What Does a Copywriter Do?

  • Written by Cheryl Regan

Oh, you’re a copywriter? Cool. So, uh… you, like, copyright stuff so other people can’t steal it?

I still remember when I had to explain to my parents what I did for a living. They knew I was a “copywriter,” they just had no idea—like many people—what a copywriter actually does. The truth is, unless you live in an isolated bubble on the bad-end of nowhere, you probably come across plenty of copywriting every day.

Copywriting is the art of using words to persuade, inform, and convert. It’s an essential part of marketing. The phrase “I’m lovin’ it” was written by a copywriter (fact: it was originally “Ich Liebe Es.”) The ads you see on billboards on the road? Copywriter. The product descriptions on Amazon, the content on a website, ads you hear on the radio… you get the idea.

But copywriters are not JUST writers. There’s human psychology involved, market research, and SEO for a start. In this post, I’ll break down what a copywriter’s job entails.

Types of Copywriting

Copywriters create different types of content for various purposes. For example:

  • Content Writing for Websites: A website is a business’s virtual shop window, and the copy on its pages can make or break user engagement. Copywriters create website copy that informs and persuades visitors to take action—whether that action is to click ‘buy’, ‘subscribe,’ ‘book a call,’ or something else.
  • “Top of the Funnel” Content Writing for Blogs: Blogs are an effective way to attract potential customers to a website by providing informative content on topics related to the company’s products or services. Furthermore, pumping out relevant content in blog format can increase a company’s online visibility and attract more organic traffic.
  • In-Depth Articles for Audience Engagement: Longer-form articles can be engaging and useful, providing value to visitors. These articles also help to establish brand authority and expertise in certain subject matters.
  • Copywriting for Ads: Whether it’s Google ads, Facebook ads, or sponsored ads in your social feeds, this type of copy is written to compel an audience to click through.
  • Copywriting for SEO: The goal of SEO-focused copywriting is to create targeted messaging around relevant keywords that will help improve organic visibility in SERPs (Search Engines Results Pages). A skilled copywriter understands how strategically-placed keyword phrases benefit search engine rankings and implements them without compromising the quality or readability of the content.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs out of all marketing channels. Copywriters write lead nurturing emails and drip campaigns to turn subscribers into paying customers, upsell, and cross-sell other products.

The Role of a Copywriter

Copywriters can work in-house, as part of a digital marketing agency, or as freelancers. Their responsibilities vary depending on the type of organisation they work for. However, some common tasks include:

Researching and Understanding the Target Audience

Before writing any content, a copywriter must first understand who they’re writing for. This includes researching the target audience’s demographics, interests, pain points, and more. By doing so, they can tailor their messaging to resonate with their intended audience.

A great copywriter understands human psychology. They’ll know their audience’s triggers, beliefs, objections, emotions, fears, and their desires.

Creating Compelling Headlines and Taglines

One of the most important aspects of effective copywriting is creating attention-grabbing headlines and taglines. These should be concise yet compelling, designed to draw readers in and encourage them to keep reading.

Developing Clear Messaging

In addition to headlines and taglines, copywriters must also develop clear messaging that conveys the benefits of whatever it is they’re promoting. This could involve writing product descriptions and creating website content or blog posts that showcase an organisation’s expertise in its field.

Writing Engaging Content

Whether it’s an email newsletter, a social media post, or advertising materials like flyers and brochures, copywriters must write engaging content that resonates with readers while also achieving business objectives such as driving sales to generate profits for their clients. This requires not just strong storytelling skills but also familiarity with different formats such as web pages, blogs, ads and more.

Often, a copywriter is required to write about a topic they don’t know anything about. Before writing said content, a copywriter needs to carry out extensive research into these new topics. This can be immensely enjoyable for those with a curious mind. Personally, I never get tired of learning about new topics.

Editing Content

A good copywriter knows how to polish their work until it shines. They’ll edit for grammar and spelling errors, sure, but they will also ensure that their messaging is clear, easy to understand, and persuasive enough to encourage readers into action.

Skills Required for Copywriting

The best copywriters possess many essential skills, including:

  • Strong Writing Skills: While this might seem obvious, copywriters must have excellent writing skills. They should know how to write clearly, effectively, and persuasively while avoiding using jargon that might confuse potential customers.
  • Attention to Detail: A typo or error in grammar could make even good content look bad. Moreover, some factual mistakes might damage the client’s reputation which could affect their brand image negatively. Attention-to-detail is incredibly important. Good copywriters back up their facts and figures with authoritative sources like research papers and information from government-owned websites.
  • Research Abilities: To write effectively, copywriters must be able to research and target potential customers’ pain points and concerns. This way, they can craft clear messages that resonate.
  • Creative Thinking: Whether it’s coming up with catchy taglines and slogans or crafting unique product descriptions, content creation always demands creative thinking from writers. It’s no surprise that many famous storytellers (including James Patterson and Salman Rushdie) started out as copywriters. (Yes, I also write fiction. Fact: I have stories published under my Super Secret Pen Name.)
  • Marketing Savvy: Good marketers understand customer behaviour, especially behaviour trends. This helps when it comes to targeting potential customer groups based on preferences and market behaviours.

Summary (TL;DR)

A copywriter’s chief job is to craft captivating messages that convert, persuade, or inform. Adept writers have versatile skill sets that range from crafting tailored website content all the way through writing long-form features.

An experienced copywriter knows how to tell a story effectively while keeping business objectives in mind. They use all aspects of strong writing, research abilities, marketing-savviness, and creative thinking to produce high-quality content on behalf of a client’s needs.

Psst. In need of a skilled and experienced copywriter? Let’s talk about what I can do for you.