Ah, to be a copywriter. Despite people knowing my job title, nobody knows what I actually do.
In this piece I’ll explain all I know about copywriting – but before I continue, let’s just get a few common misconceptions out of the way..
- Copywriting doesn’t mean copying another piece of writing
- It doesn’t mean transcribing either
- It has nothing to do with copyright laws
- Copywriters do a lot more than just ‘write’
Put simply, copywriting is generally the writing of text for advertising, sales or marketing purposes.
Hiring a copywriter can turn your bland sales text and product descriptions into promising pieces of copy that inspire people to do business with you or buy your products.
What does a copywriter do?
Hiring a copywriter for a job, no matter how simple it may seem to you, is often not that simple.
When a job comes in, copywriters don’t just write, they…
- Send first draft off
- Clear time for potential changes
- Make potential changes
- Return final draft
- Plan marketing campaigns
- Make future suggestions
It’s important for clients to understand that writing isn’t always what a copywriter will spend most of their time doing.
Research and planning can often take up more time, which is why you will find copywriters on content mills and freelancing websites offering their services for as little as £0.01p per word. On these sites, people are paying (ridiculously low and exploitative) rates for writing only, with no research time taken into account. Do you really want to hire a copywriter who will spend their time smashing out tasks with no research or second thought?
Different types of copy
Copywriting tasks come in all shapes and sizes, from YouTube descriptions all the way through to sales pitches and business plans. Services that copywriters provide include:
- Product descriptions
- Email copy
- Social media copy
- YouTube/Vimeo metadata (titles, descriptions etc.)
- General website copy
- Direct mail marketing
- Printed leaflets/flyers
- Printed brochure copy (hotels, travel agents)
- Newsletters and magazines
- Case studies
- Business plans
- Sales pitches
Skilled copywriters will be able to adapt their approach and tone of voice to suit the company they’re hired by. Some companies (public and financial sector) prefer a more ‘business-like’ tone of voice, while others (tech and creative sectors) prefer what I like to call a ‘talkative’ voice, which is a bit more relaxed and allows the reader to empathise easier.
See the video below for the difference between sales-y writing and traditional copywriting.