The Skills a Direct Response Copywriter Needs
My clients pay me to write. But I think I do a lot more for them than that. I'm convinced that as a direct response copywriter, I have to call upon a number of very different skills and put them all to work on my clients' behalf. Take a look at what I mean.
The Copywriter As Bricklayer
Did you ever see bricklayers build a wall? They start with a strong, level foundation, then lay their bricks quickly and deftly. It's a pleasure to watch.
I think a direct response copywriter is a lot like the bricklayer. Fundamentally, she or he is an artisan—a skilled worker who practices a trade or craft. That's one of the ways I see myself.
I'm the guy you call when you want results you can count on. Need something to work? Want something fixed? No problem. I show up on time with my toolbox of verbs, nouns and adjectives, get to work, and solve your problem.
A craftsman doesn't have to scratch his head and figure out what to do. He knows what to do because he's served an apprenticeship and done the job a thousand times. Want to pay me a compliment? Don't call me "creative." Call me someone you can count on to get the job done.
The Copywriter As Doctor
So often, a new client calls me and asks whether they should use a self-mailer or a letter package. Or any of a hundred other questions. My response is always the same: I have to hear the whole story.
So, just like a physician, I take a history. I find out all about the objectives of the project and ask probing questions. Only then can I make a diagnosis and figure out how I'm going to treat the problem. (I even make notes in a folder that I refer to before every meeting!)