Why copywriting isn’t just writing

By Teamspirit on Tuesday, 27 August 2019

You may well have come across the phrase ‘everyone’s a copywriter’, especially on certain social media sites. But, like many a modern phrase, it’s fake news! Not to say you can’t become a copywriter – if that’s your dream then continue chasing it by all means. But it takes more than folks realise to become a great copywriter.

Copywriting is never just stringing some words together into a fairly coherent sentence. If it was, many people would be out of a job before you could say ‘disestablishmentarianism’. Instead it’s about ideas.

At the heart of a good advertising campaign is an idea. Something that makes people smile; perhaps it’s a human truth. Whatever it is, that idea needs to come from somewhere. A lot of the time, that can come down to the copywriter.

Now, before art directors nationwide revolt, yes, ideas can come from anywhere in the business. Even clients have come up with some crackers. But good ideas come from writers too.

Then it’s up to them to vocalise that idea. That can sometimes be very easy, other times a total nightmare that keeps you up until the wee hours. But this working out, this crafting, this sorting through the jumble to find a gem is what copywriters do best. They can take a complicated mass of thoughts and brand assets and make a message simple to understand and, dare I say it, interesting to read.

This could take the form of a snappy headline that sums up a product’s unique selling point in seconds. It could be a brochure that gives you all the info you need in a way that doesn’t make your eyes melt. Whatever it is, it needs to serve an important purpose – let no word be wasted.

Now you could simply write down all the basic information for a new product, hit print and put your feet up. But it’s almost guaranteed to fail. Why? Because just delivering information will never lead to sales or increased footfall or someone becoming an advocate for your brand.

You need to consider your audience. Then make sure you’re always speaking in that brand’s tone of voice. Then shorten it (always shorten it). Maybe then you’re onto a winner. Because just saying something for the sake of saying it won’t win anyone any favours.

In order to reach our all-important customers, to make them feel welcome by your brand, to help them engage with your message, you need to put them first. Write like you’re talking to them and they may well listen.

On top of that, give what you’ve written a bit of welly, give it some flair, and even others outside your target audience may sit up and take notice of what you have to say. And remember, the pen is mightier than the tweet (unless that was written by a copywriter too).

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