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I went into the deep green wood, of roses there was none

January 23, 2011
Trees in Hatfiled Forest

Deep among the Hornbeams can good copy be found?

Sometimes the search for excellence leads you down blind alleys. Copywriting is one such skill: you know what you want but rarely can you find it. Down in the greenwood, we seek flowers in uniformity yet rarely does the rose shine when the greensward we reach.

What makes a good copywriter? Good copy glows like spots of blood in the snow; crimson brilliance against a sea of white. It is Gawain to the cruel world’s Green Knight. It has the power of the Fisher King without the melancholy.

  • A good copywriter is an interpreter: someone who puts him- or her-self into the mind of a consumer and tries to think about their desire.
  • A good copywriter knows how to match consumer desire to a company’s product range without overkill, hyperbole or deceit.
  • A good copywriter has instinctive quality control: precise spelling, immaculate choice of words, wide-ranging knowledge and profound humility.
  • A good copywriter understands how, when and where his or her words will be used – a deep understanding of matching circumstance to individual needs.
  • A good copywriter is more than a writer. He or she is an instinctive marketer.
  • A good copywriter is a trust agent, delivering credibility online or in print.

Finding a good copywriter is harder than it seems. You can search for the Fisher King but few, very few, can find him. That’s because, like Percival, you should be in ignorance of bliss until joy lights from the deep wood. Few people find the Holy Grail twice – because the second time they are looking for it on purpose.

To have a precondition of search without an open mind to possibility will deliver up nothing. No roses grow in a wood when you expect to see them growing there. The best roses are those found when you least expect them.

Image: Hornbeams in Hatfield Forest, Hertfordshire. Courtesy of Archie Miles photography.

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