Copywriting may not be the first place you think to look for leadership skills, but those who do will find themselves a step ahead.
I’m sure you already know the value copywriting can bring to your business. My fellow copywriters will be glad for your appreciation of their tightly-worded craft.
But a copywriter can offer you something else besides great copy. In every good copywriter’s process lie secrets of successful leadership.
Discover how to unlock these secrets, and your leadership potential, with a copywriter.
Leadership that can’t be copied
Today, our models of great leaders are many and diverse. Depending on your industry, activity, audience and company size, what is required of you to be a great leader may be completely different from the boss over the road.
What’s more, you can’t just copy someone else’s idea of leadership. Doing so could deny what makes you the right person to be taking the reins, so you need to discover, develop and hone your own unique leadership style.
But there’s no need to entirely reinvent the wheel. There are certain qualities that appear in all great leaders and, happily for you, these qualities are also found in any good copywriter’s process.
Let’s discover the five ways that copywriting can reveal the secrets of great leadership for you. Then you can take them and make them your own.
2. Build on strong foundations
You’ll have heard plenty of overnight success and rags-to-riches stories. While attractive, few of them tell the whole story and rarely do quick starts lead to genuine long-term wins.
This is the same with copywriting. Great copy is not built on the page but in the research that comes beforehand.
Your copywriter’s great work begins not by writing and rewriting but by burrowing into data, market research, mining reviews, surveying your audience and, basically, getting to know them better.
Just ask conversion copywriter, Jen Havice.
Why do copywriters do this?
Because all great copy rides in on a wave of data, market research and up-to-date best practices.
Because we must become experts in your audience if we can ever produce the copy your business deserves.
Because copy is a conversation, not a lecture – and your leadership should be no different.
You need to be an expert in your industry, yes, but also in your staff and audience. You need to know how to motivate them and get the results your company needs.
Most importantly, you need to know how to talk to them with a message they genuinely want. Keep researching, listening and responding and everything you do will be built on solid foundations.
2. Get to the point
A copywriter’s job is to write tight copy. Yes, it needs to be effective and compelling too but most of all it should be concise. To the point.
No fluff. No miscommunications. One message delivered succinctly.
Guess what? This is true of great leaders too.
Think of a leader you admire. Think of a conversation with them or speech of theirs you saw: was their intention perfectly clear? I’d guess it was.
As a copywriter writes, so a great leader thinks.
Clear, concise and to the point.
Try it out.
3. Be selfless
One leadership style that is increasingly useful to adopt is inclusive leadership.
An inclusive leader is someone who operates from the centre of the workforce rather than from an ivory tower, exhibits trust through delegation and actively encourages inter-departmental collaboration.
This is also how a copywriter engages with a project, particularly when working in a team.
A copywriter is at the centre of the project wheel. They listen to the client, their goals, their audience, the research data and their design collaborators. Then, they bring these myriad voices together into a clear, effective message.
Here’s the key takeaway: a copywriter’s goal is to achieve the client’s goals, not to imprint their own brilliance on the copy.
Your copy is not about us, it’s about you achieving your goals.
And great leadership is not about you either, it’s all about your business. Go stand in the middle and keep the wheels turning.
4. Open your eyes wide
A copywriter works on the details while keeping an eye on the bigger goal.
Is this exactly the right message for the audience? Are they going to respond to the call-to-action in the desired way? Does this headline support the brand as a whole?
Beyond this one project a quality copywriter will be aware of supporting your company’s wider aspirations in the context of your industry. Each piece of copy then becomes an intelligent response to its environment, increasing the likelihood of its success.
Sure, great leaders worry about the details – Steve Jobs was one of many fine leaders (albeit an extreme example) who were famous for successfully fretting over the little things.
But they also keep the larger ship on the right course: always learning, looking and responding to the changing environment.
Great leaders and copywriters both make sure every piece of the puzzle is the right one.
5. Bring a little X-Factor
You can read every leadership book in the world, know your company inside and out and keep your eyes glued open and still fail to become a great leader.
That’s because great leaders, and great copywriters, require something else. Something that sets them apart.
We may call this an X-factor, but there’s an easier translation: creativity.
By bringing creativity into your leadership, you’ll develop a unique style of leadership that responds to your experience, knowledge and the environment.
Creativity, in this context, is not about artistic genius but simply trusting in your own instincts and inspirations. We all have them and to be a great leader we must learn to use them.
I do, as a copywriter. I value creativity and use it to benefit every one of my clients. It helps them stand out from the crowd – if I can do that, then I’ve succeeded.
Need some inspiration? Watch these videos about creativity in business.
Then go and be the great leader you are – just don’t forget to thank your copywriter on the way.