One of the least well-known (and sometimes underrated) positions in the writing department is that of being a copywriter. If you were to ask a random person if they knew what a copywriter was, eight times out of ten they would answer in the negative. The other two times they would give out the wrong definition. Despite the fact that anybody who has ever been on the internet has seen a copywriter’s work every time they open up a website, very few people seem to know what they actually are, and out of the few people who do know what their job is, even less truly appreciate how impactful they can be.
A loose definition of a copywriter is a person who writes to get people to act. The most well-known copywriters are the ones who do advertising, although there are some who also do medical copywriting as well. The understood difference between copywriting and content writing, is the one who does content writes to inform, not to call into action. But just because one is a copywriter does not mean they don’t know how to write an article though, so it’s not that uncommon to see companies that have people who do both jobs at the same time. So now that you know what a copywriter is, how does this help you?
Though ad copywriters don’t write a lot, their line of work is not as easy as most think.
Well if you want your business to succeed, you should definitely consider getting one. In today’s society, a business that does not let itself be known on the digital landscape will fall behind the rest, if not fail altogether. Most, if not all, of your targeted customers are likely to be online at some point within the day, and you want to have that person go to your business for their needs. Copywriters know how to get the message you want to be heard across, and they do it in a way that makes your target audience want to take action. But how do you know if a copywriter is skilled or not? Here are some things that will let you know if a copywriter is up to snuff:
1. Great interviewer and researcher
In the best-case scenario, a copywriter would also be an expert in the field that he copywrites for. If this were to happen, then all the writer would need to do would be to rely on his vast amount of knowledge on the subject, and he would easily be able to write a compelling and impactful copy. But about 99% percent of the time, this won’t happen. Copywriters won’t work for a single client or focus on a single industry forever.
They usually move from one to another in a span of a few weeks at most, and thus they need to be able to gain some knowledge about the subject in a short amount of time. Simply doing research on search engines won’t cut it sometimes, and copywriters will need to ask some professionals with real experience in order to get what they need to know.
2. Never stops reading
When we say “never stops reading,” we don’t mean they stay up most of the night reading novels. A top-tier copywriter will need to keep up on the latest trends on the industry. This means that they will always be seeking to improve their craft, as they don’t want to be left behind. In line with this, good copywriters usually read up on publications like Advertising Age and AdWeek, to see what the current trends are and how they are able to apply it to their own style. Resting on their laurels means getting out of touch, which can be fatal to their writing skills. Another obvious boon to reading is improving their skills with the English language, which is always a good thing.
3. Knows who the target audience is
Just because a copywriter knows whom they’re writing for does not mean they know the audience. One thing that great copywriters keep in mind is that in order to convince people to take action, they need to familiarize themselves to the audience. They learn the kind of language the audience uses, how they use it, and how they think. Basically, good copywriters know that in order to write a high-quality copy, they need to understand what the intended audience thinks, says, and looks for. If this isn’t done, no matter how well written the copy, it will still go over the audience’s head.
4. Knows that help is always needed
Despite the fact writing is mostly a solitary activity, a good copywriter will know when he needs to ask for assistance. All professional writers know that no writer became skilled through their efforts alone. It is always through learning from others in their same line of work that they were able to polish their writing to the point they can do the things they are able to do today. And no matter how skilled a copywriter becomes, the people who have taught him will always be within reach to him. Most great copywriters will have mentors who constantly push them so they can be the very best writer they can possibly be.
Copywriters also need to sharpen their skills constantly to not get left behind.
5. Hungers for knowledge, but knows where to stop
Although good copywriters know how to conduct the necessary research and interviews for their copy, if they do not have the thirst for knowledge, it wouldn’t be sustainable. However, being overzealous in their search for more knowledge can also be a bad thing. When copywriters get too wrapped up in their learning, they forget to look at the bigger picture. This will result in a sub-standard copy that will fail to impact their intended audience. That is why great copywriters know to get all the needed information for their copy, but nothing more. This is also because considering the time constraints, it isn’t efficient to try to become an expert in every field they need to write copies for.
6. Knows when to speak up
Although all copywriters should be open to feedback, they also need to defend what they wrote when the situation calls for it. This could be something as seemingly small as word-choice, or something as impactful as the general direction of the copy. The thing that great copywriters remember here is that they do this not to be combative, but in order to be able to properly express and explain why they did what they did. The truth is, editors and clients aren’t always right, and good copywriters will know when they should speak up, and when they should accept the criticism, and alter their copy accordingly.
7. Takes criticism in stride, but knows when to back down
Some people have said that writing is similar to creating something from nothing. That is why some copywriters will defend their copy seemingly until their dying breath, as changing their copy in a way that isn’t in line with their style of writing is hard to do. However, always rejecting feedback and criticism limits a writer’s growth, and sometimes copywriters simply need to do what is needed. Good copywriters know when to believe in their writing, but they also understand that what they think is best may not be what is best for the client.