The Working Dead – The Advert Apocalypse



Are we trying to connect with a bunch of zombies?


Well, why is so much content written in a way that encourages the reader to lose interest in less time than it has taken for the page to open?

Good copywriters always talk about generating pieces of writing which allow the reader to go on a journey with the author. A little bit like when a composer writes a piece of music, the audience should be able to connect with the piece and be taken into ‘the moment’, enjoying the direct communication they are having with the creator.

The Working Dead


The reason why copywriters are used more nowadays is because they are able to engage with their readership better than others. It’s simple really…

This ‘engagement’ is achieved through of a number of elements; structure, word meaning, powerful analogies but most of all the ability to connect with the people they’re looking to communicate with. There is a reason why in our education system these disciplines are considered part of ‘the arts’. Individually and in unison they can create both a tangible, concrete form and an abstract message.

When people feel pressured into writing creatively, the chances are it won’t be delivered to the required standard, and because of this a hell of a lot of bad content slips through the net and onto our screens. I am looking at this from within the recruitment industry, of course, and as an industry sector, we have a lot to answer for with regards to putting ‘ill-prepared’ pieces of content into the public realm.

Out of curiosity, I typed into a job board search the phrase ‘Copywriter role’, as surely, if there’s a role profile which should be written well by an agency, you’d expect it to be for a Copywriter position. Surely?  Oh, maybe not…

The Working Dead


This is just one example, and you may be thinking to yourself, ‘he’s just searched for a job advert to put on the blog’… I promise, this was picked completely randomly and it just happened that it was a good enough example to use – which means there’s bound to be worse examples out there!

There is no real need to speak at length regarding the advert above as we can probably all see the reasons why it won’t do a very good job of engaging with the audience. Why is the agency award-winning? What do they do differently to the fifty other marketing agencies in the M4 corridor? Why does the author of the advert believe the only thing that the candidate should know about the company is where they can commute from, which also, conveniently, works for the agency’s SEO to get more candidates to look at the advert or their site!! Argghhh…

The Working Dead


Is it really good enough? Probably not.

Does it drive the reader towards the “Apply” button? Definitely not.

We continuously hear from recruiters that the recruitment market is ‘candidate-led’, or speculation over the lack of candidates in today’s market compared with x, y or z years ago. Is that just a load of bol##@s to cover up the fact that the recruitment industry is losing the connection with its audience, and that, in fact, there are so many terribly written pieces of content out there for candidates to read that they’ve just given up trawling through the crap in order to find that one gem?

There are a few recruiters out there who consistently post good quality adverts. Typically these role profiles will grip candidates from the start and take them through the piece of writing in a way which grabs and holds their interest, rather than the checklist to determine eligibility.

Personally, I think some recruiters are scared to write good adverts, just in case they get too many applications through before their 10:00am client hounding session! Alternatively their efforts may tend towards the banal or unremarkable because they do not actually have sufficient grasp of the role or what it involves to write a compelling and ‘different’ advert.

With a bit more consideration and care when producing content for job adverts maybe some of these recruiters might attract more of the candidates they are promising (read overselling) down the phone to their clients.

We recently had someone with a solid background in English join our team, and when I mean solid, I mean she’s never had a ‘B’ and she reads a few books, we think. She’s not a copywriter but she just loves to write good copy. She wants to make sure the reader is loving what she writes as much as she does.

She just cares…

That’s the key – care enough about the message you want to send, and how you want to depict a role or client company and then express it in a way that makes you, your client and their role stand out from the crowd.


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I loved this blog until I got to the very last paragraph. If you’re going to create great copy, stay away from overused cliches – you will then ‘stand out from the crowd’!

Dominic Phipps

Thanks for your advice, Louise. I’ll see what we can do for the next one!

Great to hear you enjoyed the majority of it.


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