There you are, standing at a party holding your Pina Colada when someone ambles across the room and asks you what you do.
‘I’m a Copywriter’ you say.
‘Aha,’ they exclaim, feigning interest. ‘And what exactly does that entail?’
And so you eagerly begin to explain the zillion-and-one things a good Copywriter does.
First, the blindingly obvious.
A Copywriter writes.
Copywriters write lots of different things. From brochures to websites. From TV and Radio ads to newsletters. From blog posts to social media updates. From direct mail letters to the jokes inside Christmas crackers (not that I’ve ever done that, I hasten to add). Yet.
But a Copywriter wears many more hats than that. Especially Freelance Copywriters.
Let’s look at a few.
Firstly, there’s the all-round Marketing Consultant that they have to be.
Example: You’ve just written an excellent Sales Brochure when the client wonders who’s the best printer to give the work to. Or you’ve written copy for a website when you notice that the website could work far more effectively with a few minor tweaks. Or you just can’t help yourself but suggest an entire campaign based on the tweet you’ve just written. That’s when all that marketing experience you’ve built up over the years comes into play – and you can help and advise the client choose the best all-round approach to getting their marketing message out there.
A good Copywriter frequently has to be a good Researcher too. Example: You’ve just been asked to write a website about Neurofibromatosis. Or Trading Stocks. Or the Mating Habits of the Burmese Orang Utan. Whatever.
It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to know the subject inside out. Far from it. But you’re going to have to get to know it pretty quickly if you’re going to get the job delivered accurately. So for a day or so you’re likely to be wearing your researcher’s hat while you dig and delve.
As a Copywriter, I’ve frequently found that you also need to be a good Interviewer. Whether it’s for research purposes, as above, or being able to diplomatically probe a client to find out the little golden nugget of a fact that you can then use to help build a powerful marketing message. Because, after all, clients are sometimes so close the product that they fail to see the wood for the trees, as the saying goes. A good Copywriter will help tease that golden nugget out – and often build a very successful campaign around it.
So when you hire a Freelance Copywriter, you’re hiring a lot of different skills all rolled up into one.
That’s value for money, I’d say.
Now, where did I leave that Pina Colada…?
Hi. I’m a writer of highly effective copy for every marketing sector under the sun. If you've got a copywriting, advertising or design project, please get in touch - I'd love to help.