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June 19, 2019

The patchwork charlatans

I once heard a story about a copy chief tasked with finding new financial copywriters.

He sent an email inviting spec copy submissions. Some were terrible. Some were good. Others were somewhere in-between.

But one submission raised the copy chief’s antenna.

It didn’t read well. It was disjointed; patched together.

So he copied some sentences into Google…

… and the search returned control ads by top copywriters.

Yep, this chap had copied and pasted sentences from other ads and tried to stick them together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Not cool.

When the copy chief called him out, the guy went ballistic.

Rather amusingly (although not for those concerned), the “swiper” complained to the copy chief’s boss.

Fortunately, he was smart enough to realize the guy was a crook and blacklisted him.

Anyway.

My point is: if you’re a copywriter, swiping for ads word for word is theft… and… it’s ineffective.

Instead, use successful ads for inspiration. When you’re stuck, use them to study how other copywriters handled the problem, and apply that to your own work.

And if you hire copywriters — be wary. This practice of patching successful ads together is surprisingly common.

I call them “the patchwork charlatans”.

Simple way to protect yourself:

Use your intuition. And if something seems off — investigate.

Or, hire a copywriter who is visibly writing a lot. Because, believe it or not, there are lots of copywriters who don’t actually write. And I’d bet my house on it being the same people who swipe other ads verbatim. Easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Which brings me to the climax.

If you’d like more insider nuggets like this, grab a complimentary copy of my $14.97 Amazon book, here:

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