(Short copy, no problem at all – bring them on, don’t let me put you off.)
Reason number one is a sort of hybrid reason: to be honest, I find writing long things – websites, brochures – boring and daunting in equal measure. I’ve spent most of my career as an advertising writer, and advertising copy is almost always short. By this point, 60-odd words in, I’m ready for a wrap-up: For more information, call me on 07850 055 390, or go to luciancampconsulting,com. And enjoy a great deal – and a great deal more. That’s it, job done, off down the pub. Having to sustain the effort over thousands of words is, well, as I say, boring and daunting in equal measure.
Reason number two: you’ll change or cut all the good bits. People who ask me to write long copy usually do so because they think they want my kind of stuff. But when they get it, they realise either that they don’t really, or that their boss doesn’t, and then they get out their editing pencils and take out all the bits that make it my kind of stuff. I don’t want to irritate an old friend, but I could point you to a Guide To Investment on a well-known wealth manager’s website that is the dreariest and less interesting thing you could ever read: it bears pretty much no resemblance at all to the rather perky first draft I submitted.
And then reason number three: compared to other things I do, it’s really badly paid. This is partly because there’s no real chance of an efficiency dividend – in other words, of completing the job in half the estimated time so that you effectively double the estimated rate. Writing long copy takes time. But it’s also just because…well I don’t really know because of what, but over all the years I’ve been in this business day rates for copywriters have increased less than pretty much any other cost I can think of. When I first hired a freelance copywriter back in 1985, the going rate was £200 a day. Now the good ones cost a lot more – but you can still hire a freelance copywriter for £200 a day.
So those are my three reasons for not really crossing the road to pick up a long copy brief. (I suppose if I’m really honest, there’s a fourth reason, which is that there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of other work that’s easier, more fun and better paid.)
And if you’re feeling concern that this means I’m lacking an outlet for this kind of more expansive expression, don’t worry. What do you think this blog’s for?