March 18th, 2020

What Does A Copywriter Do?

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Written by Copycat Copywriters

Dear reader, what you are about to learn is something that I’ve never told anyone. It is a secret buried in the deepest folds of my ribcage, somewhere so deep even my soul can’t touch it. A piece of information that has, over time, sunk its teeth into my being and pioneered every decision I’ve made in the last five years. 

I’ve withheld sharing this information for too long now. 

The hour is tired; my bearings grow weak. 

You’ve stumbled upon this piece in hopes of learning the purpose of my kin. Yet you find yourself seated at my table, learning something about me personally—peeling the words back, glimpsing the face over the keyboard. 

When I tell you, please brave the truth. Keep your hands planted. Do not let your knees weaken. 

The secret, dear reader, is this: a copywriter has only one job. 

That job, above all else, is to make you listen. 

Are you listening? 

What Exactly Does a Copywriter Do? 

I use the dramatic and flowery opening above to illustrate a point—a copywriter’s job is to make people listen. While a cursory glance through the articles that arise on Google’s first page (when you seek the answer of “what does a copywriter do”) will detail the various jobs of a copywriter, what the work entails, and all the different marketing positions they fit, to me that’s all noise. 

Although copywriters are multifaceted (more on this below), the entire point of copy is to:

  1. Entice the reader (make them listen)
  2. Keep them engaged (write a compelling narrative) 
  3. Then inspire them to act (creating actionable words that lead to a desired outcome) 

To that end (literally the last one there—#3), 

  • This action can take the form of a purchase, subscription, signing up for an eBook, or leaving a piece of contact information that allows a company to follow up. 

  • This action, once completed, is what marketers call a conversion. And while your customer isn’t changing religions, they’re deciding to trust you. 

Why? 

Because somehow, somewhere, on some social media or web platform, with some piece of content, they listened

And whatever they listened to, it was compelling enough to inspire them. 

What Is A Copywriter? 

A digital copywriter is a writer that has dedicated their craft to the netherworlds of content marketing. They produce copy, or what the world calls written material for advertisements, marketing outputs, and the likes of. But as copywriting services have asserted their dominance, “copy” is now becoming a ubiquitous term for any kind of written text. 

Remember that slogan you saw on the billboard yesterday? That’s copy. If you remember what it said—that’s effective copy. How about the magazine you used as a distraction prior to your dentist launching a siege against your teeth? Those words you read—you guessed it, copy. What about the last newspaper you read? Never mind. What about the BuzzFeed listicle you clicked through? Yep, copy. How about this long-winded blurb you’re reading currently? Mhmm. Copy. 

A copywriter is the writer that produces copy. They’re employed by marketing agencies, marketers, individual businesses, magazines, media companies, and… if they’re absolutely brilliant copywriters…

They’re employed by us. 

How Does A Copywriter Make People Listen? 

To me, a great copywriter—first and foremost—is a great content writer. Trace the threads of the greats and they all connect to that reservoir of creativity writers draw from. 

Copywriting, however, is a multifaceted art form. 

Although an innate talent for the written word is where it begins; it’s not where it ends. 

In order to make people listen, a great copywriter needs to know who those people are—their affinities; their tastes; their habits; their behaviors; the problems they face; their desires and ambitions; how much money they have; their age(s); the types of content they consume. 

Then, a copywriter needs to be able to write in character (that character, dear reader, is you). They need to be able to step into your shoes and communicate as your brand, using tailored rhetoric that remains consistent and compelling on every medium. 

In this phenomenon is where the great duality of a copywriter is born:

A dexterous copywriter isn’t just a talented communicator, they’re also an intelligent marketer. They are able to articulate ideas that effectively reach their target audience and keep them interested in a company's products and services. 

What Kind of Projects Does a Copywriter Work On? 

As copywriters, we work on tons of different projects with myriad objectives. Yet, despite the project at hand, our job is always to: 

  • Communicate your brand message effectively 
  • Compel readers with emotionally driven content 
  • Once enticed, use actionable writing skills to inspire the reader to act 
  • Increase sales and lead generation 

In which case, copywriters are hired for:

  • Blog content
  • Web copy 
  • Advertisements (social, PPC, etc.) 
  • eBooks 
  • Email 
  • Social 
  • White papers
  • Primers
  • Press releases 
  • Newsletters 
  • Pitches 
  • Decks 
  • Anything that needs words

Still, it doesn’t end there. The above is merely the tip of the iceberg. Any seasoned copywriter knows that wherever there’s a need for written content, there’s a job. 

