What Does a Copywriter Do?
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 a 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. Blog posts, company presentations, fundraising messages, internal staff communications, brochures, training materials and product descriptions are all forms of copywriting. 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, catalogues, direct mail, fliers, post cards, sales letters and 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 meets a reader’s questions with clear answers, and persuasively demonstrates the benefits of a product or service.
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.
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 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 authentically represent the client’s voice.
Voluntary sector staff often don’t have the time or skills to compose thoughtfully worded marketing and fundraising materials, so hiring a copywriter can be cost-effective. They bring skills that can help to spread an organisation’s message, build its identity, retain donors and mobilise people into raising vital funds.
Online copywriting involves auto-responder messages, blog posts, marketing emails, social media posts, pay-per-click advertisements and written content on websites. Digital copywriters understand search engine optimisation (SEO), ensuring that their client’s content can be found online. They know how to subtly embed keywords (those phrases/words that you type into Google) into copy without compromising the quality of the work.
It’s vital for today’s businesses to have a blog that develops their brand and builds industry authority. A blog must be relevant, interesting, well-written and updated frequently with meaningful content. A copywriter can implement the client’s blogging strategy with insightful and engaging blog posts that keep the reader and search engines happy. Consider finding a freelancer who is also qualified as a digital marketer so that they can take care of the strategy too.
All communication with clients, employees and the public is known as public relations (PR). It includes feature articles, intranet copy, news releases, press packs, product releases and staff handouts. Internal and external PR should reflect a company's culture and ethos. Writing must be straightforward so that messages can be understood and remembered. A copywriter has the time and skill needed to produce such communications, taking into account how busy people read and absorb information.
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 are data sheets, demo software, reports, sales sheets, technical papers, and training and instruction manuals. These can be aimed at fellow professionals or the public. Technical copywriters have the ability to research a project thoroughly and communicate complex information in a clear, concise, and interesting manner. Some will be qualified technical authors, others will have picked up the necessary skills on the job.
We would love to hear how a copywriter has helped your business grow. How did you discover this breed of writers that nobody seems to know about?