Yesterday I read a great blog post from my friend Tom Albrighton. Its title is 7 reasons copywriters should blog.
Tom is one of the more thoughtful copywriting bloggers out there and doesn’t clutter the Internet with statements of the bleeding obvious or self-aggrandising “look how clever I am” advice.
I blog myself – you’re reading this on my blog – so I clearly agree with Tom.
Well, yes, up to a point Lord Copper. But I have a few conditions. So here, as a counterblast to Tom, are my seven reasons why copywriters shouldn’t blog.
1 It gives you the illusion that you are busy
Blogging involves intellectual effort. Or it does if you’re doing it properly. But that’s the only kind it involves. You don’t need to step outside your comfort zone. No anxious cold calling. No face-to-face networking. And, no, horror of horrors, selling.
You just sit at your desk, where you always sit, writing. Then you punt it out there and rely on Google to bring the right people to your door. And by right people, I mean prospective customers.
But how do you know how well it’s working. By the number of comments you get? The number of retweets? How are you going to spend those?
2 You are not an educational charity
You’re a copywriter so, quite naturally, you blog about what you know: copywriting. And people who want to learn how to write copy read your blog. So far so, er, not good. Because these people do not fit the profile of “prospective customer”. They fit the profile of, “someone who is too cheap to buy a book on copywriting or even give you their email address in exchange for your copywriting e-book”.
They quite happily read your pearls of wisdom and then disappear. In my experience, some of these folk can even get shirty when you do try to sell them something, writing hysterical emails accusing me of the worst excesses of tawdry, underhanded behaviour. For doing what copywriters are supposed to do, which is sell things to other people.
3 It is a very poor use of your time.
So you want more customers. More high-paying customers at that. (I have yet to meet a copywriter who wanted more low-paying customers.) Every hour you spend blogging is an hour you could have spent writing letters to people you want to work for. Or telephoning them. Or meeting them at conferences. Or, for that matter, reading books on copywriting, attending training courses or chatting to other copywriters in local bars.
4 You are contributing to Internet “noise”
Does the world need another article explaining how headlines are there to grab attention? Or that benefits are more important than features? If you have something truly original to say, then go ahead and blog it; if it’s that good, though, why are you giving it away?
5 You are creating a monster that demands to be fed
Your Twitter feed needs updating. You haven’t posted anything on Facebook for a while. How about those LinkedIn groups you belong to – shouldn’t you be starting a new discussion thread or responding to another thread started by somebody else.
And now you’re going to start a blog. Which will also need updating. Nothing looks sadder than a blog where the last post (how apt) is from several months ago.
Slay the monster before you give birth to it and create more time for other ways of promoting your business.
6 You are failing to distinguish yourself in the marketplace
When every copywriter is blogging, what’s the point? Any nominal advantage in terms of your PageRank disappears. You just contribute to the general feeling that copywriting and the advice on the web from its practitioners is a commodity.
Why not get a reputation based on public speaking? Or for fulminating on Twitter?
7 Blogging is not marketing
Marketing is defined in all sorts of ways, but the definition I can live with is “meeting customer needs profitably”. I like it because it has the word “profitably” in it. I am not sure most blogs meet that criterion.
In terms of the hierarchy of sales and marketing activities, where the more profitable ones are at the top, blogging is right at the bottom. Or maybe one step above “being alive”.
I do it. But only when I have done all these other things:
Visited prospective clients at their offices.
Attended conferences that my prospects attend.
Written sales letters to people I really want to work with.
Telephoned everybody who has enquired about our services.
Emailed everybody as above.
Sent a sales email to my mailing list.
Written an article for publication in a magazine.
I am aware of the irony of making these assertions in a blog post. Although I hope you will consider buying something from me now you’re here. Like one of my copywriting books. Or a freelance copywriter web audit. Or a place on my Freelance Masterclass. Or our distance learning programme Breakthrough Copywriting.
Or, at the very least, you may decide to sign up for my blog using this handy form.
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