Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you will have come across the widely popular television series Game of Thrones. And as a self-confessed fan of the series, and one of those annoying people who know all the spoilers, I’ve often come across a phrase of well-chosen words that ring with wisdom about life and… well, copywriting.
Although the inhabitants of Westeros are by no means experts on the art of copywriting, they certainly have a trick or two up their sleeves, believe it or not. So in honour of the long-awaited Season 6 launch of the award-winning series, I take a look at the best quotes we have heard so far and what they can teach us about copywriting. Keep these in mind when you next start to write, or when you next find yourself embroiled in a multi-sided battle for the World’s Most Uncomfortable Chair.
Let’s dive straight into it with the quote that inspired the title of the entire television series. Spoken by the ruthless Queen Cersei Lannister, the person everyone hates but secretly loves, these words have a certain element of the truth in them when it comes to copywriting. Competition is fierce and there is always someone else around the corner waiting to take your place. In the cutthroat world of Westeros you can’t let your guard down for a second, and it is the same, if not a little less dangerous, with the world of copywriting. Bring your A-game every single time you set fingers to keyboard.
Wise words from The Imp, and he couldn’t be closer to the truth. It is only logical that in order to boost your writing abilities you should read and study as much as possible. Whilst you may not be able to crack open a book and simply learn how to write, reading will expand your inner vocabulary even further and teach you ways of crafting sentences that you hadn’t thought of before, and these can be translated into your everyday work.
Leading on from my previous point with everyone’s new favourite saying, no matter how much you learn about writing, no matter how much you hone your skills with a pen (or a keyboard), you should never presume that you know absolutely everything there is to know about writing. No one will ever be an expert and, once you start believing that you are, it’s all downhill from there.
To put it simply, as Hodor would do, repetition is boring. Duplication is one of the easiest mistakes to make and can be so easily overlooked even when proofing somebody else’s work. There are thousands and thousands of beautiful words out there for you to choose from, so for the love of the Old Gods and the New, use them!
In this modern world of immediacy, copywriting may not appear to be so important. But if the past few years have taught us anything, it is that copywriting is here to stay. Having top quality copy on your website not only helps with your SEO and gets you found by customers, it also helps you to stake your claim to the Iron Throne – or at least to be an industry expert. Even the great Google has realised how important copywriting is with the introduction of numerous updates focusing on the importance of quality copy.“It’s not slander if it’s true.” – Tyrion Lannister
Now whilst I am in no means advocating the use of this quote as an excuse to write whatever you want, it nevertheless highlights an important issue. Everything online nowadays is instant, and once you send out that blog post or even a tweet, it could have been seen by dozens and will remain long after it has been deleted. Whenever you write something, know your media law and make sure you aren’t breaking it. Or you could end up like poor old Ned Stark, in a purely metaphorical sense of course.
With this one there aren’t so many terrors in the world of copywriting, unless you count the horrors of misplaced apostrophes and the overwhelming misuse of the semi-colon. But be on your guard constantly when looking for errors as it could mean the mistake between retaining a client and watching them sail away across the Narrow Sea (too many references now?) Double and triple check everything that you write yourself, and keep a sharp eye out when looking for errors in other people’s work too.
So the Kingslayer may have been showing extreme arrogance here, but what if he was just being confident in himself? When it comes to copywriting, no one writes the same way that you do. You may get your research from the same place and be discussing a similar topic, but no one will write exactly the way you do and no one will tell a story quite like you. Remember this if you ever get stuck with a block, and let your unique writing abilities shine through to really impress.
Okay, so there you are. Top tips from some of this world’s best copywriting experts. Fine, so they’re not from around here or experts, but hey, they have some useful pieces of advice! And at least they’re all still alive… Well, most of them are (no spoilers here, honest).