Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

6 Reasons Why You Need a Copywriter

with 9 comments

I usually lean my posts towards writing tips or linguistic issues I find interesting. This time, however, I’d like to address an issue that comes up now and again in businesses promotions across the globe: Do we need a copywriter?

Here are six reasons you do.

First, let me tell you what a copywriter does. It has nothing to do with registering stuff with the patent office or rights of fair use. That’s copyright.

A copywriter creates text, called “copy,” for ads, web sites, direct mail, sales brochures, executive speeches and so on. Often companies will have an in-house copywriter or they’ll work with copywriters at an ad agency to draft all official communications. Almost every piece of advertising or sales material you read was written by a professional copywriter.

OK, so a copywriter writes the copy for ads and sales brochures … why can’t I do that?

Before you or your company dive in to writing your own promotions, think about these reasons you probably should hire a professional:

  1. You don’t have time
    If you’re good at what you do, do it, and let someone who’s good at copywriting do that for you. You’ve got enough to do with your own job, and you’ll be more productive and effective if you focus on that.
  2. Copywriting isn’t just writing
    Copywriting isn’t just knowing the definition of a gerund and putting grammatical sentences together. It’s drafting compelling copy that gets people’s attention, distilling product features into benefits people care about, and knowing your audience and company well enough to create the tone, voice and message that achieves your goals. Which leads me to …
  3. Copywriting is a studied skill
    Copywriters keep up on industry and advertising trends, new technology, and changes in the customer base to keep writing effective, sales-driving copy. They continually hone their writing skills so they can write copy that will make you money. Like playing an instrument, writing effective pieces takes practice and effort.
  4. Good copy can increase your returns
    Plain and simple – a really well written piece can make you more money. Direct mail companies can easily pay a copywriter thousands of dollars to write a single sales letter. They only do that because they know they’ll get more response and more profits when it’s written by a professional.
  5. Copywriting needn’t be expensive
    You don’t need a million-dollar marketing budget to get good copywriting. There are plenty of great freelancers who’ll work with you on single projects or on an ongoing basis. Just do a search online and you’ll find more than you can count, many of whom will give you a free quote for any projects you had in mind.
  6. A good copywriter offers an outside perspective
    You know your product better than anyone else. But a copywriter will look at your product with no prior knowledge. And that’s a good thing.

    One of the most common mistakes I see in marketing is when the people doing the promotions are too close to the product. When that happens, the promotions often don’t communicate the real benefit to the customer because they were written from the point of view of the seller.

    A copywriter can take that internal jargon and translate it into the benefits to your customers.

The bottom line is that good copywriters are experts in using words to earn you money.

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Written by Nathanael Green

September 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

9 Responses

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  1. All interesting points, Matt. I especially liked that last about everyone needing someone who has a little distance from the product in order to write about it.

    And I don’t think I’ll admit just here how recently it was that I realized thate copywriting and copyrighting weren’t actually all that related.

    Seana

    September 3, 2009 at 1:38 am

    • Seana, it sounds like maybe copywriting might make an appearance at your blog? ;-)

      Nathanael Green

      September 3, 2009 at 10:32 pm

      • You know, that is a good idea. Thanks!

        Seana

        September 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm

  2. Nate,

    Good points. I know I’ve told you this before, so you’re probably sick of hearing it, but you should check out the show Mad Men. It’s a great show that’s about advertising, and a whole hell of a lot more.

    Then again, after spending a day at the office doing this, you might not be that interested in watching a show about advertising. I myself tend to stay away from lawyer-related shows.

    Brian O'Rourke

    September 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    • I’ve heard that Mad Men is really good, though I’ve never seen it. I’m not sure how I feel about spending my evenings watching a show about advertising – it might be a bit much. Though I’m sure the conflict and intrigue is much more about their lives than the actual business.

      I think it’d be tough to make an interesting show that focuses on the day-to-day of advertising: “Oooh … this week, the copywriter sits in a quiet office and types for 6 hours again!”

      Nathanael Green

      September 3, 2009 at 10:37 pm

      • I expect that it would all revolve around what happens around the water cooler.

        Seana

        September 3, 2009 at 10:46 pm

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