A few days ago, Glenn Murray wrote a post for ProBlogger called Bloggers Versus Copywriters: 8 Reasons Why Bloggers Do It Better.
Sly fox that he is, Glenn warned me the post was controversial, knowing full well I’d rise to the challenge of debate. He was chuckling over my impending comments, and I hadn’t even made any yet!
Of course, comment I did. I had 500 words banged out in three minutes. Then I came to my senses and decided to write a post about it all. It’s much more fun that way.
Now, to be fair, comparing bloggers to copywriters is a little like comparing masterful wizards to sword-in-the-stone apprentices. They don’t perform the same job, have completely different goals and career motivations and have very different skills sets.
They do have one common trait: they write. They have a second common trait: they use copywriting techniques to get results. They have a third common trait, which is listening to Brian Clark’s wisdom on the subject, always a smart choice.
There are possibly other common traits, such as alcohol consumption, but for the sake of this post, none of that applies. (One should never drink before 5pm, after all, and my clock says it’s noon.)
But I digress. The matter at hand is Glenn’s conclusive statement that bloggers do it better.
Have I ever mentioned that one of my favorite classes in university was Critical Thinking? For a year I studied the art of argument, and it was a great deal of fun. You take an argument and then pick it apart to determine its validity of premises (supporting statements) and conclusion (the ultimate “therefore” claim at the end). It goes something like this:
Bloggers know what they’re writing about: That’s quite the sweeping statement, there. Some bloggers don’t have a clue what they’re writing about. Some rewrite other people’s posts. Some scrape. Some run to Wikipedia. Just because they call themselves a blogger doesn’t mean they’re an expert. Some are, though, so let’s give Glenn a half-point start from the gate. (I like to be generous.)
Bloggers have a more immediate and real incentive: Another sweeping statement? More immediate? More real Tsk, Glenn, really. How do you know this? Do you have proof? I didn’t think so. Moving on…
Bloggers know their audience: Ah, Glenn, it’s been a while since you’ve been in the real world, yes? Some bloggers know their audience, but truthfully, some have just launched their site, have no clue who they’re talking to or have been paid to ghostwrite and have never even come close to knowing their audience. I wish I could give you points for this one, but you missed the net by a mile.
Bloggers aren’t writing for clients: Only if you define client as “person with cash in hand”. I consider my readers clients – I provide them with material they like to read, and they provide me with their loyalty and friendship, or maybe a comment. There’s an unspoken agreement in place with blogging, which does indeed create a client-provider relationship. Oh, and by the way, this premise does nothing to support the conclusion, which is that bloggers do it better than copywriters. Out it goes!
Bloggers get immediate and real feedback: True, but copywriters also get immediate and real feedback, though just in a different form from bloggers – cash form. Copywriters can pen a page of good copy, publish it, tweet the link and watch sales occur before their very eyes. Sorry, Glenn, but this premise ends up in the black hole of doom.
Bloggers aren’t writing for themselves: Well, if they’re not writing for themselves, who they’re writing for? No one’s put a gun to their head, and they have to have some sort of direct motivation to begin blogging in the first place. Were bloggers not writing for themselves, thousands of blogs would shut down – you can’t carry out an activity you don’t enjoy for very long, and bloggers always counsel each other to write for themselves first.
Bloggers aren’t writing for their teachers: No, they’re not. True. And last time I checked, neither are copywriters. Do I smell the beginnings of a red herring? (And is there anything Glenn said that actually upheld his conclusion? I’m beginning to wonder…)
Bloggers follow best practices: I’m sorry, I think I missed something here. Which best practices? What kind of best practices? Whose best practices? What are these best practices that Glenn speaks of? A mystery! (And one more premise for the black hole of doom).
So without even needing to defend the consort of copywriters, Glenn’s argument crumbles and withers away. Which does indeed prove a point: that maybe some bloggers should consider making solid arguments with supportive statements we can all applaud.
You know, like copywriters do. 😉