Last week, I was lucky enough to write the first ever guest post on the blog over at SERPd (a new competitor to Sphinn). I tackled a particular bugbear of mine, the fact that copywriting is overlooked as an essential SEO skill. Despite generally positive feedback, one comment stopped me dead in my tracks:
“Copywriting is an outdated concept and signifies low quality. I’d add a writing category instead and merge it with blogging. The best thing would be a holistic content creation category.”
That’s a big statement to make. Is the concept of copywriting outdated? Does the mere phrase conjour up thoughts of terrible articles slapped together by unscrupulous scrapers or preening prose gurgled out by failed journalists?
Maybe we should all just call it a day and embrace new roles as holistic content creators?
Is copywriting an outdated concept?
There’s no point beating around the bush here. I’ve got a vested interest in saying no, and I’m going to say it. There’s no way copywriting as a concept is outdated. Written communication isn’t something that goes out of date. As long as people are writing, typing or scribbling in the dirt with a stick, there will be a market for the skills of a professional writer.
But that’s not to say that the good name of copywriting hasn’t been battered and bruised.
Is copywriting synonymous with low quality?
I’ve just done a Google search for “copywriting services”. The top sponsored result reads “Original copy for £8 per page”. The pages of any forum with a copywriting section are crammed with people writing English as a second language offering scraped articles for a few pence.
But does that mean the term signifies low quality? I don’t think it does. Just as the SEO market is seemingly infested with snake-oil merchants, there are a number of companies offering copywriting services that aren’t up to scratch. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The actions of a minority isn’t reason enough to discredit a whole field. The scrapers and mills aren’t so prevalent that they’ve tarred the good name of copywriting entirely. If you ask the average person in need of content, they’ll be looking for a professional copywriter with good references.
So, the term copywriting needs to go?
Holistic content creator doesn’t really roll off the tongue. It’s too unwieldy for a category on a social bookmarking site, let alone a business card. People have argued for and against the term, but copywriting works. It defines what we do – a copywriter writes copy after all – and it’s a term that still breeds confidence in clients.
Despite the actions of some bottom-end content generators, copywriting isn’t obsolete. And if you think it’s a signifier of low quality, you’ve been doing business with the wrong people.
What do you think? Is copywriting obsolete? Do we even need to defend the term? Join the debate in the comments section below.