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Surprising as it may seem, copywriters can learn a lot from tennis ace, Roger Federer Share on X

Can Roger Federer really give us a lesson in how to be a successful copywriter?

As I write this, the dust has settled on the rather worn grass at the All England Club, and the world (well most of it), is celebrating Roger Federer’s record 8th Wimbledon crown, and his 19th Grand Slam title.

As a big tennis fan, and an avid Federer supporter, I watched history in the making. After only 2½ hrs sleep (yes, I kept my gym appointment this morning), I am still in awe of what this man has achieved, both on and off the court, over the course of his career.

After thinking about the mighty Fed’s achievements, it occurred to me that there are many lessons we, as copywriters, can learn from the Swiss Maestro.

Who would have thought a tennis player could teach us copywriters a thing or two?

He works hard

Federer is one of the hardest-working tennis players on the circuit. When you watch him glide about the court and make shots that no one else can make, it’s easy to think he’s simply gifted. Gifted and talented he may be, but off-court, Federer finds joy in the hard work and applies himself. He’s the quiet achiever behind the scenes, putting in the necessary work that enables him to succeed.

Are you working hard in your copywriting business? Like, really working hard?

He follows processes

Federer may give you the impression that his tennis is effortless, but rest assured he is meticulous in his preparation. He knows what works and doesn’t work. He has processes and routines which he follows, all designed to make his game as smooth and successful as possible.

What are your processes like? Do you have them, or do you do things ad hoc? Will they help you become a successful copywriter?

He’s dependable

He may not be the number one player in the world, but he’s the number one draw card when it comes to tournaments. Crowds love him. Tournament directors love him. Commentators love him. He doesn’t disappoint. He plays with a high level of consistency that spectators have come to expect. He turns up to press conferences, always willing to have a chat. He jokes around with journalists. He’s the complete, dependable package.

Do your clients love you? Can they depend upon you?

He’s highly respected

There’s no doubt that Federer is highly admired and respected. In 2011, he ranked number two on the Reputation Institute’s study of the World’s most respected, admired and trusted personalities, just behind Nelson Mandela. In addition, his fellow players have selected him as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award 12 times. Fair to say, people think a lot of him.

What’s your copywriting reputation like? Would your clients recommend you to anyone else? Would they work with you again?

He knows his brand and his value

Do you know your brand? Does it bring value to your clients? Do people consider you to be a 'successful copywriter'? Share on X

Federer knows who he is and what he stands for. He knows the value he brings as brand ambassador for his sponsors — Mercedes Benz, Rolex, Moet & Chandon, Nike, and Lindt — just to name a few. And he continues to deliver value for his sponsors, having been named the top athlete brand in the Forbes Fab 40, the world’s most valuable sports brands.

Do you know your brand? Does it bring value to your clients? Do people consider you to be a ‘successful copywriter’?

He continually seeks to improve

Of all the tennis players that have ever been (and probably ever will be), Federer is widely acknowledged as the G.O.A.T. — the greatest of all time. Despite his success and his age (he will be 36 next month) Federer continues to work on his game, aiming to improve all the time. Complacency isn’t in his vocabulary.

Are you continually honing your copywriting skills, or are you resting on your laurels?

He loves what he does

As much as we don’t want to admit it, Federer is in the twilight years of his career. He has achieved more than any other player to ever set foot on a tennis court, and he is worth more than any other athlete. While we would mourn his tennis-playing brilliance, it would be understandable if he chose to give the game away, particularly when he’s riding high on success. But he’s not even considering retirement. Why? Because he loves tennis too much to give it up just yet.

Do you love what you do?

To be a successful copywriter, it's important to love what you do. Share on X

He believes in himself

Federer has always backed himself. When he was plagued with back injuries and wasn’t winning tournaments, there were rumbles among spectators, commentators and journalists that perhaps it was time for him to hang up his racquet. When he was splayed out on the court of Wimbledon last year in the semi-final against Milos Raonic, the rumblings became louder. “Perhaps this is the end of an era,” they said. But Federer has always believed in himself, regardless of other’s opinions. Despite his injury, and the six-month lay off he had in 2016, he continued to believe he still had great tennis in him. And he was right. 2017 has been a phenomenal year for him. Even down 3-1 in the fifth set of the Australian Open, he still believed he could win. He did.

To quote him after his 2017 Wimbledon win: “If you believe, you can go really, really far in your life and I did that. I kept believing and dreaming and here I am today.”

How much do you believe in yourself, particularly when the chips are down?

He lives a balanced life

One of the keys for Federer in recent years is his ability to balance his professional life with his home life. When he walks off the tennis court, he’s no longer the tennis legend that we know and love. He’s a father. He’s a husband. He’s a friend. There is a clear distinction between ‘work’ and ‘downtime’, which many experts believe enables him to do what he does, and be as successful as he is.

Do you make time for other things, or does your business take over your life? Many successful copywriters do.

Roger Federer and tennis may not come to mind when you think about your copywriting business. However, I believe he’s is a shining example of what it takes to succeed, whether you play tennis for a living, or write for a living.


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