Monday Musing – In Defence of Copywriting

There is a commonly-held belief that copywriters simply write marketing materials because they cannot get their novels published. Unfortunately this view is not only untrue, but it also devalues the valuable work of copywriters too.

Henri Mürger, novelist not copywriter

Henri Mürger was the quintessential Parisian author who starved for his art. Perhaps copywriting could have helped fill his belly as he wrote?

eMarketer estimate that the global content marketing spend during 2013 will be $118.4 billion, up 15% on 2012 alone. As such, businesses clearly place a value on copywriting even if the intelligentsia do not.

The old cliché “There is a novel inside everyone” may or may not be true. Suspiciously the people most likely to spout this truism also offer creative writing courses, so are most likely to benefit from having people believe it. Sadly in the process of perpetuating the myth that novels are the only “true” form of creative writing, everything else including copywriting is devalued.

And although some novelists have created untold riches (J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Dan Patterson etc etc) for themselves, the reality is that if everyone has a saleable book inside them, the would-be novelist faces stiff competition from the other 6.5 billion human beings on earth.

Many writers talk of the struggle to birth a great novel, or the story that bursts forth from their imagination demanding to be written. Which is great if you can then sell the completed work.

Copywriters however tend to have a far larger potential readership, allowing them to flex their creativity, get paid and get read. And getting paid means being able to eat, something great writers like to eschew as part of their badge of creative honour.

Obviously most copywriting efforts go uncredited, or passed off as someone else’s work (see Ghostwriting), but for the writer who really does just want to write, copywriting provides an ideal outlet. And if copywriting marketing materials sharpens your skills to write that novel you always dreamed of, so much the better – there’s nothing like getting paid as you train!

If you would like help copywriting your marketing materials, Tech Write can help. Drop me a line to discuss what you need and how I can deliver. And no, I’m not a published novelist, but am a damn fine copywriter.

Written by Ben Lloyd


Ben Lloyd has worked in the IT industry since 1996, covering a number of roles from helpdesk support to network management and everything in between. Tech Write is built on this experience, offering outstanding technical copywriting services to agencies and clients across the world.

4 comments to Monday Musing – In Defence of Copywriting

  • Andy Nattan  says:

    “Copywriters however tend to have a far larger potential readership, allowing them to flex their creativity, get paid and get read.”

    I think I enjoy the getting paid part of the gig most!

    As a profession, copywriting’s going to become more valued as search gets ever more sophisticated. When Google want to see unique, insightful and high-quality business copy, businesses are going to want professional writers.

  • Ben Lloyd  says:

    Getting paid is definitely a great benefit of copywriting Andy, but the research, article construction and imagination required to create a compelling item of copy makes the discipline more than just banging out words for cash. There is definitely an element of creativity required which is often dismissed out of pretentiousness!

  • Joey  says:

    But I am an unpublished novelist working as a copywriter. :/

    • Ben Lloyd  says:

      Good luck with that Joey! Consider the copywriting gig as good practice for your next book and enjoy being able to eat in the meantime!

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