In a nutshell, a copywriter writes words that inform people, sell stuff and promote things.
Let’s start by breaking the word in two: COPY WRITER
Most English speaking individuals over the age of five should be able to get their head around the second word, but it’s the first one that tends to throw us into a spin.
COPY simply refers to words or text to be published, whether they’re to appear in a travel magazine, on the back of a cereal packet, in an estate agent’s brochure, on a garden centre’s website, in a sales email or in umpteen other places.
Copywriters are the folk who craft these words.
“Oh I see, I thought a copywriter dealt with legal stuff.”
Ah. You’re thinking of copyRight. But I’ll forgive you, they sound very similar. And you’re correct, copyRight involves legal protection – not something I can claim to know much about.
Not all copyWriters work with the same type of materials or companies. And whilst one copywriter may be an expert at creating scintillating sales straplines, another might have a gift for writing travel guides.
Let’s take a peek at the different types of work a copywriter might carry out:
Today, the bulk of many copywriters work comes from the high demand for online content. Whether it’s crafting unique copy for the launch of a new website, appraising and updating existing material, putting a UX hat on and writing micro-copy, or writing product descriptions, blogs and auto-respond messages, there’s a massive range of web work out there. And yes, before you get pernickety, any of the below types of writing are likely to fit into this box too.
Sales and marketing copywriters
Pretty much every copywriter deals with this type of work to some extent, even if only to market their own business. For some compywriters, sales copywriting is the sole focus of their work. Marketing materials can include (deep breath): company brochures, flyers, business cards, product literature, circulars, packaging, sales letters, marketing emails, letters of introduction, trade show materials and more.
One of the best paid types of copywriting, advertising copywriters tend to work within a creative department of artists and advertising specialists. They create specific advertising campaigns, which may span several types of media. Work typically involves writing cacthphrases and slogans, radio jungles, and scripts for TV ads.
Another field in which many copywriters spend much of their time is Public Relations. Anything a business sends or markets directly to the public could fall into this category. For most PR copywriters this means writing press releases, advertorials, product updates, newsletters, press kits and feature articles which promote the work of the company they represent.
Copywriters with a background in science, engineering and computer programming lend themselves well to technical copywriting. They’re often tasked with translating complicated technical jargon into plain English, making it accessible to the general public. They might create software reports, write instruction manuals, prepare training materials, put together user-friendly data sheets… the list goes on.
Not as spooky as it sounds, the secretive world of ghost copywriting could involve writing in any of the above genres but, acting as ‘the ghost’, the writer’s name won’t appear on the finished copy and the work won’t be attributed to them. The biggest demand for ghost copywriters tends to be in book writing, blog writing and speech writing. Big name celebrities, politicians and CEOs who either lack the time or skill to write their own copy are some of the most exciting and high paying clients a ghost writer works with.
And there are stacks of other types of copywriters too. Let’s see, who haven’t we covered? There’s speech copywriting, editing copywriters (or copy-editors for want of a better phrase), grant copywriters, broadcast copywriters… I could go on.
If you’re looking for a Brighton based copywriter or need someone to write for you remotely, just get in touch. I deal with most of the above types of copywriting, and if you’re looking for a writer with a very particular set of skills, I’ll help find the right writer for you.