I was at a conference last week and came away with the greatest sense of relief I have felt for a long time. The Small Business Marketing event was organised by The Chartered Institute of Marketing for small-to-medium businesses and, while the advice from all of the speakers was extremely relevant to SMEs, it was the words of the penultimate speaker, Drayton Bird, that were still ringing in my ears on the drive home.
When you write content for a living, you have endless conversations – battles really – with clients and prospects who don’t understand the skill and effort involved in creating good copy. I don’t know what’s worse: when they think the task is not worth paying for, or when they realise you have done a better job than they did but can’t quite can’t believe it.
And so, to hear world-renowned copywriter Drayton stand up at our conference last Friday and describe the processes involved as “bloody hard work” was the best feeling. I felt like clapping solo (actually, I might have done).
He followed it with several other gems. Among them, an instruction to never again use the word ‘engagement’ in business unless writing about getting married. (I have never won that particular argument, but I might stand a chance now.)
Mr Bird even managed to put a bit of salve on something annoying that happened at my place of work during the nineties. We had just hired a new chief executive, who made the immediate announcement that he didn’t like the colour orange. The marketing team of which I was a part, had to throw out its recently completed suite of satsuma-branded sales materials and start again. Hearing the world’s foremost wordsmith warn of the dangers of “changing stuff because you get bored, rather than waiting until you have something better,” was a very satisfying end to an interesting day.