As a copywriter, one of the most common questions I’m asked is “what do you actually do?”. And it’s a fair question, because the term ‘copywriter’ can be a bit confusing - is it something to do with law and copyright? (no). Copying stuff? Also nope. So first of all, let’s do a bit of jargon-busting.
We’ve all heard the term ‘content’ and that may be one you’re comfortable with. So, copy - and by that I mean words or text or writing of some kind - is the fuel of content. Content being any set of written, spoken or visual messages that we use as a brand. Blog posts are content. Instagram images are content. Video is content. Websites are content. And for that reason, while copy is always content, content is not always copy.
That makes my job, as a copywriter (or content creator, or writer, or wordsmith or whatever you want to call it), to write the right kind of words for whatever type of content you’re creating. That could be a script for a video or the copy for your entire website. It could be pithy little headlines for your Facebook ads or an entire report about Whatever It Is That Your Brand Is Great At Doing. Anything that involves words, really.
Why would my brand need a copywriter?
Fair question. In some regards, I believe that the absolute best person to write about a business is someone who’s close to it. Someone who knows why it’s important, how it works and what makes it different. But it’s rarely as simple as that. Sometimes, a team simply doesn’t have the skillset or appetite for writing. Sometimes, a brand has created its own copy but some reason, it’s just not doing the job the way they hoped. Sometimes, they need something very specific that needs a firm hand and fresh ideas to bring it together.
Whatever the reason, there are some definite benefits to using a copywriter, such as:
- A new perspective from a neutral point of view
- A wealth of experience and a toolbox full of best practices that you can share
- Freedom to focus on what you do best - running your business
- Good advice and new ideas that can open up new possibilities for your business
So, how does it work?
Every copywriter is different, so I’ll tell you a little bit about how I work with my clients. When it’s our first project together, I take the time to understand the bigger picture - where you are in your business journey, what you’re trying to achieve and the environment you’re operating in. Usually, I’ll ask you about your customers, your competitors and your products or services. The reason for this is to help me create content that, in the long-run, supports your overall business objectives.
Whatever kind of project we decide to work on together, we’ll create a brief together. This will help us agree what it is that you need and how I’ll help you get there. I’ll then take that brief to cost the work and break it down into the right steps, so that you can see not only what it will cost, but what you’re getting, when and how.
More than half of the time, clients come to me knowing that they need help, but without a very specific brief. And that’s fine with me, because I can help you figure out what it is, exactly, that you need. In fact, I’d always say that telling me “I need to educate potential customers and motivate them to contact us” will always be more productive than telling me “we need a sales brochure”, because often, I’ll be able to suggest a range of ways to help you meet your objectives, including some you may not have thought of.
How long does it take?
That depends. For new clients, I’ll suggest starting with some work on your key messages and tone of voice before I start writing (I’ll be talking more about these in the following posts). This is important, because it helps us agree and establish how you want your brand to sound and what people need to know as a priority. I’ll then use that information to guide anything else that I write for you.
Most copywriters will be working for multiple clients, so we’re pretty great at managing our time and your expectations. Overall, you should consider content and copywriting as an iterative process, just like developing a website or app. We draft, you feedback, we iterate. And we keep going until it hits the spot. Usually, with an experienced copywriter, a couple of iteration rounds is the maximum you’d need - this is where asking all of the right questions in the beginning really pays off.
How much does it cost and is it worth it?
Again, different copywriters will structure and charge differently. I find that my clients get best value out of booking a few days of my time (charged at a day rate), which I then timesheet every time I work on their project. This way, they have an idea of the maximum it’ll cost, while having the flexibility to deal with iterations and any new requests they might have at the same time.
I never, ever work on a word count basis (such as a set amount per 1,000 words). That’s because when I’m creating quality copy that will serve your business well over time, word count isn’t really that relevant - creativity, accuracy, confidence and consistency matter. And they take a bit of time.
How do I find the right copywriter for my business?
- Ask around. Recommendations are without a doubt the best way to find someone you can trust.
- Check out https://www.procopywriters.co.uk/
- And when you find someone you think might be able to help you, make sure you have a chat first about their background (many of us are ex-journalists or marketers, for instance), experience and suitability for your project. Ask to see examples of their work, too.
If you’d like to talk to me about a specific project, get in touch! You can also learn more about my experience, approach and services at www.wisdomandtrue.com.