In response to Dennis O’Neill’s letter (DW 18 February), yes, I agree that designers and copywriters alike should work harder to sell the importance of copy to their clients. Yes, it seems pointless spending vast amounts of money on design, photography and print to then skimp on the words. And yes, some client copy is “poorly constructed… jargon-laden” and all of the other things O’Neill mentions.
However, I don’t believe bad-mouthing clients’ intellectual ability is the answer. It is this creative arrogance that has damaged the reputation of both copywriters and designers over the years. Clients can “write”.
What clients find difficult to do is to look at their business from a customer’s point of view. And that is where an external copywriter can really help.
Apart from devising a logical structure and selecting the most appropriate tone for the audience, a professional copywriter will always try to answer the all-important “What’s in it for me?” question that the reader will inevitably ask. This is crucial if any marketing communication is to achieve its desired results.
I agree with O’Neill that some clients are still convinced that “it is cheaper if I write it myself”. They forget to include the cost of their own time spent writing and rewriting, which can be considerable – not to mention frustrating and largely unproductive.
On the other hand, commission an experienced copywriter to look after the words and it not only saves management time and money, it also gives any communication a distinctly greater chance of being read, understood and acted upon. Which is the whole point isn’t it?