I’m not going to say watching Mad Men made me want to be a copywriter – but I’ll admit it certainly didn’t put me off. The US drama based in the 1960s world of advertising has been a huge success, with fans across the world and numerous awards under its belt. Critics cite the terse script dealing with 60s social mores, the laconic acting, and of course the chic vintage costumes and sets. In fact, what makes Mad Men shine is the subject matter: advertising.
The real glamour lies in the idea that your ability to put the right words in the right order can charm, ensnare, or persuade somebody, that you can sell something to a complete stranger using only your bare wit. When information infiltrates the whole of public life and the average website bombards you with advertising, the idea that what you write and how you write it can make all the difference between a click or a scroll-down is intoxicatingly powerful.
The pen being mightier than the sword is a long-standing belief, but in my new role as SEO Copywriter at theEword, I’ll be trying to make the typed content mightier than the Google algorithm. Nice to know, however, that the copy I write still has to be legible, logical copy, rather than a jungle of random keywords to make people click the desired links. Even in today’s impatient world, content matters; it’s just the delivery that’s different.
Things have changed somewhat since the butch male executives of Sterling Cooper smoked their way through meetings while their secretaries lusted after them. I spent my first day dealing with meta data, HTML, and a news story about a new social networking site. Still, the very basic element of what the copywriters of the 60s did is still alive here: make them notice it, make them read it, make them want it.