Good Copywriters Deserve More Money

Money isn’t everything when it comes to motivating people to do good work. But it is something. Salary levels matter. They are an indicator of value, like a corner office or a seat in important meetings.

Look within your own organization. How much do you invest in the copy on your Web site, in your emails, in your newsletters, and in your online customer service communications?

You’ve invested hundreds of thousands in the software and hardware. You pay the programmers and designers good salaries. You pay for programs, consultants, and outside suppliers to ensure that key messages are delivered to the right audience at the right time.

But how much do you pay for the messages themselves?

How much do you pay the people who write the words — the words that make each message sing, that drive every customer action in your business?

Without strong copy, you pay big bucks to deliver weak messages with little result.

You need strong copy to drive sales and keep your customers. Good copy online matters more now than ever before. Everyone is on a fairly level playing field when it comes to the technology. But great copy can set you apart.

Is this a reason to pay your copywriters more? Yes, it is. But more important, when online copywriters are paid a good salary, the perceived value of their role — within and outside of your organization — increases.

There are short- and long-term benefits to increasing the perceived and real value of online copywriters.

First, when copywriters within the organization are paid more, people listen to them a little more carefully. Well-paid and highly valued people are not left out of important meetings. They are not excluded when key decisions are made about your site and your email marketing plans. Salary levels matter when it comes to being included.

There is a longer-term need at play here also. Smart 18 year olds are thinking about what they want to do with their careers. They have high hopes and lofty ambitions. They want a good career that brings them recognition and rewards. If they are interested in becoming copywriters, they will be much better off — right now — entering an offline advertising agency. They see potential there. The salary ceiling for an agency copywriter is attractively high. It’s a cool job. You get lots of kudos and plenty of recognition and opportunity.

Can the same be said for the online world? Can aspiring young copywriters look forward to equal opportunities, salaries, and recognition? No, they can’t.

And that’s a problem. If young people don’t aspire to do great work as online copywriters, our industry won’t attract the right talent for the future.

As an industry, we need to invest in the quality of copywriting online. And we need to do it now. We need to support and encourage our existing writers. We need to invest in training programs. We need to attract the best and brightest talent to support our future.

If we don’t make the investment now, we won’t grow the talent that we need. And without great copywriting talent online, the return on all those high-tech investments will continue to disappoint.

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