What Does a Copywriter Do?

What Does a Copywriter Do?

There are a lot of jobs where the title says it all: Doctor. Lawyer. Fireman. Teacher. Then there are those jobs where the title doesn’t tell you a whole lot—maybe it even confuses you more. “Copywriter” is one of those jobs.

“So you’re a copywriter… What exactly is that?”

If this question has crossed your mind, you’re not alone. Family and friends ask me this question all the time.

People typically wonder if the job has something to do with copyrights (it doesn’t). To avoid that confusion, sometimes I lose the “copy” part and just tell people I’m a “writer”. But that usually leads them to think I’m a novelist (I’m not).

The term “copywriter” originated in the world of advertising over a century ago. “Copy” was what they called the text of ads. Since someone had to write that text, the job was called “copywriter”.

The title has stuck over time even though, obviously, it’s not a great one. To be fair, it’s a tough job to give a catch-all title. I’ve tried other titles like:

  • Content writer
  • Professional writer
  • Business writer
  • Marketing writer

But none of these really capture the essence of what I do either. None of them describe the profession in a way that doesn’t require additional explanation. And that may just be the nature of my work.

A Copywriter Wears Many Different Hats

So what does a copywriter do? What’s my job? I help organizations (corporations, small businesses, nonprofits) communicate with customers. I help them tell people about what they do or share their professional knowledge or extol the benefits of their services.

Essentially, I write content (AKA “copy”) that acts as a bridge connecting companies with customers.

This can come in many different packages because there are many different ways to communicate. From emails and websites to social networks and product packaging, there are a lot of different places where messages need to be crafted and words need to be assembled.

That’s what I do. I’m the word guy. I help you hone what you want to say and put it in writing.

Examples of Some of the Different Things I Do to Help Clients

Here’s a list of some of the different writing projects I’ve helped clients with over the past month:

  • Content for websites and landing pages
  • Blog posts (lots of these in various styles and formats)
  • Newsletters (both physical and digital)
  • Articles for magazines and websites
  • Brochures and one-sheets
  • Product descriptions
  • Marketing email content
  • Video scripts
  • Case studies
  • Speaker and employee bios
  • Social media profiles
  • Social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.)
  • Branding and taglines
  • E-book content
  • Podcast scripting
  • Interview questions
  • Editing and proofing
  • Website updates
  • Presentation content
  • Press releases
  • Policies and reports
  • Wikipedia submissions
  • Mail piece/letter content
  • Website SEO (page/post meta titles and descriptions)

Assisting in the Creation of All Types of Communication, Big and Small

That’s a good size sample of the most common things I do. But it’s still not all-inclusive. I’ve helped clients do everything from putting together gift basket notes to writing internal memos to creating messages for signs.

A lot of the time, my work is as much about organizing content as it is about writing it. I’ve put together more outlines than I can tally—for everything from marketing strategies to event programs to interview talking points.

In a nutshell, a copywriter will help you find the right words and facilitate communication. That’s valuable for companies today because the right words are needed in all sorts of different places.

Shad Connelly

I'm a Pittsburgh freelance copywriter and communications consultant. I develop online marketing content to define your business and strengthen your brand. Reach me at info@shadconnelly.com.