June 22, 2016
Think of this crazy fact.
If you were a copywriter in high school, you probably got in a lot of trouble.
So why, if you put those words together today, does it becomes a respectable career? What exactly is a copywriter today?
Defining Copy in General (What Do Copywriters Do Every Day?)
To understand copywriting, you need to understand what copy is.
Obviously, this has multiple meanings, but we are going to focus on the definition that actually affects copywriters: marketing copy.
In this sense, copy is text that is used primarily for marketing and advertising purposes. If you want to really understand copy, try to figure out what the purpose of the text is.
Is it directly trying to sell you a product, such as through a TV commercial? Then it’s copy. If that isn’t its primary purpose, then it’s not copy.
For example, Web writing is often part of copywriting. However, when that Web writing is not directly selling or marketing – think of a blog that is intended to draw people to a site but isn’t actually selling something to them – then it is generally considered to be content writing, which is performed by a content writer.
So if you want to know what a copywriter does, then the answer is pretty simple. They write copy.
10 Things that Answer the Question, “What Do Copywriters Do?”
For more specifics about what copywriters do, here are 10 good examples of copy that is created by copywriters.
1. Direct e-mail.
How you craft a marketing e-mail is surprisingly complex. You might think if you have a person’s e-mail address, it means he/she gave it to you, which indicates interest, which probably means that you can’t go wrong in what you write.
Well, interested does not mean loyal for life. A good copywriter knows that a lot of thought has to be put into even something as simple as the subject line of a marketing e-mail.
So you ask what do copywriters do? They convince you to read e-mails you might otherwise have thought of as spam.
Where do you think the Burger King “Have it Your Way” jingle came from? If copywriter was your answer, then congratulations. You are right.
Writing the words to a jingle may not be considered poetry, but boy does it feel like it when you are writing one. A jingle is by nature not supposed to be too serious – I don’t see a funeral home’s ads being a place to showcase your jingle writing chops – however, if it is too cheesy it will turn people off.
You have to make it catchy, but you can’t let it lose the message. You want it to get stuck in people’s heads, yet not in an annoying way. Business Insider even came up with a list of 25 of the catchiest jingles.
In other words, great copywriters are the reason you can’t stop singing that song from that commercial you like (or hate).
Just do it. Like a rock. Built to last. So simple, and yet so powerful. When a tagline works, it can stick to a brand for a really long time.
Some people say that taglines are becoming extinct since there are other more powerful marketing tools out there. However, if you craft one that works, it could still make a big difference in your marketing.
What do copywriters do? The really good ones take a few common, everyday words and make you think of their company whenever you say them.
You can hardly drive 10 feet down the highway without seeing a billboard telling you where to eat or what you should buy. And on each and every one of those billboards you will probably find text.
Who wrote that text? A copywriter, of course.
So we now add something else to our list. A copywriter helps you find the Q and Z you need to win the ABC game on your next road trip.
5. Landing pages.
Unbounce describes a landing page as “a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective.”
Landing pages are complex. They have to be perfectly crafted with SEO in mind so that people actually land on them. However, once someone gets there, they have to be personable and convincing enough to get the reader to perform whatever the call of action is (buy a product, sign up for a trial, etc.).
As you see, copywriters convince machines and humans that what they are selling is the best.
Commercials have scripts that were created by copywriters. Think about all the times you have wanted to try something because of a commercial. Or how many times a commercial annoyed you so much you wanted nothing to do with the company just to get back at them for putting it on the air.
For good or for bad, that was a copywriter convincing you to do something.
What do copywriters do? They make even the biggest sports haters into powerful football fans come Super Bowl Sunday.
7. Online ads.
Have you ever noticed that the top few choices you get in a Google search are ads? Similarly, all the ones down the sides are ads.
And then you click over to a site, and there are more ads. Everywhere you click leads to an ad. Well, each of those ads were created by a copywriter.
Writing ads is hard work because you have to craft them just right. If you don’t put in the right keywords, you might not ever pop up in a search. To do this successfully, copywriters writing online ads have to know who they want to see their ad, what those people are searching for, and when they are searching for it.
Then, they have to take that information and slip it into the perfect compilation of search engine-approved, reader-moved text that will get a lot of conversions without costing too much.
In other words, copywriters know how to find you wherever you search.
What Do Copywriters Do? Final Notes
So now that you know what a copywriter does, you can look impressed the next time someone tells you that this is what he/she does for a living. Alternatively, maybe I just convinced you to make a career change.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.