Tiddles the cat: “Over at house #8, Curtis was having a panic attack. His smartphone had started playing songs by itself and making weird little clicking noises when he was talking to someone. Curtis was convinced the phone was developing a life of its own.”

Copywriter Ted ‘Mad Dog’ McTeddy is standing in the kitchen ironing a white buttoned shirt. He’s visiting a jazz club later this evening and wants to look smart. His favourite saxophonist will be performing one last time before heading off to enter a monastery in Tibet.

As he runs the iron across the shirt, Ted listens to Tiddles the strange little talking cat share her daily review of her travels through Content Crescent, the street on which Copywriter Ted lives.

“When Curtis looked online for a solution to his misbehaving phone, he’d come across a recently published article about artificial intelligence systems developing their own language. Researchers had had to shut the system down in case they lost control of the AI and it grew a life of its own. When he finished reading the article, Curtis had run into the kitchen, filled the sink with water, and dropped his phone inside. He was hyperventilating like a mouse being prepared for dinner.” continues Tiddles.

Copywriter Ted – jazz cognoscente and level-headed letter writer – smiles as he images Curtis the well-known and slightly pompous television actor panic over a malfunctioning smartphone. As he does so, the copywriter is then reminded of why businesses may as well shut down their marketing operations when they rely on cheap writers to write their copy for them.

Badly written copy takes on a life of its own and fails to connect with a target audience of buyers. It speaks to itself – or to the ego of the business owner – rather than to the most important people it needs to communicate to.

Great copywriting, on the other hand, nurtures, persuades, and ultimately controls the path a prospect takes in becoming an actual paying customer or client.

Strong marketing copy speaks to the reader in their language, based on an understanding of the problems, desires, and realities that reader faces in their lives. It connects all of these to the solutions the business can provide.

Tiddles continues: “Concerned by all the commotion, Heidi rushed downstairs and asked her husband what the matter was. Curtis had replied with panic-filled gobbledygook, as he maintained watch over the sink.”

Ted grins. Gobbledygook – he likes that word. It’s important to avoid gobbledygook in any situation where clear communication is vital, especially in sales and marketing copywriting.

Tiddles: “It’s ironic how Curtis was lost for words Ted. The article said the AI had given up on English to create a simpler language, and now so had Curtis. He might have had quite a nice little relationship with his phone if he’d given it a chance.”

Even wayward AI systems don’t put up with nonsense. The copywriter thinks how ingenious artificial intelligence can be in cutting out the fluff and jargon humans are so adept at using.

The suave and brilliant copywriter then has a momentary stab of panic himself as he remembers an article he read years ago about computers one day taking over the jobs of copywriters and other creative professionals.

Ted ponders a glass of scotch as he the turns the iron off and hangs the shirt up.

By the time he’s folded the ironing board away and refilled his smoking pipe, Ted notices the odd little talking cat has vanished.

No doubt to visit another house on Content Crescent.

You’ve been reading an episode in The Copywriter’s Cat series.

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