“So, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a freelance copywriter.”
“Oh right, as in law? I’ve always wondered how you go about copyrighting something.”
“No, I’m a copywriter. I write content for the web, like website copy, articles and blog posts.”
At this point I’m usually met with a blank stare, before they smile politely and swiftly change the subject.
In truth, most people have absolutely no idea what a copywriter actually does. Tell them you’re a graphic designer or a web developer and they’ll get it straight away. But copywriting? Most people don’t even know it’s a thing.
Of course, I could simply tell them I’m a freelance writer, but that still causes confusion because then they think I’m a journalist or write novels. Ah, I can’t win, and I’m supposed to be good at communicating things, right?
So, what IS a copywriter?
Technically, I’m both a copywriter and content writer. As I’ll now explain, those two things are actually slightly different.
A copywriter is someone who writes text to be used in advertising or marketing materials. For example:
- Written content on a website
- A description of a product on Amazon
- The text in a newspaper advert
- A sales letter promoting a new course
The purpose of this text is to sell something, or at the very least increase brand awareness and encourage the reader to take action.
In addition, I also work as a content writer. This involves writing things like:
- Blog posts
- Reports and white papers
For example, let’s say you are an estate agent and have a blog on your company website. I can write regular articles covering things like industry news or tips for moving to a new house. I also work with bloggers who run niche sites but who don’t have time to write all the content themselves.
So, that’s basically what I do.
Of course, in reality there’s quite a bit more to it than that. I spend a great deal of time researching lots of different subjects, editing, and generally making sure the content I write is as engaging as possible for the reader. I also optimise content for the search engines.
I often compare myself to a chameleon because I have to constantly adapt to many different subjects and audiences. Whether you are targeting a fashion conscious 18-year-old female or a retired male gardener, it is my job to speak directly to the reader.
“Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self.”Joanna Wiebe