There are two kinds of people in the world: those who appreciate Ikea for providing an economical way to furnish a house, and normal people.
In case I haven’t sufficiently declared my bias, allow me to clarify. To me, a weekend spent procuring and assembling Ikea furniture – and it is always a weekend-long affair – is tantamount to a human rights violation.
The reason I so despise the whole Ikea palaver is the opportunity cost it represents for me. I would rather part with a little more money (hell, a LOT more) for a fully assembled bookcase than spend days on something that a 9 year-old with decent Lego skills could put together in an hour. I’m happy to admit that I am not ‘handy’. Emasculating this may be, but it’s a fact.
So what does this have to do with marketing?
My point is that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And it’s a point that often occurs to me when I see copy written by people who are not copywriters.
Now, I understand that there are often (ostensibly) good reasons for writing copy in-house, the most obvious being upfront cost savings.
And after all, anyone can write, can’t they?
I ask that facetiously, but I would wager that it reflects a common sentiment. With the explosion of social media and the opportunity this presents for self-publication, people are used to writing – in some cases prolifically.
But that doesn’t mean they are writing well. Quite the opposite, in some cases: as Malcolm Auld noted at the Masters of Marketing seminar I attended last week, the internet is tending to make us ‘intellectually lazy’.
And even if someone is a decent writer, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they can write marketing material. Copywriting is a specialised skill – take a look at John Hancock’s blog if you don’t believe me.
I would be stupid to spend hours wrestling with the mechanical abomination that is an Allen key when I could work at my chosen profession for half that time to pay someone with greater (i.e. any) skill to do it. It’s a pretty straightforward equation.
So if your company writes its own copy, you should ask yourself what you are losing. Good copy builds brands and sells products.
Connect with me on Google+ at +Ryan Wallman