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Don’t Make Offerings To Copywriting Gurus

This is a
2 minute read.

Guru Nanak earned his title.

This guy was a radical, from the age of 11. He stared into the face of Hindu and Islamic thought and decided it wasn’t right. In one the most famous stories of Guru Nanak, he announced that people should be judged by what they do, not the threads that they wear. This was the foundation of the Sikh religion.

A radical free-thinker that defined an entire religion. That’s a guru.

Does it really apply to your copywriter?

Gurus Deserve Worship. Not Copywriters.

Now, this isn’t about whether you are a religious person, or agree with the specific actions of a given guru. This isn’t about copywriters, creatives and so-called entrepreneurs using the term guru where it simply doesn’t apply. Over the years, it’s become a shorthand, like genius.

The problem is that guru doesn’t fit the way that a freelance copywriter should be seen.

Gurus are respected masters, people who truly advanced the pattern of human thought. Even the best social media marketeer is, at the very most, applying old techniques to a new format.

Nobody has redefined marketing since the early days. A copywriter can innovate, create and inspire, but it’s all to one single end – selling stuff to people.

Most worryingly, the term ‘guru’ comes complete with a sense of adoration. People made offerings to gurus in exchange for their insight.

A self-proclaimed marketing guru will always take your offering and bestow his wisdom.

But isn’t this missing out on the practicalities of marketing?

Copywriting is Construction

However much I feel that sometimes the best thing a copywriter offers is insight and advice on more general marketing issues, there’s a fair leap to reach a word like guru. I’m not a guru.

Day-to-day, I am a builder. I’m on-site putting the bricks together to make something good.

At other times, I’m a site manager. I might even be the architect, depending on how far I want to push the simile.

But when you make me an offering, you are owed the work, not bestowed it. When all is said and done, it is your business and your brand.

A creative copywriting guru is a myth. It’s a poorly applied term that doesn’t suit the product at all.

Next time you see a self-proclaimed guru, ask yourself if this inability to use words where they apply might be a common trait.


  1. Kate Toon

    I disagree strongly with this post. I AM A GURU and will take offerings of Frazzles.
    Good read 🙂

    1. Stephen

      Oh well I didn’t include you, Kate. You’re almost certainly the exception to the rule, I thought that went without saying.

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