As a copywriter myself, I’m often asked ‘what does a copywriter do?’ Seriously. Just last weekend, my partner and I road tripped to a nearby town (Murwillumbah) to see some friends and watch them play a gig (excellent).
And as we lounged on the back deck of our one-nighter hotel overlooking gum blossoms and our own private river, one friend turned to me. Scratched his head, and said…
The next day, I met up with my dad in a small town, reminiscent of an old Western movie. And as common conversations snake over chicken schnitzels, we found ourselves on the topic of work.
Dad’s a welder. He welds things. It feels like an easy job to grapple. To understand. To picture in your mind.
But me? I’m a copywriter. I write copy. It’s much more perplexing. Less straightforward, less clear or concise.
And like the day before, my dad turned to me and said, “I know you’ve told me before, darl, but what does a copywriter do?”
Every Uber Driver, family member, new friend and old (apparently). They’ve all asked the same… And after being asked close to twelve million times, I thought, maybe you too are asking yourself ‘what does a copywriter do?’
When it comes to copywriters, like Aldi capsicums – no two are the same. From my perspective here are the types of copywriters I’ve learnt about since being one myself.
Snazzy little note for you: These probably aren’t the correct terms, but I think they make each type easy to understand. Hopefully, you think so too.
Now you know the types of copywriters there are, it’s important to explore what a copywriter’s process is. While I can’t explain every copywriter’s process, I can let you behind the curtain of mine.
Most of my time is spent researching. I would say around 80% of my time, in fact. 5% in meetings and communicating with clients (after our initial deep-dive consultations), then a final 15% writing.
Did you just double-check that added to 100? I did.
In case you’re a curious kitten and want to know my word situation, I wear a few hats. A swizzled mix of these copywriter types.
Essentially, I combine the technicalities of words (think, their connotations, experiences and messaging) with the strategy of SEO (to help increase brand discoverability) and the personality of voice. Then add a sprinkling of marketing know-how from my Degrees, focussing on what makes people act.
Without boring you with my entire process… Here’s what goes into something like a Voice Guide.
1. Getting to know you – As the magical being behind your brand, I’m fascinated by you. Why you decided to start your business, what it means to you and who you are when you’re not at work. Because believe it or not, the intricacies of your story that feel like boring blimps to you can actually create the most wonderfully intriguing stories for your brand.
2. Getting to know your brand – What’s the bigger purpose of your brand? In 100 years time, what do you want your brand to be known for? What does your brand value? Not just coming up with a list of buzzwords that sound like everyone else (things like quality and reliability are expected). But real and true values that impact all that your brand is – and does.
3. Getting to know your ideal customers – To understand how to best connect with your ideal people, I groove into everything they are. Not just their name, age and job. But more like, what an ideal life looks like for them, what’s standing in the way of that for them now, what solutions you offer and how this could impact their lives. I stalk your existing customers and chat to them. I ask why they chose you, what they were looking for, what they liked and a bunch of other secret sauce Qs.
4. Understanding or creating your brand personality – Once I know your brand and ideal clients or customers, I can assess if you’re talking to them in a way that connects. In a way that clearly shows you understand them and their struggles. That you know what they’re looking for – and guess what? You’re their solution.
5. Developing your language – Words harness power. They can make your brand stand out or blend in. Create calmness or energy. Build a more relatable tone or authoritative voice. Think about a brand like Harley Davidson. Then think of Chevrolet.
Throughout the world, X unites people deeply, passionately and authentically. From town to town and country to country, X’s ideals of freedom and self-expression transcend cultures, gender and age. Being recognized as an iconic brand is gratifying, but igniting the fire within people on the many roads of the world is what we are all about.
Was it Harley Davidson? Or Chevrolet?
Innovation is what drives us forward. From available advanced safety technologies to connectivity and infotainment to vehicle electrification, we’re working to make the road ahead smart, safe and efficient so you can make the most of every mile.
While these are both automotive brands, their language sounds different. It feels different. It taps into different desirable states, for different ideal customers (Harley Davidson was first and Chevrolet second – did you pick it?).
So, when it comes to your brand language, copywriters bring together who you are, what your brand stands for, who it serves (and how). Then inject it into your language. The words you use, the rhythm of them and the way they’re ordered.
For example, short sharp sentences. They feel certain. They feel fast. They create intentional power. While on the other hand, more descriptive and flowy sentences can create a more serene feeling.
If I’m honest, this is just one scenario of what a copywriter does. And just the main kahuna steps. Let’s not forget creating branded terms, voice applications and translating values to voice. Revisions and client meetings, the customer interviews and scouring past written review… You get the picture.
But to shorten a rather long, wordy story… Copywriters research. We brainstorm. We ask why. Then we ask why again, and again – and again. We dream up concepts and research whether they’ll connect. We apply sales techniques and analyse human behaviour.
Yes, we write words. But we do a bunch of other stuff too.
Ready to use a copywriter for your business? Get in touch today and lets word groove.
Your friendly, neighbourhood copy tour manager. Here to help ambitious business rock stars like you rock your copy at every stage of your biz road trip.
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