There's a simple reason why no one's responding to your creative work

According to the marketing industry's wisest blogger, Bob Hoffman, consumer interaction with online advertising is essentially non-existent.

For example, the average click rate for banner ads is eight in 10,000, and consumer engagement with Facebook posts is around seven in 10,000. With Twitter, it's three in 10,000.

As to the story-telling that everyone bangs on about, well, according to Helen Edwards in Marketing magazine: 'the consumer is drowning in an ocean of branded pap.'

So, what's the reason for this state of affairs? Let's find out from the copywriters who produce your marketing copy and creative - in both offline and online varieties.

Ask your copywriter why your work is not performing

Last year, the Data & Marketing Association (the DMA) held the first ever census of British copywriters; 433 responded. The findings appear in a book that would benefit from a spoiler alert: it's called Why Your Copywriter Looks Sad.

The copywriters are glum because a) no one is reading their copy and b) most of it isn't worth reading in the first place.

And why are those standards so low? Well, when asked 'What is the main barrier to good work?', 68% said, 'Poor briefs'.The answer to the follow-up question - 'What's the most important thing when it comes to helping you do better work?' - was even more emphatic: 70% replied: 'The clarity of brief.'

How to do effective creative work and copy

I would have said exactly the same thing. When I ran my agency, HTW, we had a reputation for the producing the best creative in the industry.

This had nothing to do with my brilliance as a creative director (I probably killed more good ideas than the average client). We did better work simply because we wrote better briefs.

Indeed, we spent twice as long on the brief as we did on the creative and copy. We knew that if the brief wasn't right, the creative wouldn't be right either.

Such preparation was essential. When clients balked, I'd tell them about Abraham Lincoln's approach to problem-solving. He said: 'If I'm given six hours to chop down a tree, I'll spend four hours sharpening the axe.'

You should allocate your time in the same way. If you have a deadline of six days, you should spend four of them writing your brief. But is that the case in most agencies today? You know damn well it isn't.

And the standard of your copywriting will continue to fall until the importance of the brief is once again accepted - and the requisite time and effort is allocated to its writing. Of course, that also means training your people in how to write a brief - and educating your clients on its importance. And are you willing to do this?

If not then maybe the copywriters cited above were wrong. The real reason why no one is looking at your work is, frankly, you.

Want to learn more? Learn the secret to making effective creative work that get's noticed and drives results with Steve Harrison's one day course 'Briefing and Evaluating Creative Work'. Master how to craft a strategic brief and proposition as well as evaluate the content produced.

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