Hot Takes

Copywriting is not your CEO’s job (and neither the intern’s)


Another day, another redesign.

A single day doesn’t go by without a post on my Linkedin feed of some startup announcing a major redesign of their website.

I get it, I’ve run an agency for 13 years, always hearing the same stuff:

“Our competitor just refreshed their design and they look better than us”

“Trends have changed and this style is no longer hot”

“Redesigning the homepage will dramatically boost our conversion rate”

“We need to look more serious to appeal enterprise customers”

“We need to look funnier to appeal SMBs”

“The CMO has just changed and he doesn’t like the website”

It’s ok… I get it. I don’t necessarily agree. Actually, I think 80% of the time those are terrible reasons for a re-design; and they will not have any business impact. But that’s something your agency will never tell you.

Everyone is happy to pay big bucks to get a new fancy homepage. But every time I’ve let my customers know the design was ready and asked about the copy, the budget was always peanuts.

“The CEO is gonna write the copy”

“We have a new intern fresh out of literature college”

“I have a cousin that loves writing…”

So let me share a secret with you: 

As much as I love branding and recognize its impact; unless your website is really ugly and fresh out of the 90s, your re-design will almost never have a meaningful impact on revenue.

On the other hand, Copywriting, real Copywriting with the uppercase C, is an art that very few professionals have mastered and can have a huge impact on any business.

Copywriting is not the art of sitting in front of a computer and typing letters. 

It’s the art of interviewing customers, getting inside their minds, understanding what they want and how they describe it. Discovering what really triggers them and what fears hold them back from buying your product.

The Copy is just the final output of a very complex work that most people are terrible at.

I can name hundreds of great designers I could recommend. I can count on one hand the number of copywriters I would recommend.

In a world full of distractions, where every market is inundated by competitors with little differentiation, where retargeting is getting harder and most of your ads will be targeting a cold audience… Copywriting is the new digital gold.

Please do yourself a favor and the next time you have the budget, rework your website copy, not its design.