Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 7 February 2023. In this issue:
Marketability (UK) Ltd will be wound down after 31 March 2023, though the Marketability name will continue as a trading name for a scaled back sole trader business.
I founded Marketability back in January 1999, in the days of the net book agreement, and before the internet. (How can that be?) Since then I’ve been lucky to work with many clients around the world who have become personal friends as we have navigated the changing world of publishing together. Numerous consultants and trainers have been honorary Marketability personnel on a wide range of projects, and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.
The last couple of years have prompted all of us to re-assess our lives, and I’m no exception. Ironically, it’s also been a very busy period as training has moved online and become even more international. Marketability has been very fortunate that such turbulent times have not threatened its survival as they have so many other businesses. But it’s been all-consuming too.
It sounds a cliché, but of course it’s about work/life balance. Finding more time to read books, not just promote them. More time for friends and family, for travel, for moving to the country, for living.
From April 2023 I’ll be operating as a sole trader, working part-time with a few regular clients.
Public training courses will no longer be available, though I’ll continue to run in-company tailored courses for existing clients and international partners.
This website will close. The last Marketability eBulletin, broadcasting without a break for 20 years, will be in March. But I’ll still be on email@example.com, even after the website closes. And you can reach me via Linked In too.
For current clients working on live projects, it will be business as usual, just with different payment details on the invoices. Thank you, all, for supporting Marketability over the last 23 years.
I was asked this question last week by a participant on a training course. My answer was a confident no (but then it would be, right?). And here’s why:
Copy written by an AI tool by definition will be predictable. But predictable is the antithesis of eye-catching copy, which should be based on surprising the reader. And I can’t see how that tool could write product copy, where each product is a different take on a topic. Asking it to write an article on a topic is a different matter, and the results can sound uncannily convincing, if a little robotic in places.
The real threat is in ongoing de-valuation of the importance of copy to communicate with our audience. If there is a perception that copy can be generated quickly and at no cost, I can gloomily see companies stampeding to join the queue.
In the meantime, try asking an AI tool to generate copy for you and see for yourself. It may give you the basis for something that just needs a copy-edit to add the human and surprising elements. But trust me, you will need to.
Read more in The Guardian
The (familiar) scenario. Author copy for a specialist title that may as well be written in Aramaic for all you can understand. Somehow you have to re-write it so that mere mortals can understand it.
I was reminded of this fantastic quote on another course last week:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
I’m not suggesting you use this as a stick to beat your authors with, but it should give you confidence to pursue a simpler approach. Never accept that ‘this is the style of copy academics expect’. Trust me, it REALLY isn’t. You don’t even need to take my word for it. Just ask a few academics for their views on copy, as I have done over the years.
A limited number of tailored in-company Copywriting Workshops will still be available for existing and past clients.
Yes it’s trite, but it’s also so important. Work has a knack of expanding to fill all the available hours in the week, but if that means there’s no time left for the leisure that it’s meant to fund, then what’s the point?
This week’s tip is to reclaim some of that time to do something that makes you happy. Even if it’s only an hour. Life is no dress rehearsal.