Glossy copy

14 July 2009

The last week or so, I’ve approached a few copywriting agencies — with some success. Inevitably, doing business for the first time means meeting up. Not a problem. This copywriter’s no stranger to motorways.

However, a short conversation similar to this one will almost certainly ensue:

Agency: Can you bring along some finished copywriting samples?
Me: Er, not really, no.
Agency: Oh, why not?
Me: I don’t have any.

There’ll then be a stunned silence. This will be followed by me explaining that yes, I really am proud of my work and yes, my clients love what I do. So why no glossy copy?

Well, it goes like this. And I understand that I’m going to sound like one of those editorial types who thinks that clients really, really want correct spelling and punctuation, rather than to shift their products and build their brand.

However, in my experience, no matter how lying-on-their-backs-legs-in-the-air thrilled a client is with my copywriting, they will generally tinker. A word here, a jiggle of a sentence there.

Now, I love my clients. But I do wish they wouldn’t do this. My copy is carefully crafted. It can take an hour to get a particularly pivotal sentence right. And, frankly, if there’s so much as a comma out of place, then I don’t want to be held responsible.

For those who think this is an extreme reaction, consider this: I visit a copywriting agency, meet the Client Director, chat for an hour over Hobnobs and everything’s going swimmingly. I leave behind some samples.

A day or so later, the Creative Director’s browsing through my stuff with a G&T and he spots a few howlers. He’s a stickler for grammar and punctuation. I’m not there to defend myself. Bye-bye lots of work.

I’m sorry. I’m a perfectionist. I can’t help myself.

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