“Ý tưởng này là của chúng mình” (The idea is ours) by Huỳnh Vĩnh Sơn
This is a must-read for any copywriter or copywriter-wanna-be out there. I’m glad I bought this book and read it. The content is valuable with agency life stories, inspiring experiences and bloody lessons from a dedicated copywriter. With a smart sense of humor and ability to use Vietnamese as a weapon, Son totally captivates any reader with his book. It’s a pity that the book is only available in Vietnamese.
Before reading this book, I simply thought that copywriter is somehow like what I am doing now – to write cool taglines, titles or slogan or short copy for products. That’s all. Sometimes the concept is mixed with the job of a blogger in one way or another. This book opens my eyes.
Working as a creative and a copywriter is not a sweet story. I even intend to quit being a content marketer to pursuit the life of copywriter in an agency but after reading this book, I realize I can’t sacrifice that much or live a life like them. It’s a wonderful work life, but I just can’t have one. I love playing with words but TVC, ad prints, pitching, meeting clients, etc. are not for me. I’m more like an independent writer.
Let’s put aside my thoughts on this book 😀 Here are some precious writing/marketing lessons which are like they are written for me I’d like to share:
Idea comes first
Whenever you need to write something for a brand or a product, you must think over about WHAT you want to say. What will be the message to readers? What is its purpose? To be able to define this purpose of your copy, you need to look deeper into the market, marketing strategy, brand character, competitors’ point of difference…to come out with a precise goal of your copy. Only then can you begin selecting words for it.
One common mistake that I myself do commit quite often is that when writing a tagline or slogan, I unconsciously think of it with a rhythm. Most of the time I too focus on making the words in rhyme that I fail to deliver the actual marketing message. That’s why the mantra to remember is “Idea comes first”.
Read more, write more, take note and take your eyes on everything
Yes, the secret of better writing is to read. Read a lot. Then you need to practice writing every day. Write down some pop-up ideas, some lines that interesting – anything. And Son suggests us to notice better words around us and how people using words – how a street vendor selling lottery ask you to buy 2 tickets for him, for example. Or slogan on a Pho restaurant’s sign…Take note of words you consider funny, informative, new slang, genius or just sound catchy. That’s also why notebooks are a good friend of writers.
If you want to become big, join a giant team – they’ll teach you how
The fact is there are many fresh graduates apply to a smaller company to work with thoughts like this: I have no experience so let’s start working for a small company to gain experience first then jump in bigger ones.
That’s not gonna work – from the point of Son’s view. You need to put your skills and all you have in the fire to sharpen them. The smaller company can’t give you that environment. You’ll see, after some years working in a small company, your experience will turn back to zero when you’re in a giant one. So, sell yourself to a bigger, more pressure environment, have the courage to let them rip off your skills and your heart and your soul, you’ll soon be a trained warrior.
Learn to balance your finance if you still want to be/work as a creative
Err, money doesn’t sound romantic or creative at all but it keeps us alive to pursue our passion. Even a creative copywriter with several thousand dollar salaries each month is still a person selling his talent to live. Ever heard of “Nothing ventured nothing gains”? That’s it. Copywriters and creatives ain’t no businessman so learn to keep the money if you want to continue swimming in your creative ocean.
This book is definitely for me to read again and again.