than the fact of what does and doesn’t work.

Unlike so many other elements of the creative process, copywriting suffers, I think, because the fact is:

Everyone can write.

We spend most of our school life being told how to craft sentences, what ‘good’ literature is and why it is so DISGUSTING to start sentences with ‘and’.

(It’s not by the way. Listen to the song at the end of EP.11 of The All Good Copy Podcast.)

Trouble is: what you do as a copywriter is different from ‘just writing’.

I’ve spent so many years testing different words, phrases and hundreds of other elements of copy that I now have a more objective idea of what works and what doesn’t.

I see my main challenge these days as taking the emotion out of it and considering all suggested changes logically.

And it changes of course. You’ve got to test all the time. To get all Socratic about it: the one thing I know is I know nothing.

Still, as an experienced copywriter, of course, you do know some stuff. And after all, you’re being paid to handle the words.

So, it is always frustrating when it feels like a client doubts your fundamental skill.

I feel your pain.

But is there a benefit to being undermined in this way?

Of course – I’m Mr. Positive, don’t forget.

Aside from those nice moments, when you get proved right…

The good thing about being questioned is it builds up your ability to consider your own copy more critically and without emotion.

This is a huge boost for any copywriter.

Sure, it’s not pleasant to have to develop such a tough skin, but you will become a better writer in doing so.

Look…

It IS hard being a copywriter, as the Twitter thread proves.

But I bet you’re still like me:

You wouldn’t change it for the world.

Here’s the thread again if you’d like to read some more of the excellent replies I got:

Author

Glenn Fisher was born in Grimsby in 1981. After a number of years working in the local council, he left to become a copywriter and founded AllGoodCopy.com, a free online resource for direct response copywriters and marketers. For over a decade he worked with The Agora, a multi-million pound international financial publisher and in 2018, having helped launch and grow Agora Financial in the UK, he left to write copy on a freelance basis, focus on coaching aspiring copywriters and publish his first book, The Art of the Click. He now lives happily with his partner Ruth and dog Pablo on the east coast of England.

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