This Is What We Know

Bored Hippo is Bored.

Ever get the feeling that the brilliant, insightful advice you’ve just received might not be as groundbreaking as you think?

I do. And I’m fairly sure you do too.

Yet bloggers keep on wasting time recycling the same old tired advice, just because it’s quick and easy to reheat the leftovers of a debate that should’ve been finished off months or years ago.

So before you put finger to keyboard for your next blog post, take the time to think about what we all already know:

1) Good Long Copy Is Good

Of course good long copy is good. The sort of people who are proclaiming that there’s no place in the modern world for long copy are the same folks who claim every concept can be whittled down to 140 characters.

People look to websites for information before they buy a product or procure a service. And what is a 12 page website if not a specialised form of long copy? Now, more than ever, the ability to produce thousands of words selling a service to a skeptical client is a crucial string on the copywriter’s bow.

But then, we already knew that…

2) Good Short Copy Is (Usually) Better

… Just like good short copy is usually better. Because if you can make a customer take an action with six words, they won’t need to read the 600 that follow it.

It’s horses for courses. And we’re all well aware of that.

3) Regular Updates Lead to Regular Readers (Except they don’t)

Two reasons you don’t have to keep trotting out this tired old truism. Firstly, we’ve heard it all before. Secondly, because it’s absolute codswallop.

Regular readers aren’t coming to your site through your bookmarks bar. Because it isn’t 1999. They’re subscribed through Facebook, Twitter or good old-fashioned RSS feeds. So when you post, they’ll know. And when you don’t post, they just won’t be prompted to visit. So stop telling us regularity is the key. Unless you’re arrogant enough to believe that thousands of people hover on your homepage, hammering F5, waiting for the regular 3pm Thursday post.

4) [XXXX] is DEAD! (Except it isn’t)

SEO isn’t dead – it works and it’s crucial. Copywriting isn’t dead – it works and it’s crucial. Traditional marketing isn’t dead – it works and it’s crucial…

Do I need to continue? Because if the glut of “OMG, X IS DEAD!” posts I see after every single algorithm tweak, media buyout or better mousetrap suggests that I do.

When techniques die, you don’t need to announce it. That’s because everyone will have stopped using it by then. If copywriting was dead, there wouldn’t be copywriters, and people wouldn’t look for copywriting services. So a blog post would be superfluous.

So either you’re too late, or you’re wrong. Either way, we’d know.

5) Stop Recycling Ideas and Blog Posts

The only excuses for a rant against plagiarism or recycling old material are as follows:

Otherwise, just take it as read that the only people regurgitating the same old boring slop are the sort of people that aren’t worth reading anyway.

6) Social Media Isn’t Magic

I had a paragraph here, but then Tom Albrighton went and wrote a whole post this morning. And it’s extremely difficult to disagree with. But we all know social media isn’t the magic cure-all that a steadfast few proclaim it to be, so stop telling us. Unless you can do it with some authority and verve.


Not this kind of Verve...

That’s six things we can draw a line under. Six things that have been covered, in depth, by the great, the good and the grimly untalented alike. Which means it’s time to start looking for new, interesting topics of conversation.

So, dear readers, what do you want to know? And what do you already know? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

4 Comments comments for "This Is What We Know"

  1. Zarko at 8:10 pm

    I agree with 5 1/2 out of 6 🙂

    the half part is not that i disagree, but you failed to mention that frequent posting has a benefit to it, not directly to your common readers, but for the serps. Google as well as other search engines love frequent content, of course if it adds value and has relevancy, not just any content will do. But hey, with one post a week people can get plenty of traffic, so it’s blog to blog basis!

  2. Athena at 1:30 pm

    Hey Andrew…I love your site it’s a wealth of information. It’s entertaining not only for fellow copywriters but just for writing techniques in general. Would be cool talk about copywriting if you ever come up Edinburgh way. Have a look at my site- although not nearly as comprehensive. Athena

  3. Katie Saxon at 1:46 pm

    What do you mean social media isn’t magic? I have it on good authority from a blogging wizard I met in a kingdom far far away that all I have to do is tweet 3 times and post a cat pic on Facebook on the eve of a full moon and I’ll be rich as hell.

    Strangely still waiting for the cash.

    PS Has your blog got a shiny new look or am I unobservant?

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