Seeing red: Don't underestimate the power of a wordsmith

Anyone can string a sentence together, but don't make the mistake of thinking anyone can do it well, says Wyn Matthews, editorial manager at Word Association.

Anyone can write. It’s simple. String a few words together, pop in the odd over-exuberant adjective, add a liberal sprinkling of the much-cherished corporate speak (everyone respects that blue-sky thinking) – and there you have it.

So why ARE we paying that PR agency for its copywriting services? Madness… Although few people may say these words out loud, it seems extraordinary how many think it. It is only when they actually see the results of good copywriting that they finally appreciate it as a true craft.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a modest, humble soul. I don’t expect a Nobel Prize for that stop-them-in-their-tracks feature I wrote about protecting your home from the perils of condensation. I am no brain surgeon. To my knowledge, I don’t regularly save lives (although, unbeknown to me, how many children breathe that much easier thanks to my tirade against damp?).

But it would be nice if people had a smidgen more respect for the talents of a professional copywriter who has spent years developing and honing their skills.

A fair share of my work involves writing. I love it – I love language, I love communicating, I love playing with words. I take joy in cutting through jargon, scouring my brain for just the right turn of phrase and tailoring copy to best connect with the target reader.

Used well, words have a wonderful ability to illuminate, persuade and inspire. So, next time you find yourself questioning the value of a true wordsmith, ask yourself this: Would you ask an accountant if they’d like some help totting up all those figures? Or suggest to a doctor that your science GCSE might make you better placed to advise on their next medical conundrum? I suspect not.

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