Like coffee, well-written words don’t bore you to death. They keep your readers up late at night, wanting more. Crafted by artisans with a creative flair, strong text is packed with punch and flavour, inspiring readers to think, act and create. On the flip side, a bad coffee, the kind that turns a die-hard into a tea-drinker, is comparable to a clunky paragraph written in poor taste. It’s just not digestible.
As readers, we’ve all experienced the sobering moment in which a spelling mistake, grammatical error or an author’s subjective bias peeps its unsavoury head out in a text. In this decisive instant, the writer’s credibility, and that of the brand they represent, is tarnished, leaving a sour taste in the mouth and doubt in the mind of readers. These mishaps are sometimes forgivable but rarely forgotten. And the rest of the piece? Who cares about that. The moment’s gone. Ask yourself, would you trust a company with your business if its internal marketing division publishes material unfit for public viewing? Hopefully not. For this reason, the collective copywriting ability of your team needs to be as strong as your morning coffee.
DISCLOSURE: Coffee was harmed in the making of this article.
You have 15 seconds before your reader loses interest.
Grabbing attention is hard. Especially when your material is competing in the ocean of information that is the digital world. Once you have a reader, you really don’t want to lose them to a simple oversight. Nothing destroys the illusion of sophistication quite like the misuse of a word. Picture yourself, latte in hand, embarking on another regular morning in lockdown (shout out to Victorians, this one’s for you). Dreary-eyed and face-masked, you look to the coffee in your hand as a beacon of strength and energy, in hope of resurrection. Your first sip, fuelled with anticipation, is met with the bleak realisation that your coffee is, in fact, decaf. Sacrilege. Reining in your frustration, so as to avoid a Karen-themed rampage, you decide to buy your next coffee from a cafe that gets it right every time. A simple mistake really can make or break customer loyalty.
Never underestimate the daily grind.
Providing essential sustenance to the masses, baristas have a very special role in the cafe setting. Tucked away behind espresso machines and the aroma-filled air of fresh ground coffee beans, these frontline workers are entrusted with the responsibility of brewing the perfect pick-me-up. Their craftsmanship is often the difference between a good morning and a mouthful of… sad. Tough gig. So too, copywriters, (and their cohabiting cat families), who are often assumed to lack social skills, play a critical role in the marketing agency. Their work determines the successful delivery of campaigns, the communication of brand identity and the tone of voice that distinguishes one client from the next. Needless to say, an error from their department can compromise the work of their co-creators and, by extension, jeopardise long-standing relationships and client trust. Sloppiness exacts a heavy price.
There’s nothing quite like a strong body of text, rich in flavour and taste.
It’s not me, it’s you.
Committed to the greater good of their community, baristas follow painfully detailed and laborious coffee orders despite their better judgement (see News.com.au’s Aussie coffee orders getting ‘embarrassing’). No matter how particular or demanding the customer may be, these humanitarians sacrifice their opinions and put on a brave face. Yes, Susan’s ¾, oatmilk, extra hot, weak, small latte sounds ridiculous, but Susan is entitled to her indulgences. Similarly, copywriters, full of opinions and idiosyncrasies, reserve their subjectivity when working on client briefs. Consciously choosing their words, they act on behalf of a client to convey a message that reflects the brand’s persona and not their own. With great power, comes great responsibility.
Words can be soothing, like an intention-filled coffee with the perfect crema. They carry significance, meaning and expectations, bearing the responsibility to project a consistent voice and image. When ill-used, copywriting can also act as a nail in the coffin of an otherwise effective marketing campaign. If there’s anything to take away from this piece, other than the observation that Picos creatives are coffee-addicts, let it be that excellent, professional writing is essential to the delivery and execution of advertising endeavours. The voice your audience hears in their head is a direct result of the words you use to articulate your brand’s identity.