One of the first things I did after jumping feet first into freelancing was sign up to receive all sorts of industry information. Regular email updates from all corners of the wide and varied copywriting world now land in my inbox each day.
Many of them are useful and I squirrel such emails away for some untold future purpose. Equally as many, however, are not. Well, I say this but of course it's not a universal truth. I'm sure plenty of people read, enjoy and learn from the content in the kind of emails I am referring to. I'm just talking of my own experience.
How to guides on SEO, top tips on writing for the web, content marketing dos and don'ts, know your buyer, sell more stuff, the list goes on. I'm not saying these things aren't important, of course they are and best practice is, after all, best practice. It's just that titles like this and the information that sits under them often leave me a little, well, cold.
Don't get me wrong. I am a professional and I know these things matter, but I sometimes feel that they fail to address one of the things I love most about being a copywriter: connecting people with words.
Many of my clients are similar to me, creative individuals who are just starting out or continuing to go it alone down their chosen paths. These people have taken a leap of faith to follow their passions and they come to me to ensure that their written voice reflects their ideals. They know what they need to say but not always how to say it. Finding the right words for them is a pleasure and a skill I am only just beginning to fully appreciate.
I consider myself lucky because writing has always come fairly naturally to me. I'm not saying it's not hard work because it most certainly can be, but finding the right words to express ideas and emotions has never troubled me all that much. And as a lover of words I think of this as a blessing. An even greater blessing, though, is affording this ability to other people, enabling them to say exactly what they want to say in a voice that rings true.
I know this is pretty basic stuff, copywriters are essentially pens for hire and honouring a client's tone of voice is a fundamental building block upon which all sorts of other technical skills must be founded. I suppose what I'm getting at is this: in the world of industry email updates that shout of buying, selling and search engine optimisation, it can be easy to lose sight of the quiet, individual voice and the value that lies in honouring it.