What is a Copywriter and Do I Need One?

Words. Where would a business be without them? But although every business *should* understand the power words can have, not all words are created equal.

Even if you think of yourself as a good writer, hiring a copywriter is essential for giving your brand its best chance of attracting, converting, and retaining customers. This is because copywriters have a unique set of skills that let them create copy and content that serves a purpose. With writing that’s free from errors, utilises the perfect phrases or words for your brand, and helps establish you as an industry expert, you’re sure to see an increase in sales and traffic in no time!

If you’re thinking of hiring a copywriter but are unsure what a copywriter does or what value a copywriter can add to your business, let me explain…

What is a copywriter anyway?

What exactly is a copywriter? 

I know what you’re thinking… But no, copywriting doesn’t have anything to do with copyright law (okay, maybe a tiny bit, but not really). Copywriting is, above all else, about writing. But writing in a particular way to encourage readers to take a desired action.

It’s hard to come up with a copywriter description because copywriting encompasses such a wide variety of creative tasks. The closest description of a copywriter I could find was from LinkedIn… In an article that stated a copywriter can be “tasked with writing clear and concise copy for ads, marketing materials, and websites, for virtually any audience and any industry.” This pretty much summarises it. 

When friends and family ask what I do for a living, I usually tell them, “Think of any marketing materials you’ve picked up recently. Have you read a brochure, a blog, or a product description? If it was written well, chances are, it was written by a copywriter.”

But copywriting is about more than just the written word. It involves cutting deep into a brand’s soul, purpose, and goals. Copywriters also need to understand a target audience and what language they’ll engage with.

And if that’s not enough, the best copywriters should also understand how Google rankings work so that all this effort doesn’t go to waste!

What does a copywriter do? 

Unlike fiction writers or journalists, copywriters write with a purpose or goal in mind… This will generally inform, engage, impact, or persuade a reader according to the client’s agenda.

This agenda could involve convincing a potential customer to buy a product, which is probably your automatic thought when thinking about what a copywriter does.

However, copywriting has other purposes: for example, to help establish your brand as an authority or industry leader, to educate an audience, or to simply build brand awareness and get your name in front of more potential customers.  

But copywriters go beyond just writing. They also conduct countless hours of market research to learn everything they can about your brand, goals, target audience, competitors, and industry. This will involve scrutinising your website, pouring over your social media, finding out who your customers are, where they spend their time, what they find interesting or valuable, and what your competitors are up to.

Copywriting takes a lot of research and planning.

Why do I need a copywriter? 

It takes around 0.05 seconds for a web user to form an opinion about your website. In this time, they will have already decided whether they like it, and whether they’ll stay or leave.  By 15 seconds, if you haven’t given them a good reason to stay, they’ll abandon your site in search of something more relevant or engaging. 

This means that every web page, blog post, paragraph, sentence, and word must be carefully cultivated to attract and maintain your visitors’ attention.

But, Pippa, I’m perfectly good at English, and I can’t really afford to hire anyone. Are copywriters worth it? 

Simply put, yes, copywriters almost always offer unbelievable ROIs.

Remember, copywriting is about more than crafting content that’s free from errors (although this is essential). It’s about understanding an audience and writing content specifically for them that also satisfies the needs of the business.

Here are 10 things copywriters do that makes us worth the investment:

1. Copywriters are talented wordsmiths. 

First things first, copywriters are (obviously) excellent writers. Copywriters know how to craft a story that entertains and engages while also leading customers towards a desired outcome or action. This involves going further than knowing the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re.”

They’re also fantastic storytellers. So, even if your industry is a dry topic, they’ll know how to capture your audience’s attention and make the story shine through.

2. Copywriters save you time (not to mention frustration). 

In business, we all know that time = money. So, when you’re slaving over your next blog post or product description, and it’s taking hours longer than you think it should, this is a good indicator that it’s time to hire a freelance copywriter.

Remember, copywriters are professional writers. They make their living by researching, writing, and editing content. And they do it fast. This means you’ll get high-quality copy far more swiftly and reliably when you hire a copywriter than trying to do it yourself.

Plus, you really have enough on your plate as a business owner without thinking up catchy headlines or closing paragraphs. With a copywriter, you can leave the content creation to them while you focus on the areas of your business that only you can do.

Juggling too many balls? Hire a copywriter to take the stress away, and spend more time with the other parts of your business (or at the beach).

3. Copywriters help create and maintain a cohesive brand identity. 

Over time, brands develop their own identity. This can be entirely different from the identity of the people who created it. And along with this identity will come a voice that’s unique to your brand.

Getting your brand’s voice right is essential to success. It needs to be cohesive across all platforms to ensure a consistent user experience.

Whether you’ve got a detailed Tone of Voice Brand Guideline or have never given it a second thought, a copywriter can help figure out how you should be speaking to your audience. And they’ll be able to tailor their writing to suit.

So, even if you have 20 different writers, your brand will speak with the same voice. And your audience will come to recognise you.

