When you hire a writer - what exactly are you buying?
Is it a collection of words? No! You know from personal experience that words without intention are powerless. Allow me a brief moment of your time and I will make it clear to you why it is so critical that you only hire the most empathetic and passionate writers you can find - as well as establish how our ontology as a company helps to establish those qualities in our writers.
For me personally, it all comes down to Purpose. Anybody can string together words – a monkey, given infinite time and random chance, can type out a complete draft of Hamlet. This is what I consider Tier 1 Copywriting – a word-centric, superficial style of copy that emphasizes quantity over quality. You’ll recognize this style of copy in the bottom corner of your homepage, those annoying spam banners screaming at you about their “ONE WEIRD TRICK TO CUT YOUR MORTGAGE IN HALF”. They have no intention of actually convincing you how you could cut your mortgage; instead they are hoping that by spamming those links at every conceivable point, they can trick enough people to click the links accidentally in an effort to reap a small profit. You’ve probably found these writers on websites like Upwork and Freelancer, scraping the bottom of the barrel for 1-2 cents per word. Tier 1 Copywriters emphasize speed over deftness, reach over engagement. They can deliver what they promised - words - but rarely will it make a difference in your bottom line.
So if it’s not words, then the product you’re purchasing must be the writer, right? Well… you’re getting closer. This is certainly the most common form of copy, and I like to refer to it as Tier 2 Copywriting. At Tier 2, you are buying the writer’s time and expertise. You know their portfolio and you know their path to success. They lay out a clear path of HOW they intend to grow your business with a proven formula for expansion. It sounds good because it IS good! Unlike Tier 1, Tier 2 copy actually works. There are tried and true methods to boost your reach and engagement by utilizing SEO and basic psychology. These kinds of writers are algorithmic, and you’ll often find them coming fresh out of school with a new degree in Communications or Marketing. They know how to navigate a business and they know the ins and outs of how to apply the formulas they learned in school, but their written work can often be rigid and formulaic – devoid of the kind of personality that really allows a company to foster a personal relationship with its audience. They manage to strike a more harmonious balance between quantity and quality, but their strict adherence to formulaic strategies often emphasizes a “One Size Fits All” approach that can hinder their adaptability. Ask yourself this, if there was one, single way to write copy that could guarantee success every time, then why even hire the writer? Why not just learn the method yourself so you could apply it and save yourself a lot of money? I mean, you can write, right? What is it really that is separating you from these so-called “writers” that makes them so valuable? What is the difference between a person who can write, and a Writer?
The answer to that question lies in my final tier of writing, the aptly named Tier 3. So what is it exactly that you are purchasing when you hire a Tier 3 Copywriter? It’s not the words, and it’s not the person guiding the words, so it must be something deeper. Something much less obvious on a surface-level observation, some esoteric Truth that guides the person that guides the words. No, what you are purchasing from a Tier 3 Copywriter – and what we are selling at Magic Pen – is a Philosophy. While we like to consider ourselves Writers, the service we provide is so much more than a mere collection of words. A copywriter will be asked to write many things over the course of his lifetime, from translating legalese for a well-established law firm to writing Direct Mail marketing pieces for an online start-up. The intended audience, tone, and necessary persuasive style will vary wildly from one client to the next, and it’s not always a guarantee that the writer you hired Yesterday is equipped to handle the challenges of Today. You don’t just need words with a quick turn-around, you need Adaptability and Spirit - a writer who will go above and beyond your needs to help grow your business and reach new markets. The only way to guarantee that kind of preparedness is to hire a writer who knows and embodies the Philosophy of Magic Pen.
As a New York based playwright, I learned firsthand how a well-constructed story structure could take an otherwise boring story and transform it into a visceral night of intimacy that leaves the audience stunned. There’s no such thing as a bad story, only bad writers. Business is no different - there’s no such thing as a “bad idea” in the hands of an expert pitchman. The art of sales is about opening a new perspective, about taking what might seem an ordinary object or service and transforming it into the solution for all your clients’ needs. The history of our world is packed with stories of “Alternative Brilliance” – people who took a simple notion, applied an alternative perspective to it, and then changed their community forever. When Alexander Flemming left a random petri dish exposed in his lab, he never expected it to lead to the discovery of Penicillin and eventual prevention of 100,000,000 deaths worldwide. He was just looking at a petri dish and concluded that something was off and examined it. It was one of those rare and fortuitous moments where Happenstance collided with Cleverness to change history forever. It is precisely that element of Cleverness that we wish to provide for you – an alternative perspective to discover how your brand really connects with your audience. Like with all good storytelling, it begins with the Golden Circle – the comprehensive “why” that beats in the heart of every question.
Famed mythologist and historian Joseph Cambell outlined a theory of Myth that forever changed my perspective on storytelling. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces he establishes a series of patterns that recur in almost every foundational myth, observing cultural similarities in the myths of places as distant from each other as Africa and North America. Despite the leagues of distance and lack of communication, the indigenous myths of those continents bore many similarities to both each other as well as the myths of the Roman and Greek Republics. From Egypt to America, from Hercules to Luke Skywalker, these myths continue to cycle and inspire us to become the Heroes of our own destiny. Anyone competently versed in the structure of these myths becomes that much more capable of connecting with an audience – because they understand what it is specifically that the audience is looking to connect to. Every good story, like every effective piece of copy, starts with a “Why”. “Why am I telling this story,” a writer must ask themselves, “and why must it happen to these characters at this moment in time?” Once you are capable of answering those important questions, then you are able to help the story breathe life into itself. As an extension of that tradition, our philosophy here is simple - by orienting ourselves around the “Why” of every problem, we create a clear path to guide “How” the problem gets solved and “What” is accomplished as a result of our work. This philosophy ensures that everything we do emerges from a linear sense of purpose and guarantees that no word is out of place.
At Magic Pen we understand that nothing is as simple as it seems. When defining your brand you need to think as both a business and a consumer, and when juggling so many different responsibilities it can be a hard act to balance. That’s why we wanted to make it easier for you and establish a clear outline of how we think and why we do what we do. We only have one responsibility – to use the power of the written word to make your brand GROW. We know how to maintain consummate professionalism while shirking the lifeless, corporate buzzwords that leave your clients rolling their eyes - and we know the mythic secrets of what make human beings tick. We offer everything from Brochures and Articles to Scripts, Emails, and White Pages. Whether you need work that’s Client-Facing or Business-Facing, we have all the resources you need to help grow your company and establish Thought Leadership in your industry. We know you need more than just a “writer”, you need someone who can adapt to any challenge, a comprehensive Creative Thinker - capable of abstracting information out of data and synthesizing it into something completely new – and that is exactly what we wish to provide for you.
No Hero ever succeeded without the help of a powerful Wizard. Arthur had Merlin, Aragorn had Gandalf - now you have Magic Pen.