One of the questions I am most frequently asked is “what does a copywriter do?”.
To those in the marketing world this may sound like a silly question – I write copy, duh – but I think we often get so caught up in our industry that we forget what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.
A common question is whether I work on trademarks and patents, as there is an understandable confusion with copyright as intellectual property (the English language so often presents us with these quandaries); moreover I have received comments including: “there wouldn’t be much call for that any more with digital printing” as there is a perception that copywriting has something to do with typesetting (if you know the origin of this misconception please do let me know).
So, what does a copywriter do? In a nutshell: every word you see (or hear) in every form of marketing material is written by a copywriter. This covers every form of advertising, collateral (printed materials), billboards, websites and, in my case, annual reports.
Not only putting words into wonderfully compelling copy, copywriters are known for their punctilious natures when it comes to spelling, their perniciousness with grammar and their predilection to thesauruses (or is that thesaurii?).
So when you see a pithy billboard tagline or a call to action to compels you to act, think of me and my fellow copywriters, slaving away at our keyboards, racking our brains for the combination of words that will achieve balance between compelling copy and a compulsion to buy.
But basically, when it comes down to the aforementioned nutshell: we sell stuff with words.