You might not realise it, but the work of copywriters infiltrates every facet of our daily lives – from TV adverts and promotional flyers through the door to website content and instruction booklets.
Yet many people still don’t really know what copywriters are or what they do…
First off, what copywriters don’t do
Often, when I’m asked what I do for a living and I reply that I’m a copywriter, the other person assumes that I’m involved in legal work. I then have to explain that a copywriter has nothing to do with copyright (i.e. the exclusive right to publish, perform, film or record literary, artistic or musical material).
This is one of the most common misconceptions about copywriters, as the words sound the same. However, they’re spelt differently. And they have completely different meanings. Even my own brother thought that that’s what I did for several years until it came up in conversation one day and I was able to put him straight!
Alternatively, I receive a completely blank look. Simply saying I write copy doesn’t really help either, as a lot of people don’t understand what that means.
Of course, the easy option would be to just say I’m a writer. But then people would assume I write fiction, which is a completely different kettle of fish.
What then is copywriting?
Copywriting is the use of words (copy) to promote a product, service, event, person, business or opinion.
But not all copywriters are alike. Some work in-house. Others – like me – are freelancers, working for several clients and on multiple projects simultaneously.
Some copywriters choose to specialise, for example, writing catchy straplines, corporate speeches or technical documents. Others take a more general approach and write a broad range of sales and marketing material, such as brochures, web content, newsletters, case studies, blog posts etc.
SEO copywriters offer a different kind of speciality, combining effective writing skills with an understanding of search engine optimisation techniques and the web user journey.
However, regardless of the subject matter, format, media, audience or tone of voice, all copywriters share one thing in common: we all work with words, tinkering with them and manipulating them to achieve the desired result.
Words are our bread and butter – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!