#22: Tiffany Markman & the Business of Copywriting

Tiffany Markman (the “fan choice” of 2020) returns with another round of bolshy knowledge and advice – this time about copywriting.

We go through the basics of what copywriting actually is, why the tired old cliché of “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a load of crap, what it takes to be an exceptional writer, how creative processes are generally not very sexy, and when to push “publish” when you’re creating stuff for yourself.

The conversation is peppered with insights, and will benefit copywriters, marketers, sales people and small business owners alike.


Show notes

Quote: Copy comes from the Latin word for written transcription… Copy is not what a copywriter writes. A copywriter writes ad copy, or marketing copy, or web copy, or social media copy – not just copy. Because copy, by itself, is news… Copy is not a synonym for words. Copy is a synonym for news reproduced in periodicals.”

Quote: “If you create an original work… Copyright is your right to protect [against] other people from copying it without your permission… That’s copyright, and it has absolutely nothing to do with copy.”

Quote: [on why words are as, if not more, important than graphics] “Visuals are critical because they convey the visual style and aesthetic of the brand. But, without words, the consumer doesn’t know what to do with the visuals… That’s why I believe words are the sales engine, and the only people who place copy on the backburner are people who don’t really understand messaging.”

Quote: “High level language, by and large, is wasted in modern copywriting… Stuff that might be considered rhythmic and beautiful… is not going to convince a consumer to act, or to believe, or to feel, or to think, and it’s certainly not going to resonate with them on any kind of human level… The goal is not high level language. The goal is high quality language, and high quality language is clean and simple.”

Quote: “I think that the better your language skills, the more ammo you have. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a truly exceptional copywriter who’s not always trying to learn about grammar.”

Quote: [about her creative process] “The thing that gets my brain ticking over is research… While doing research I make lists… Once I’ve opened the door, and my brain starts to quiet down a bit… Then the magic ideas start coming, but ONLY once the research has been done.”

Quote: [about publishing your own work] “Progress is better than perfect, and if you’re not embarrassed by your first iteration you launched too late.”

Resource: The difference between copy and content

About Tiffany Markman

Tiffany Markman spends 10 hours a day working with words. She is a writing trainer, corporate copywriter and public speaker who’s worked all over the world – coming face to face with messaging that ranges from the sublime to the absurd.  She’s been a happy, busy and highly opinionated freelancer for over 15 years. More importantly, she likes her coffee strong and black, her paragraphing short and tight, and her apostrophes in all the right places. 

You can find Tiffany on her website, Facebook (Tiffany Markman Copywriting & Training or Rockstar Freelancing for Real People), LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, or subscribe to her mailing list.

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