We’ll start with the first question that likely crossed your mind after seeing the title of this post: “What exactly is copywriting anyway? Isn’t that like legal protection for inventions or ideas?”
For those who are not in the marketing world, copywriting can easily be mistaken for copyright. After all, they are pronounced the same. However, they are completely different.
A copyright is the legal ownership of intellectual property. Copyright law protects creators of original material from unauthorized use or duplication of that material.
Copywriting, on the other hand, is typically filed under the larger category of marketing. Copywriting includes writing ads, websites, brochures, flyers, video scripts, emails— basically anything that is produced for the purpose of sales or persuading an audience to take action (whether that action is an actual sale, signing up for your list, or downloading a freebie). Copywriting isn’t typically full of fluffy, ‘pretty’ words as other types of writing. It’s a unique combination of research, formulas, psychology, persuasion, creativity, and strategy.
So in essence, a copywriter’s job is to write the words that sell your stuff. If you ARE in marketing or own a business, you’ve probably heard that definition or something similar a million times. While it is a true statement, it leaves out a LOT of what a good copywriter does. Copywriting is more than stringing the right words together to produce a sale. Here are just a few of the other things your copywriter MIGHT do before any words hit the page:
Once you have clearly defined your target audience, your copywriter may help with creating buyer personas to dig deeper into your ideal client’s mindset and purchasing habits. Just so we’re on the same page, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional character who represents segments of your target audience. Creating buyer personas is a must to help you and your copywriter tailor your content and offers to meet their specific needs.
Pamela Vaughan at Hubspot notes, “Buyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews — all with a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside your contacts database who might align with your target audience.”
Great copy is nothing if delivered with incorrect timing. Hence, your copywriter will review (and sometimes help create) your buyer’s journey or funnel and determine what type of content is needed for each stage of the journey.
For example, a buyer who is in the awareness stage has just learned that they have a pain or issue that needs to be resolved. This is not the time to present the buyer with a full-blown sales page or a pitch. The content for this stage should be centered around educating the buyer and showcasing your expertise and knowledge about their problem.
SEO or search optimization is amongst the first things your copywriter may work on when creating web copy for you. SEO is the way you get your site to organically show up on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Before writing a word of copy, your copywriter will likely research relevant keywords that your ideal customers are using to find products or services like yours on various search engines. Along with this, they will determine the relevance of the keyword in relation to the stage of the buyer’s journey where the content is meant to serve. This ensures that the right people are seeing this copy at the right time.
This is often where the magic begins. Clearly defining your brand’s internal and external messaging should set the groundwork for every piece of content a potential client may see. Brand messaging includes your mission, values, and vision as well as your USP (unique selling proposition) and elevator pitch.
Your copywriter will often use a combination of what he or she gathers from your completed creative brief (questionnaire), conversations and strategy calls with you, as well as the voice of customer research, to create messaging that feels authentic to you and your brand while also resonating strongly with your ideal clients.
Personality and voice are two major pieces of your brand messaging. While brand messaging defines your ‘why’— your mission, your values, etc— your brand personality and voice define how you communicate the message to your audience. It’s important to get this right as you can have the most amazing ‘why’ ever, but one that isn’t reaching and connecting with the right people.
A skilled copywriter will be able to mimic the way you communicate with your audience and maintain consistency across varying platforms, adjusting the tone as necessary. For example, if your brand is youthful and innovative with a playful voice, your IG captions may lean more into the playful tone, while your website demonstrates a more expert or authoritative tone, but still in a fun way.
As you can see, a copywriter does a whole lot more than just write! And this list isn’t even comprehensive. Depending on the copywriter’s niche or the specific project, there could be several more tasks in addition to this brief list.
Copywriters are an integral part of a successful marketing strategy, amazing at choosing the words to perfectly position your amazing brand for attracting dream clients, and at the end of the day, just magical masters of persuasion and marketing psychology.