The Importance Of Good Writing

I’m following a discussion in a Creative Director forum on Linkedin about the complete absence of writers in some design firms.

Some felt that it was indicative of the fact that people don’t read anymore (not true). Others said that it was because people don’t understand the value that solid writing can bring to the table (true).  Others said the problem was that everyone thinks that they can write (also true). Then this comment came in from Jef Loeb who, I think made some really important points that I hadn’t heard before.

Due respect, fellow sufferers, but I don’t buy the notion that clients think words have been marginalized, even in our highly visual world. Last time I checked, they were highly aware that the nasty little bastards (words, that is) are still talking people into bed, starting wars, launching companies, arousing curiosity, making people either smarter, more informed, or at least most fluently biased – take your pick – and, yeah, still sparking the sale of a billion products or two.

This isn’t to say that marketers are blind to shifts in how audiences process those words – between technology changing the ergonomics of reading and the reality of attention economics, we’re clearly operating in evolving territory. But when you come down to it, there’s still just too much reading going on to pretend that writers and writing have become irrelevant. Or, worse, keyword generation machines.

Tell you what else hasn’t changed: People tasked with getting persuasive copy in front of the persuadable complaining about paucity of quality writers. I happen to think that’s because we’re not only competing for the rarely gifted, but also because part of what makes them that way is an equally scarce ability to make the copy and visual whole greater than the sum of its parts.

So, okay, there are design firms, gfx studios, and now that I think about it, more than a few advertising art directors, who think of words, and the people who put them in the right order, as unwelcome ants at the picnic. Too bad for them: just look at what they’re missing.

Oh, you still here? Thanks for reading. Any response to that?

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