This Thing Called Copywriting

Copywriters get paid hundreds or thousands of dollars to write, even if they’ll write in bad English.

Ever read from copywriters?

Doesn’t it just feel like these guys are speaking straight into your soul? And yes, they’re notorious for breaking the rules of language.

Or are they?

At the end of the day, they make you buy stuff. Not logically but emotionally.

I talk about that in a minute…

So, the other day I wrote about the way I text, WhatsApp and do Facebook posts in proper English, to the best of my ability.

Of course I try to be courteous.

I mirror people.

If you talk to me in Swahili, I respond in Swahili. Same to Sheng or English.

If you’re into too many emojis, I’ll do the same.

I may just not write the ww, nn, mm stuff, though. But we’ll have a decent conversation where we’ll both feel free and relaxed.

I try not to judge whoever I’m talking to. I don’t want them to feel like they’re talking to this weird guy who’s editing everything they write. Or that they can’t express themselves in some way just because I’m this grammar “Nazi”.

I’m not any form of “Nazi”. I’m just Walter. Or Wally as my close friends and family call me.

So, if I said I’m always practising, then what’s this all mirroring thing about? Why still talk Sheng? Why have an emoji-filled conversation?

It’s because of this thing called copywriting.

I told you I’ll talk about this in a minute. So let’s go…

Copywriters break many grammar rules.

We use one line paragraphs and one word sentences.

We laugh when writing e.g. hahaha or hehehe or lol 😂

We use emojis everywhere 😉 🙂 🕺🏽😎

Some, like Jorden, use curse words in their writing.

Others, like Walter, use bless words in their writing.

Other rules we break include starting sentences with “So” or “And” or repeating “and” twice e.g. I’m learning and learning and learning.


Because copywriters are not writing for lecturers in a class room.

We write to drive specific action. We want people to read to the end. We write to inspire. We write to transform lives.

For that reason, we make it all very conversational.

See, people buy emotionally, not logically. At least most of the times.

They buy from people who resonate with them.

People who make their hearts skip a beat.

So, if you’re hired as a copywriter for Safaricom or Bonfire Adventures, and you’re to appeal to the average young audience, then…

…be sure you’ll use “Issa”

Be sure you’ll mix your English with Sheng. Or pidgin. Or whatever you use in your area.

Be sure you’ll even do that mm, ww thing maybe once somewhere.

Have you ever wondered why the ads by top Kenyan companies are all done in sheng?

Have you ever read Bonfire Adventures FB page and wondered why they’re not correcting their grammar?

It’s because of this thing called copywriting.

It has no rules. It mirrors the audience it’s supposed to appeal to.

And it pays way more than the writing people do in Queen’s English!

This thing called copywriting. What do you think about it?

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