The realm of digital marketing is a place packed with wonderful contradictions. Creatives are constantly collaborating, bickering, vibing and sniping at each other in the relentless pursuit of developing award-worthy advertising campaigns. And among all that rabble and noise, copywriters are an important cog in the wheel to keep the marketing machine running smoothly.
But the life of a copywriter is also one of conflict, magic, bullshit, profundity and a stubbornness to get words onto a page no matter what. I’ve experienced any number of these factors during my own career as a copywriter and I’d wager it’s something that many other writers have experienced.
So, discovering Andrew Boulton’s Copywriting Is: 30-or-so thoughts on thinking like a copywriter was a joy, as it’s a book that was written for copywriters and perfectly captures the beautiful absurdity of the profession.
Not a book for unlocking the secrets of content marketing
At the start of the book, Boulton makes it clear that Copywriting Is won’t be some kind of magic bullet that helps you slay werewolves of the page or be your new marketing bible to follow religiously. What he does promise is an honest take from someone who’s been around the block and provides his own perspective on what content writing is.
This insight is split across thirty different sections about the joys, challenges, pitfalls, war stories and triumphs of the industry.
In one section, Boulton refers to himself and other copywriters as people who “are guilty of a simmering indignation, a righteous contempt for those who believe that anyone with fingers, eyes and access to ink is capable of copywriting. And we see these characters everywhere, even lurking in the shadows of our best and most productive client relationships.
A feeling that our contribution isn’t quite as valued by some as we know it should be is perhaps the fuel for another common anxiety – a crippling, obsessive, maddening perfectionism.”
In another section entitled Copywriting Is Fucking Up, Boulton urges us to “fuck up big and fuck up small. Fuck up with great regularity, and if you suspect you may not yet have fucked up, you must look hard for a way to do so.”
It’s this kind of irreverent, lyrical prose that skillfully summarises the reality of copywriting and the act of content marketing. The metaphors, comparisons and ramblings are as funny as they are relatable.
You could imagine Boulton reading the book on stage at an open mic night, a pint of bitter in his hand, waxing lyrical about the plight of marketing wordsmiths the world over. It’s riveting stuff.
An inspiring and honest read
For all the glibness on the page, the book provides genuine value for copywriters who’ve been in the game for years and those who’re starting out. After reading each chapter I found myself thinking that each situation that Boulton describes is relatable and that there’s actionable advice to take.
Content writing is a strange, rewarding profession for those who want to pursue it and I’d recommend that it be put on the shelf for all aspiring digital marketers.
Purchase it today and let me know what you think!