In the marketing world many people have this anxiety that somehow their creativity is a finite resource. Illustrators lament their unfilled sketchbooks. Writers never flesh out those outlines. Photographers spend their nights procrastinating about color correction.
I’ve always liked copywriting, but it doesn’t feel creative the way writing a story or a poem does. It feels more like a puzzle, or if you’re being enthusiastic, a haiku.
It starts with a riddle: what words would you use to sell more of this thing?
Then you ask your questions: what can you tell me about this thing? Where are these words going to live? What design will they interact with? If your brand was a famous person, who would it be? Who is the ideal customer?
It goes on and on. The more clues I have, the better I can assemble the right words. The goal is usually to make someone do something, often while parting with money. Even educational or story copy is eventually serving this purpose. The old ads were hypnotic, repetitive, powerful. The biggest difference now is the target can shoot back.
“World’s tastiest popcorn you say?”
“Bullshit. You use GMO corn and it’s better at this other cooler place anyway.”