4. Copywriters engage your audience. 

We’ve already established that if you can’t engage an internet user in the first 15 seconds, chances are you’ll lose them forever. Further research tells us that the average time an individual will spend on an article or blog post is around 37 seconds

This means you don’t have long at all to convince a reader to absorb the information on your website!

Copywriters know this, and they also know the tricks to keep users engaged and interested from start to finish.

From excellent writing skills to snappy headlines and subheadings, listicles, bold font, sentence spacing, and much more, copywriters are experts at retaining attention. Particularly in saturated markets where competition for readers is fierce!

5. Copywriters won’t make simple errors that might be costing you business. 

We’ve all heard the phrase “Grammar Nazi,” but when it comes to crafting copy for your business, being a stickler for the details can have a dramatic effect.

In fact, around 74% of internet users state they pay attention to the spelling and grammar used on company websites, and 59% would actively avoid making a purchase from a company that makes obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. 

Even if you consider yourself an okay writer, picking up on every spelling mistake, typo, or missing apostrophe can be easier said than done! A copywriter will ensure you’re not losing business for simple errors.

Write without fear. Edit without mercy.

6. Copywriters will help boost your Google rankings.

Even if they’re not an SEO expert, the best copywriters will understand the Google ranking systems and know how to get your content in front of more potential customers.

From embedding search-engine-friendly keywords and target phrases without ruining the flow of the piece, to ensuring users don’t abandon your website and drop your ratings, and even finding the best ways to incorporate backlinks and authority URLs… Copywriters are experts in brand visibility and boosting Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) positioning.

7. Copywriters know every page of your website needs to serve a purpose and how to do it. 

Your blog, “About” page, product descriptions, email marketing, social media, etc., all have a different purpose. If you’re not an expert copywriter (or aren’t hiring an expert copywriter), it can be tricky figuring out the subtle nuances that allow you to write appropriately for each type of copy… Particularly while maintaining that cohesive tone of voice I mentioned earlier.

But why waste your time? Copywriters understand the purpose of each and every different style of copy. They know how to make your “About” page informative, your blog educational, and how to use product descriptions to lead sales. They know what action they want readers to take after every sentence. And they know how to get them there without sacrificing interest, value, or brand identity.

What’s even better… Copywriters know how to convince the reader that it was their idea to take the following action! No pushy sales in sight!

8. Copywriters can balance creativity with conciseness.

A legendary advertiser, David Ogilvy, once said, “if it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

Many writers love the sound of their own (written) voice. But while long, flowing, descriptive paragraphs might make wonderful prose or an excellent novel, they have no place in copywriting.

Expert copywriters know how to balance creativity with conciseness. Meaning they can create engaging and beautiful copy without waffling. They don’t ask readers to invest hours. They get to the point.

But they also create work that’s a joy to read. 

It’s a balancing act.

Copywriting is a balancing act!

9. Copywriters won’t duplicate, repeat, or plagiarise copy.

We all know we shouldn’t steal other people’s work. It’s drilled into us at school when we were punished for copying from our friends or the internet.

Not only does copying copy look lazy and damage your brand’s reputation if anyone finds out, but it also negatively affects your Google rankings. Google despises cheaters and rewards unique content.

But this goes beyond simply copying someone else’s work. Re-writing your own points over and over again without adding anything new can also damage your business. Again, it looks sloppy, readers will get bored, and Google hates it.

With a copywriter on your team, you can be sure of unique content every time!

Even if you have 10 almost-identical products, an expert freelance copywriter will be able to find what makes each item unique. This ensures your readers have something new and exciting to learn at every turn… And it has the lovely side-effect of keeping Google happy!  

10. Copywriters know the line between a sales pitch and persuasive writing. 

I know. The purpose of your business is to sell something. But when was the last time a pushy sales pitch forced you into buying something?

When attempted too forcefully, sales pitches can often have the opposite intended effect and put off potential customers. I know I’ve personally walked away from a company that was trying too hard to force me into a purchase on more than one occasion. If I wanted to buy the product/service, I would.

On the other hand, I’ve definitely been talked into buying a few things I didn’t need! But the difference was all in the pitch, as any copywriter or successful salesperson will be able to tell you.

Copywriting should feel natural, like a conversation between friends. Sure, there’s an agenda, but if you’ve got a good copywriter, the agenda won’t feel harsh (or even be noticeable in some instances). Yet the outcomes will speak for themselves.

Sign positing is essential when convincing your audience to complete a desired action without a hard sales pitch

You’re the expert on your brand; copywriters are the experts on how to share it. 

There’s no doubt about it. You know your business better than anyone else. You’ve done the market research, you developed the product/service, and you know what your goals are. Why shouldn’t you be the one to communicate this?

It’s because you’re too close!

When your business is your baby, it can be tricky to articulate why a customer should be interested. They just should be!

It’s also much too easy to get bogged down by the jargon and abbreviations you use daily. But this will lead to users getting lost, overwhelmed, or alienated.

So, yes, you’re the expert on your brand. But I’m the expert who knows how to take your expertise and share it with the world.

So, if you think it’s time to hire a freelance copywriter and find out what all the fuss is about… Contact me today! Your audience is waiting for you…

Your audience is waiting for you