I didn’t think I’d find inspiration in Gregg Wallace this week. The MasterChef judge may have the authority on the best buttery biscuit base, but I doubt he knows much about copywriting. (Quick shout-out to his Strictly Come Dancing cha-cha-cha, which remains one of my televisual highlights.)
Gemma Collins (another unexpected reference) announced she was to make a cheesecake for the first time. She assured she’d be fine because she’d ‘watched her mate make one once’. Mr Wallace was dubious. And, quite rightly, suggested that just because you’ve an idea of how to do something, it doesn’t mean you can put it into practice. (Another reference to the aforementioned cha-cha-cha.) He’s watched many a football match, but wouldn’t be able to take on Harry Kane himself.
What’s a cheesecake got to do with copywriting?
Writing’s one of those things that we all know how to do. From an early age, pen in hand, we learnt to spell, write stories, and ultimately scribble down our hasty recollection of Lord of the Flies for GCSE English Literature. Unlike many professions (surgeon, anyone?) writing’s something we can attempt to turn our hand to if we try.
Therein lies the problem. Like Gemma, just because you have an idea how to do something doesn’t mean you actually can. Not to be defeatist (naturally, I’m telling my son he can be anything he wants to be when he grows up). But part of being successful in business is knowing where your strengths – and weaknesses – lie.
We can all fire up our laptops and type up some information about our business to stick on our website. But:
- Is it going to be any good? (I could probably build a website. I’d use a free online template. It would perform poorly, and look awful.)
- Have you filled it with jargon no one else understands? (Sure, you know the technical name for that fancy operating switch. But I’m buying from you, and I don’t.)
- Do you know what Google will think of it? (SEO? Keywords? Yep, you know what they are. But how do you use them for visible, accessible content?)
- How long is it going to take you? (What else could you be doing in that time? Client billable stuff? Networking? Watching Bake Off with a brew?)
The lesson? Be more Gregg.
Recognise what you can do (spot a soggy bottom). And identify what, despite a few lessons, is best left to the pros (live ballroom dancing).
No confidence in your copy? Give me a shout.