I was in a kickoff meeting recently with an impressive digital agency. Up went the milestone chart, with its phases: discovery, research, mockup, design iterations, back end development, testing. I scanned the graphic for the content development piece. Nothing. I saw the client’s team exchange glances, and presumed the same question was turning through their minds, too. Where on earth was the in-scope copy??
This agency never creates content, and so the omission was par for the course. Yet, it amplified some questions I frequently ask myself:
- When did words become afterthoughts for website projects?
- Why are there so many agencies dedicated to design, and so few to words?
- How is it that writing commands slimmer fees than design, given comparable creativity, skill, and effort?
- How did copy become the stepchild of digital content?
Superficiality or scarcity?
The truth is, website projects often come and go without a copywriter in sight. Whole websites are launched using the words—however tepid, generic, or jargon-y—of a do-it-yourself marketing or sales team. One implication? Image matters most. (Another is that great copywriters are hard to find, no matter how necessary.)
Nor can you blame them: most copy IS tepid, detailed, jargon-filled, and long-winded. Who knew there was an alternative? Maybe the answer lies not in a lack of societal literacy, but a lack of faith.
In good company
Imaginative and spare, great copy provides a runway for strategic design. Just as we tip our hats to captivating imagery, we’d love for the world to understand how engaging, powerful, and strategic words can be. Ideal copy and design work hand in hand, so how did one come to be valued over the other?
We’re not sure. But we’ll keep doing what we do, in the hopes of elevating, captivating, and transforming.