What Does a Copywriter Do?

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So many people don’t know what a copywriter does despite reading their work every day. They don’t have anything to do with protecting your creative or intellectual property — that’s ‘copyright’. Different spelling. Different definition. They don’t copy anything either. Copywriters write original work, day in, day out. They are the invisible authors in a commercial world.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is hard to pin down. It’s the art of using the written word (copy) to get the reader to take a desired action or to hear a particular message. In most cases, copywriters create marketing materials, but not always. Their skill set is very broad and includes crafting:

  • Web page copy and blog posts

  • Video scripts

  • Email autoresponders

  • Company presentations

  • Fundraising messages

  • Internal staff communications

  • Brochures

  • Training materials

  • Product descriptions

That best-selling novel on your bedside table might even have been ghost-written by one of us.  

And in the digital age, things have become even more complex. Copywriters are increasingly skilling up as content writers. What’s the difference? Content writers aren’t writing to market products directly. Their job is to inform, entice and entertain the reader to keep them engaged with a brand.

Here we look at some of the ways in which an experienced, freelance can help your business to thrive.

Advertising and marketing

Businesses create marketing materials to promote their goods and services. 

These include:

  • Advertisements

  • Brochures and catalogues

  • Direct mail

  • Fliers

  • Sales letters

  • Trade show displays

A copywriter produces the writing that appears on these resources.

Good copywriting subtly and seductively convinces the reader to take a desired action. It uses the right tone of voice to connect with the audience. Effective copy answers the reader's questions and objections, and highlights the benefits of a product or service.

Audio-visual

Audio-visuals include advertisements for television, video and radio; and business presentation materials.  They can be used for fundraising, recruiting, training, and selling.  Like other forms of advertising, audio-visuals are designed to capture a specific audience. Copywriters write the scripts to achieve this.

Editing

This can be fact checking, correcting grammar and spelling errors, or translation. A copywriter offers a fresh pair of eyes to a piece of work that a client might have spent months working on.  Their objectivity and writing skills enable them to spot ways to make the client’s work stronger.  

Ghost-writing

Ghost-writing is creating material for others without taking the credit. This can include biographies for celebrities, blog posts, magazine articles, and novels. It requires extensive research. The ghost-writer must be able to write with authority on a subject and represent the client’s voice with authenticity.    

Charity communications

A copywriter can help a charity to:

  • Hone its message

  • Build its identity

  • Retain donors

  • Mobilise people into raising vital funds

  • Develop in-house copywriting and content writing skills via training and mentoring services.

Online marketing

Online copywriting and content writing can include:

  • Autoresponder messages

  • Blog posts

  • Marketing emails

  • Social media posts

  • Pay-per-click advertisements

  • Written content on websites. 

Digital copywriters differ from traditional copywriters in that they understand:

  • How to write for search engines without compromising the quality of the work. 

  • The online user journey and how to write for each stage.

  • How to write for the short attention span of the online reader.

Public relations

Communication with clients, employees and the public is known as public relations (PR). 

It includes:

  • Feature articles

  • Intranet copy and staff handouts

  • News releases and press packs

  • Product releases

Internal and external PR should reflect a company's culture and ethos.  Writing these sorts of communications is a specialist skill. The writer must take into account how busy people read and absorb information. The copy should be straightforward so that messages are easy to digest, understand and remember.

Speeches

Speeches are integral to any business, political or charity event. A well-written speech will communicate a message effectively and motivate the audience. Copywriters can create relevant and original speeches that use as few words as possible. 

Technical materials

Technical documents can be aimed at fellow professionals or the public. They often contain complex information or concepts.

Some examples of technical materials include:

  • Data sheets

  • Demo software

  • Reports

  • Sales sheets

  • Technical papers

  • Training and instruction manuals. 

Technical copywriters communicate the complex in a clear, concise, and interesting way. Some will be qualified technical authors, others will have picked up the necessary skills on the job.

So, now you know what a copywriter does, how might your business use one? Our article “Why Hire a Copywriter?” reveals all.

 

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Sue Davison