Why you should stop hiring copywriters

I’m a writer. That’s currently what I get paid to do.

Sounds elegant right? A lot of people want to do what I do because they don’t actually know what I do.

What I actually do is write a little, edit a bunch, then offer up my work as a sacrifice to the writing gods (i.e. clients).

The writing gods then judge every word. And since every CMO has passed an English class, they usually have something to say.

When I started, my brain hurt from the creativity that seemed to surge through my veins. Studying the award annuals I thought advertising would always be exciting and full of new ideas.

Boy, was I wrong.

It took just three months of working full time to realize that people were always going to change whatever I wrote. And it’s usually people who aren’t qualified to do so. It leads me to ask on an hourly basis…

…why have me write something for you if you’re just going to change every damn word?

For awhile I began to believe that I might actually be terrible at my job.

But then I heard the groans similar to mine coming from senior writers, creative directors and designers. I read a good amount of articles venting frustration and of course there’s Luke Sullivan’s fantastic book that explains this reality of advertising exceptionally well.

Clients who hire us to do what we’re good at usually think they can do or say something better than we can. Why hire an agency especially for copywriting? Because everyone knows how to write. Right?

There is the possibility that I completely suck.

But it wouldn’t make any sense to hire anyone that sucks if you’re a top agency in your region. So, while I’ve got a lot to learn, I do have some kind of talent. Or so it would seem…

…as of today I still have a job…

If you look at the 95% of ads, they suck.

These are the ads that make people think my job is easy and that anyone could be in advertising.

That’s because most of the ads you see aren’t done by creatives, they’re done by clients.

Here’s a prime example of “creative” that probably was produced by an agency but the work was 100% the client’s idea…

Here’s another example, this one was actually done by Pepsi’s in house creative agency (whatever that is…). In case you don’t internet often, it wasn’t well received.

Oh and here’s another just for good measure…(SHOW THE PRODUCT!!! SHOW THE PRODUCT!!!!!!!!)


Clients come to ad agencies for ideas on how to connect to their audiences but rarely do they trust an agency’s expertise.

To me, it seems odd.

Why pay a company to do your advertising when you constantly are reigning in the creative to suite your fancies about what consumers like? Didn’t you hire the agency because they’re experts?

So my recommendation to  anyone thinking of hiring an agency, don’t do it. Unless you’re willing to trust the agency and let them execute ideas that you might not be extremely comfortable with.

This is especially true if you’re wanting the agency to do copy for you. Just throw some words like “innovative”, “sleek”, “modern”, “value” or “cutting edge”, into whatever your writing. Because clearly that’s all a copywriter does these days.

Save some money. Just write the brochure, flyer, ad, or whatever yourself. Because most likely whatever the copywriter comes up with probably won’t be safe. God forbid you try something out of the ordinary.

To me it seems like a waste of everybody’s time to hire a copywriter. We’ve got novels to write and you’ve got the same message to communicate in the same way you’ve always done it.




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