7 reasons why copywriters should not blog

VC

The death of blogging was announced by Andy Maslen during a panel discussion at the Professional Copywriters’ annual conference today.

Blogging, he suggested, was a mug’s game. With every man and his dog now blogging, there is no point in copywriters adding to the tide of indifferent content that’s swilling around on the internet these days. Clients can’t tell the difference between the good stuff and the bad stuff, so even if you are a great copywriter, blogging is a waste your time.

Far better to spend your time picking up the phone and making contact with people in the real world. Stop shilly shallying and just ask them for the business. Your potential clients don’t have time to go looking on the web to find stuff, so save them the bother with a phone call. Don’t sit at your kitchen table churning out another article on why your website needs good headlines; step out of your comfort zone and get out there to find the work.

It’s an interesting viewpoint. We agree that when it comes to building client relationships there’s absolutely no substitute for real human contact. And being active, rather than passive, is a very sensible approach to generating new business. But we come at the blogging debate from a very different angle to Andy.

7 Reasons Copywriters Should Not Blog

  1. Don’t bother to blog if you have a steady stream of the right kind of client work as far as the eye can see.
  2. Don’t blog if you’re not interested in your clients and their challenges.
  3. Don’t blog if being helpful is not part of your business ethos.
  4. Don’t blog if you want to keep a low profile on the web.
  5. Don’t blog if the whole social media thing bores you.
  6. Don’t blog if you’ve got nothing useful/interesting/funny/thought provoking to say.
  7. Don’t blog if you already know everything about your subject and can afford to stop thinking and learning about it.

We find blogging a brilliantly useful business tool, and so do the clients that we work with. We disagree that people can’t tell the difference between the good stuff and the mediocre stuff – our clients are a discerning bunch. We believe that creating a relevant and client focused blog is one of the very best, most effective ways that businesses can carve a niche and differentiate themselves in a crowded market place. In a world where building trust is paramount, it’s the quickest route to ‘show not tell’ that we know.

Do make the phone calls to clients, do go to the conference and have real conversations, don’t hide behind your blog – but do keep on writing it.

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12 Comments

  1. “With every man and his dog now blogging, there is no point in copywriters adding to the tide of indifferent content.”

    Ouch.

    I do agree that there’s no point in adding more indifferent or recycled content. But if you produce high-quality content, then it’s a different matter.

    I find all my business through blogging. I’m not saying that’s the only way to get business, but it certainly works for me 🙂

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  2. Well, mediocre writing never really helped anyone…
    I’ll side with Henneke and stick to the good stuff!

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  3. Hi Bill and Henneke. Thanks for the comments. I agree on the quality point but it’s interesting to consider what this means. I think your word ‘indifferent’ is an interesting starting point Henneke. Clever writing by itself doesn’t necessarily cut it for me. Quality is in the eye of the receiver and there has to be something right in the intent as well as the delivery. The reader can spot the difference between an article written for the sake of it and something written by someone who genuinely gives a shit about the person they are writing for. We are trying to encourage businesses to write stuff but everyone has to start somewhere and you’ll get better at writing over time. Approaching it from the right place – we really want to help people like you – is a great starting point.

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  4. Thanks Henneke and Bill. We agree – creating genuinely useful, valuable content is good for business. It works for us, and it works for our clients.

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  5. I have three business books on my desk – purchased after first reading the writer’s blog. One of which is Valuable Content Marketing so it clearly works. It wasn’t the first article or the second but, you tend to get a feel for quality by first sampling a blog. There are times when it’s good to write to get something off your chest – and if it can be constructive and entertaining then so much the better. I wish I did it more often.

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  6. I agree, and I said so here:
    http://www.abccopywriting.com/2013/09/18/seven-reasons-copywriters-should-blog

    There are lots of reasons to blog – tangible and intangible, professional and personal. Not all can be traced directly to the bottom line, but so what? I can’t demonstrate ROI on my morning run, but I know I get a lot more done, and have stronger ideas, when I’ve been out running.

    Andy does, of course, blog himself. Dave Trott blogs too, bringing both traffic and prestige to The Gate and generating material for his talks and books. As I said in my post, if it was only aspirant and novice copywriters who were blogging, you might infer it wasn’t worthwhile. But the brightest and best in our industry do it, and seem to get a lot of benefit from it too.

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  7. Thanks Tom and Ben. It is that feeling we are looking for when we land on someone’s website, and the blog is often the first place I go to see if the messages stack up; to see if they are the kind of business I want to work with.

    Here’s a comment from my friend Vaughan Merlyn’s client, who selected him because of his blog:

    “Vaughan, we selected you as a partner not just because your blog demonstrated deep knowledge and a passion for your work, but also for the way you handled reader comments. You responded to every comment, no matter how inane, with grace and humility. You convinced us that you were the kind of consultant we could work with!” See: http://www.valuablecontent.co.uk/riding-solo-content-marketing-tips-for-lone-rangers/.

    Even aspirant and novice copywriters can get great benefit and learn a lot by blogging. It shouldn’t be reserved for the brightest and the best.

    Thanks again for the brilliant PCN conference both of you. And for making Sharon and I really think!

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  8. It sounds like Andy Maslen was playing Devil’s Advocate.

    May I add a perspective? If you write copy for a living — perhaps including posts for others — it’s not always easy to find time for your own blog. One answer is to go back to basics and blog to emphasise your own point of difference. By constantly investigating and articulating to your unique selling point you can inch your own expertise forward with each fresh look. More here http://bit.ly/18dMgX9

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  9. Thanks Mick. I think you’re right – there was a definite touch of Devil’s Advocate in Andy’s comments. He’s a very good blogger!
    And yes, getting back to basics is a good idea. Our ‘back to basics’ at the moment is ‘What kind of work do we want?’ and ‘What help do our best kind of clients need?’ Those are the conversations we want to have, and the blog is a great place to start them.

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  10. I struggle to keep a blogging rhythm. And as it happens, I’m in a phase of developing new relationships (otherwise known as “finding prospects”). Currently, this means attending lots of conferences and meeting people at receptions. Face-to-face meetings and blogging are not incompatible, but I really do recommend that writers get out more as you get a far deeper insight into the issues facing prospects at (their) industry events.

    On the other hand, I haven’t done any cold calling in a long time.

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  11. Thanks Michael.

    It’s tough to keep that rhythm. I found that committing to send out a newsletter each month got me in the blogging habit as I had to have something to say at the end of the month. It’s been a good discipline.

    Totally agree about getting out and meeting people, not hiding behind the blog. The best blog articles stem from real conversations. Writing a blog a great way to move a relationship on isn’t it. You meet someone at an event, perhaps someone who could be a potential client. After the event you write a blog article sparked by a question they asked you and send it on, suggesting a coffee to discuss it some time. Shows you’ve thought about them and are trying to help. Far more effective than a straight ‘met you at the conference, do you want a meeting’ type approach. And far more effective than cold calling.

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  12. Just been on the Andy Maslen and Sunfish websites. I have to say I found them rather formulaic and lacking in personality (although I’m sure he’s very successful – some clients love that kind of po-faced professionalism). I can see why he is so anti-blogging…my guess is that it is not serious enough for him 🙂

    Reply

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