What is a copywriter

You've been in business a while. You have a client flow, your operations are humming. Your time is limited and you are looking at how you can take some tasks off your plate. (And honestly, you'd rather be on client calls and helping them than working on your own business).

So you turn to copywriting. You understand that profitable copywriting can create a return on your investment but you have questions.

What exactly is a copywriter? 

What do copywriters write? 

How do copywriters learn to actually sound like YOU?  Is this truly possible? 

How do I even go about finding a reputable, knowledge, and easy-to-work with copywriter who will know what they are doing? 

How do I judge the performance of a copywriter before I invest in them? 

Once I’ve picked a copywriter, whats the process of working with a copywriter? 

How do I know what’s good copy and what’s not? How do I give my copywriter feedback without leaving them feeling dismayed and defensive? 

All of the answers to these questions will be separate blog posts so be sure to sign up for the email list to know when the next one is published!

What is a copywriter?

When you read any type of written message from a business, organization or brand, you are reading the work of a copywriter.¹ 

No, we’re not talking about the legal formality of copyright which is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression.²

Copywriters aim to INFORM, ENGAGE, IMPACT, or PERSUADE target audiences with WRITTEN COPY and/or CONTENT.

Copywriters write to move people to step into a business’s marketing life cycle.

They write to position a business or organization as an authority in their field or industry, using that business’s voice and tone.

And to cultivate loyalty and trust among targeted readers.³

Copywriting is the activity of writing texts for advertisements or other promotional material. A key component of content marketing, copywriting combines the art of the written word with the science of advertising.4

A conversion copywriter uses data to 1) develop hypotheses for how to move people to ‘yes’, and 2) design messages accordingly.

In contrast, immediate action isn’t the goal. The reader might not be in the position to take immediate action when they read the copy, or having them take immediate action might not be the priority. This type of copy doesn’t have a snappy name, but the concept of marketing now for results down the road is essentially branding.

Examples of branding-focused copywriting include:

A magazine ad designed to expose readers to the brand…in turn getting them to think about the brand and make a purchase down the road.

A blog post designed to educate and connect with the reader. This goal may entice the reader to recommend the blog to others, sign up for the email list, and (maybe) buy something later.

A white paper designed to establish the brand’s authority.7

These types of copywriting want an action at some point, not necessarily immediately.

Some particular types of work a copywriter may complete include:

So what's the goal of copywriting? Well, that depends on what you are trying to accomplish. To get the reader to act immediately, or not.

Sometimes, the goal is to get the you to act immediately. This type of copywriting is referred to as “direct response copywriting” or “conversion copywriting”. Examples of direct response copywriting include: A Twitter ad designed to get an ad click A billboard designed to make you turn at the next exit and visit the establishment A landing page designed to get an email signup An email designed to get a message in “reply” A product description designed to drive an “Add to Cart” click. A home page designed to get the reader to begin a free demo like this one from Hubspot:

How do you know if you need a copywriter or a content writer?

Write marketing copy. Businesses need copywriters to write descriptions for their products, brochures, newsletters, direct mail blurbs, sales letters, advertisements and more. A copywriter can write simple blurbs about a company’s products or write detailed information about the company.

Write online copy. Copywriters who write for online sources may be asked to write blogs, online web pages, podcast scripts, wiki pages, product descriptions. Copywriters who write for online publication must have a firm understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and be aware of current trends and techniques that will help their copy be ranked higher by search engines.5 

Write public relations material. Copywriters may be asked to write corporate communications. This can include press releases, product updates, articles, television ads and anything else that communicates general information about a company to the public.

Write instructional material. Some copywriters may be asked to write a simple “How To” or instructions on a complicated process. This information is sometimes written for a specific client or industry, or it can be for the public.

Write speeches. While not as common as some other copywriting tasks, some copywriters specialize in writing speeches. These speeches can be for local events or even national ones. A copywriter who writes speeches has to create an informative and engaging speech that conveys the client’s message or information. They particularly have to have an “ear” for how the copy will sound aloud.

Copywriters can be ghostwriters. The explosion of the eBook industry has people scrambling to find talented copywriters to write their books for them. The copywriter would write the book for the client and be paid a fee in exchange for not having their name associated with the book. Ghostwriting can be very lucrative for experienced writers.

So what’s the goal of copywriting? Well, that depends on what you are trying to accomplish. To get the reader to act immediately, or not. 

Technically, they are BOTH copywriters –  you have to be specific on what type of material you are looking to have this person write.

Copywriters can create copy AND content for clients.

While copy refers to any piece of text written to move the reader to some sort of action.

Content writing is the art of writing content.

Content refers to any piece of text written to inform, educate, guide, or entertain the reader.

Content usually is NOT sales-oriented. Instead, its purpose is to provide value to readers, which builds trust and loyalty over time.8  

Researching – Vetting topics, keywords, and sources to use in the content or copy. Learning and adopting the correct, client-approved tone and writing style.

Editing & proofreading – Tweaking and refining grammar, style, and punctuation for readability, accuracy, and to match the brand voice.

Managing content projects – Ideating content, pitching topics, writing, editing, revising, and working with other content creators (content strategists, editors, graphic designers, content managers, etc.) to get pieces publish-ready.9

Now that you’ve had a good introduction to what is a copywriter, what types of materials they can produce and some other tasks a copywriter may do in their job, I’m sure your wheels are spinning of some tasks you can have a copywriter take off your plate, schedule a call and let’s discuss! 

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I'm Amilia

Thoughts, tips and insights on virtual assistant tasks, copywriting and marketing.

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