And wherever there’s a job, dear reader—

There’s us. 

The Copywriter – It’s Not Just Being A Wordsmith 

Alas, I bring you to the place that explains how we transcend well past the written word. Where wordsmithing is silenced—where creativity, critical thinking, and superb research skills flourish. 

It’s important to understand that in our line of work, it’s the processes that take place before and after we’ve lit our cigarette and pulled out the typewriter which differentiates good from great. In reality—depending on the project—half (if not more) of our time is spent on processes that don’t involve writing copy

From researching, project managing, interviewing, implementing stratagems, to formatting, proofreading, editing, and sourcing images, the copywriter’s job rarely ends at the last period typed and entered. 

It’s within these processes that the writer becomes a marketer. 

Take us, for example. When clients come to Copycat in need of our services, we first: 

  • Create their profile – By scrubbing each piece of existing material given to us, we create a client profile—a document that acts like a living organism (Client + Copycat = parents of organism). We work to identify your brand voice, competitors, rhetoric, style, objectives, and positioning. 

Then, we take a deep dive into a—

  • Client’s objectives – By identifying a client’s objectives, we then look at their competitors, the current market, and their angle. From there, we hit the drawing board and drink the creative Kool-Aid, providing our input on how best to realize these goals. 

Once these processes are completed, we’ll then curate a writing team or handpick a warrior for the task(s) at hand. But that leans into Copycat’s process and not copywriting in isolation. So, for the sake of this article, once a project is shipped, the writer or writers will:

  • Conduct research – Research is no easy task for the copywriter. With the maelstrom of duplicated content all vying for rank, targeting the source isn’t as easy as it once was. But that’s no matter. Depending on the objective, a copywriter will need to research a topic, industry, science, idea, product, competitor(s), or anything that’s going to fortify the words written.  

If writing copy is the music, research is the instrument. 

  • Interview – At times, a copywriter—especially if they’re producing internal materials, white papers, press releases, or ghost writing, will need to conduct and transcribe interviews. 

  • Source Images – As copywriters, we often have to source images (especially for blogposts). This can quickly become a time-consuming endeavor. 

  • Project manage – Copywriters need to manage their projects, client face, and evolve with the company they’re working with. It’s not just about understanding what a brand needs, but what’s working, what’s not, and how the business is positioned to grow. 

  • Implement content marketing stratagems – Whether it’s integrating keywords, formatting for a specific medium, cutting out characters for an ad headline, optimizing images for SEO (search engine optimization), using headers to tell a story (hint: this is a fantastic way to shape an article), or anything that relates to marketing tactics, a digital copywriter needs to ensure they’re doing right by the marketing campaign at hand. With SEO copywriting, they have to understand where this piece is going to land, why it’s on the runway, and what its purpose is in flight. 

  • Editing – What used to be the great bane of my existence, is what became my greatest strength as a copywriter. At Copycat, editing is the most important part of the copywriting process. In the editing sphere, a content writer takes an icepick and hammers in the details; we cut emotion into the eyes, break off the excess ice, ensure its in the shape our clients want, that no cracks exist, that it’s not just a character—it’s a story. 

To me, it’s in the processes listed above that the great copywriter emerges. It’s all the planets that orbit the writing itself—if a copywriter understands this galaxy, they understand the purpose of their craft. 

In that understanding, a professional copywriter can take any product, service, or brand, and convince people that what they’re selling isn’t just another lamp, it’s a lifestyle. That it isn’t a product, it’s a better way of living. It’s not a service, it’s edification.  

That it’s not business, it’s a brand.

Copycat Copywriters – Your Story, Our Words 

By the end of this, you might think—to say a copywriter’s sole purpose is to make people listen is an oversimplification. But to me, compelling content is subjective. You can articulate and structure the most incredible article and yet, if it’s not positioned for its audience, it’ll fall on deaf ears. 

To make someone listen, you need to understand who they are. 

To make someone listen, you need to understand the voice of your character, and what this brand could mean to them. 

Here at Copycat, the purpose of our art is to make people listen to you. To provide a new perspective on a tried and tested product or service. To differentiate your voice from your competition and create thought-leadership in your copywriting career.

To inspire your audience to act

Should you need compelling, engaging, and creative written content, reach to us. Or, if you’re someone that thinks you have the chops to be a professional copywriter, scroll down and reach out to HR. 

At the end of the day, your brand is a story. 

And who best to tell the tale, than a group of storytellers?

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