What is a copywriter?

I’ve been asked variations of this question a few times so three months in, a couple of projects down, and one slightly-neglected-blog-crying-out-for-content later, I thought I’d attempt a response.

‘Attempt’ being the operative word. Copywriters are basically (obviously) writers and every writing project is different, so there isn’t an easy answer.

But let’s try.

So – what is a copywriter?

A copywriter is someone who writes content for marketing, advertising or brand communication purposes. Typically, they will be commissioned by companies or editors to create content for a campaign based on a specific brief and for a particular audience.

What sort of projects do copywriters work on?

There are all sorts of ways a copywriter can help your business, including:

  • Drafting Search Engine Optimised FAQs, features, interviews, blog posts, company biographies and other pages for your website
  • Creating Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram captions, email newsletters and much more for your other digital media channels
  • Writing copy for posters, advertising material, signage, brochures, flyers, listings and other promotional print material
  • Other writing projects such as crafting press releases and captioning catalogues

How do copywriters work (and charge)?

It depends on the project and if you have something specific in mind then you will want to create a brief first, but for me, there are a couple of ‘typical’ copywriting projects – either:

  • Providing ongoing copywriting support across various channels (digital and print). This could mean agreeing a set amount of days per week or per month on a rolling basis, or it might be a specific engagement on one particular project. In either case for me this usually goes hand in hand with digital marketing planning and social media management
  • Otherwise, I might respond to a brief to create one discrete piece of content – be it a blog post, an interview, a feature, a webpage, a flyer, a list, whatever. This is usually paid on a per-project basis

If you’re hiring a copywriter for a specific purpose, should they be a specialist in your sector?

Generally speaking (and there will be exceptions) I would say that if YOU are a specialist in your sector, then it is not essential that your copywriter is. Good written content is good written content, no matter what the subject matter. I’d argue it is more important that you find a copywriter whose style works for you and your business, rather than someone who is a technical specialist.

If you work in a specialised industry, though, it becomes even more important to ensure that the brief you provide to your copywriter (and to any supplier) is thorough. Make sure you are totally clear about what you want them to provide, and be willing to work with them on any edits.

Got more questions, or a project you’re looking for help on? Get in touch here.

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