Why is copywriting training such an alien concept?

If you visit online copywriters’ forums and LinkedIn groups, you’ll regularly see people asking for advice on improving their copywriting skills.  They usually get a good response and there’s no doubt there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there.  But copywriting training is seldom mentioned and when it is, we’ve seen the comments being met with derision.

When it comes copywriting, why is training such an alien concept?  Even people doing the most unskilled jobs have to undergo training. Would Tesco or ASDA let their new staff loose in the store without induction training or health and safety training?

What about your hairdresser? You expect your stylists to be fully trained before they take their scissors to your hair, don’t you?  Why? It won’t actually matter much if your hair isn’t precision cut … it will grow back in a couple of weeks.  It’s only hair, after all!

What makes copywriting different?  Why should a copywriter expect to win clients and charge professional rates if they are untrained and under-skilled?

Copywriting is a critical part of a company’s marketing.  Think of the company producing a new brochure.  By the time they have paid for design, photography and printing, let alone the copywriting, the cost could run to thousands of pounds.  The brochures won’t increase sales if the copy is poorly written, and all that investment will be wasted.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a chimney sweep.  He can’t sweep chimneys or flues where wood burning stoves are used until he’s been trained.  So, your chimney sweep must have training, but your copywriter can get by on a few titbits of advice from a forum.  Strange, eh?  A chimney fire could risk property and even endanger life, so it must be done safely and professionally, of course.  We’re not arguing with that.

But what of the risk to a company which hires an under-skilled copywriter?  If that company’s marketing initiative fails because the copy is poorly written, there could be significant financial damage.

What if a company is relying on the copywriter to help boost it’s SEO and online sales. If that copywriter doesn’t know how to write for SEO, the site will fail and people’s livelihoods could be at stake.  That’s no exaggeration. In today’s market, budgets are tight and many small businesses are struggling.

Isn’t it crazy that someone has to train for three years before they can cut hair, but someone else can profess to be a copywriter with no experience, skills or training?

So, if you’re aware you need to improve your copywriting skills, do it properly and invest in professional training – remember – your client’s livelihood is in your hands.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy


Picture credit: 123RF

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