What's a Copywriter?

What’s a Copywriter? And Do I Need One? (A Three-Part Series)

Or...Copywriters: What They Can Do Better Than You

copywriterSo, the short answer is… probably. Copywriters are a fun bunch – they are the band geeks, debate team champions, the goth girl in study hall drawing unicorns freehand. Think the basket case, not the prom queen. These folks majored in completely useless subjects in college (Art History? International relations? Underwater Basket weaving?) and are therefore a riot at cocktail parties. But only for an hour, since they’re usually introverts with some social anxiety problems. They’re creative folks who know how to tell a good story.

You run a small business, and likely, you know your product or service inside and out. But do you know how to promote your product or service? If you were an excellent salesperson, you would have gone into sales.

But you’re not.

So you didn’t.

Picture a copywriter as a skilled, subtle, entertaining salesperson who knows how to connect with your audience, make them feel good about your brand, establish trust and ultimately motivate them to engage with you.

What is a copywriter vs. a technical writer vs. a novelist or a journalist? You have a friend who dabbles in sci-fi writing. He spins enchanting tales about Nordic kings in fairytale lands when he’s not playing Dungeons and Dragons or watching Games of Thrones in his garage. He’s a writer, right? Even though he’s really a telemarketer who slips a pre-knotted 1993 skinny tie over his head while on his way to his call center job in his Fiat Punto? Can you hire him to write your website or blog copy? No, not unless you’re selling magic coins or Viking hats.

There are lots of different kinds of writers. Technical writers, for example, are the nerdy folks who speak geek and write software manuals. You know, those boring 400-page books that come with Microsoft products. They also write FAQ sections for tech-heavy websites, and they are fluent in Developer. They’re kind of a dying breed, however, since normal, everyday people are becoming more and more tech-savvy (you are designing and creating your own website with no technology background, right? Point proven.)

Creative writers come in all shapes and sizes. Some write Hallmark cards, some write chick-lit (not to be confused with Chiclets) and some are attempting a screenplay or the next Fifty Shades trilogy. These are people who take forever to churn out a chapter and who excel in character development, plot twists, suspense and evoking empathy from their readers.  They also tend to drink (wouldn’t you?)

Journalists are a separate breed entirely. First of all, they like to be in the center of all the action. They travel. Picture Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. These guys are adventure junkies and bang out copy fast. It’s all about covering the story as it unfolds and reporting on it. No emotion. No bias. Just the facts, ma’am. They drink, too.

Marketing communications people (copywriters) – these are the ones you need. Copywriters can turn out a blog in 2-3 hours and complete all your website copy in a week. Yet they often write from their couches and rarely get dressed (yes, this is why they refuse to talk to you on Skype. Skype has video.) They are the ideal people to write your

“About Me” section or LinkedIn profile and make it sound both promotional and modest. They’re sneaky that way.

In our next edition, we’ll tackle WHY you need a copywriter.

Submitted by Hilary