So … What Does a Copywriter Do Exactly?

Many writers have an air of mystery surrounding them, and for those who don’t write professionally, writing can seem either a noble pursuit or a frivolous one. Telling people that you write for a living can often result in questions such as, “Oh, can you make a living doing that?” or more commonly, “Oh, what have you published?” Being a copywriter results in responses that are little different, yet the differences between a copywriter and a writer can be vast indeed.

Most authors have the freedom of choosing their topic and then they have the creative authority to take the book, article or story in whichever direction they choose. Copywriters, however, have to please their clients, and that means writing what the client wants and how the client wants it. Copywriting is the use of words to convey ideas and opinions or to promote businesses, people or things. They may have to make their writing sound engaging, informal, entertaining, informative, instructional, or make the reader want to buy the product or service. Copywriters may or may not be freelancers, but a copywriter does have to be a master of writing succinctly in order to meet the client’s needs.

The many hats that copywriters have to wear can make a copywriter an expert at creating various forms of writing. The following are some of the things that a copywriter may be asked to write.

Write marketing copy. Businesses need copywriters to write descriptions for their products, brochures, newsletters, direct mail blurbs, sales letters, advertisements and more. A copywriter can write simple blurbs about a company’s products or write detailed information about the company.

Write public relations material. Copywriters may be asked to write corporate communications. This can include press releases, product updates, articles, television ads and anything else that communicates general information about a company to the public.

Write instructional material. Some copywriters may be asked to write a simple “How To” or instructions on a complicated process. This information is sometimes written for a specific client or industry, or it can be for the public.

Write speeches. While not as common as some other copywriting tasks, some copywriters specialize in writing speeches. These speeches can be for local events or even national ones. A copywriter who writes speeches has to create an informative and engaging speech that conveys the client’s message or information. They particularly have to have an “ear” for how the copy will sound aloud.

Copywriters can be ghostwriters. The explosion of the eBook industry has people scrambling to find talented copywriters to write their books for them. The copywriter would write the book for the client and be paid a fee in exchange for not having their name associated with the book. Ghostwriting can be very lucrative for experienced writers.

Write online copy. Copywriters who write for online sources may be asked to write blogs, online web pages, podcast scripts, wiki pages, product descriptions. Copywriters who write for online publication must have a firm understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and be aware of current trends and techniques that will help their copy be ranked higher by search engines.

Copywriters wear many hats indeed. Some sources say that the freelance industry is the fastest growing sector of the job market. As more and more companies demand a strong online presence, copywriters are finding work to be plentiful.

Freelance copywriting may seem like the perfect job. Where else can you sit with your morning coffee while still in your pajamas and type away, earning money with each well crafted word? The fact is, however, that copywriting can be a demanding and repetitive job. So, the next time you tell somebody that you’re a copywriter, don’t be offended when their eyes glaze over with incomprehension. Fellow copywriters know what you do and they know that your services are very much appreciated.

Jennifer A. is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.


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