What a copywriter adds when you’re advertising your technology.

Graphics folks and coders are typically indifferent to the substance of the text they are manipulating. They are highly focused on the look and the functioning of your site. They accept whatever text their technology clients provide.

I recently looked at the websites of a couple hundred web design shops on California’s  Central Coast. Virtually none of them have a copywriter on staff.

My father was a typographer and I grew up in close intimacy with the presentation of text. He said that legibility is the most important element of any typeface. Each letter in a word must work with all the other letters, resulting in a clean, harmonious design across the page.

I grew up thinking of myself as the intermediary between the information and the lettering. My goal was not to plaster the world with my ideas and opinions, but to channel the flow of information from a client and make it clear and understandable.

One problem with front-edge technology companies is that they don’t want to explain themselves to a wider audience. They want to show off in front of the competition. They throw down a gauntlet and sneer, “Keep up with us if you can!” If you are not already fully aware of the deepness of their technological importance, they don’t want to talk to you.

Some of it is their concern with security. It can be jarring to come out of a secretive lab environment and be told to blab it all to the world.

Years ago, I was called in as a freelancer to write a full-page ad for an aerospace company to announce their new flapper nozzle product. The division manager was shocked that I didn’t know what a flapper nozzle was. He treated me and my questions as though I were an enemy spy, at first. Some stupid marketing writer that the bosses had imposed upon him.

Click picture to read full text of this ad.

Then, after he realized I was interested in learning about his product, he relaxed and told me about the creation of the device and its competitive advantage in the current marketplace of the hydraulic valve industry. It turned out that these flapper nozzles were used in helicopters and private jets and cruise missiles, so I gave the ad agency a sketch of how to make these the graphic focus of the ad.

 My ignorance is my tool. My theory is that most people know as little about your company as I do. I report my surprise and delight at your expertise, and make your expertise easy to understand.