Who is a copywriter and what is their work like? What can they help you with and what should you pay attention to when choosing a specialist in this field? How to cooperate with a copywriter and what does it take to become one? Read more on PiotrPolok.pl!
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Copywriter – what is it?
It wasn’t incorrect to ask the above question. When referring to a copywriter, people, both on- and offline, ask “what is” instead of “who is”, while a copywriter is a person, not an activity. To answer this question, it’s safe to say that a copywriter is a bit of a psychologist, a consultant, and maybe even a parent. It’s a person who will listen to your needs and requirements, and then describe them in such a way as to fit the audience and search engine guidelines. In short: it’s a specialist who knows how to reach a specific target audience with content.
In this article I’ll focus on online copywriting, often referred to as SEO copywriting, although not all content on the Internet is written for SEO. There are also texts that are designed solely for the user, known as UX writing, including a proper “Lead Magnet” and short call-to-action. They can be promoted in Google Ads or other paid solutions. It all depends on the needs of the text in question, so there’s no need to elaborate here.
How can a copywriter help?
The role of a copywriter is to create good, persuasive content that will engage and encourage a recipient to make a decision.You can use the help of a copywriter for both website content and classic copywriting (flyers, billboards, paper newspapers). A specialist will offer:
- texts for the website and beyond,
- editing and proofreading,
- maintaining a company blog,
- posts for social media,
- scripts for podcasts and recordings,
- content auditing,
- and others – tailored to your needs.
Again, I’ll emphasize that what I’m describing here is the role of a copywriter on the Internet, i.e. in online marketing/digital marketing/online advertising, whatever you want to call it. I mostly work with clients who have online stores or service websites with the need for blog content or offer texts.
The most common texts for online stores are category and product descriptions and blog texts. Blog posts can include: guide articles, ranking articles, comparisons, FAQs, questions and answers – depending on what is needed. Service pages, on the other hand, describe everything that the client wants to reach his audience with.
As a copywriter, I don’t only work with websites, as I also write scripts for podcasts, texts for newsletters, or create blog posts from received videos. Changing the format of the content allows me to reach different audiences, as some listen and others read. You can read more about text types in: “Types of texts in content marketing”. Apart from that, I also do “classic” copywriting, i.e. I prepare texts, support marketing and PR departments or companies that don’t have such departments and need the help of specialists. I also provide marketing consultations.
Copywriter like a journalist
A copywriter resembles a journalist, and the boundaries between these professions become increasingly fluid. Reflecting on my journey, I recall a pivotal moment from my early days in radio. Tasked with writing a script for a program, I created the content and passed it to an experienced editor for review. She glanced at the text and said that I had to make it shorter. Only then did I understand the principle of ‘minimum words, maximum content.’ And thus, although initially my script was 7 sentences long, the editor distilled it to 3 without losing its essence.
It’s the same in copywriting. The practice of waffling or adding unnecessary fluff tends to repel rather than attract your audience. That’s why focusing on the advantages, applications, and possibilities is more effective than using empty phrases like ‘great’ or ‘better than the competition.’ Remember that crafting a good text is not a quick task. It requires proper preparation, like gathering information, reviewing materials provided by the client, creating content, and then refining it through editing.
I know that a text created on the spur of the moment often requires revision or may not resonate well with readers, who are potential customers. When searching for a copywriter to work with, it’s important to consider certain aspects that will facilitate a productive working relationship and mutual understanding between you, the client, and the copywriter.
Tell the copywriter about your needs, and after providing the initial details, let them guide the conversation. I’ve met copywriters who talk to clients as if they are afraid of them, strictly following the guidelines without offering their expertise. Effective copywriting doesn’t work that way. While the client has experience in their industry, they may lack specialized knowledge in copywriting. It’s up to the copywriter to say, ‘This approach may not be optimal, I suggest we try a different strategy for better impact and alignment with best practices in copywriting.
If a copywriter makes further suggestions, then you know you’ve come to the right person. I believe that a copywriter should be open, communicate their feedback, recommendations, and be clear on what to change or exclude.This shows their interest in the cooperation and commitment to it.
When working with a copywriter, especially in the early stages, you’re going to have a lot of questions and concerns, so it’s good to get answers fairly quickly. I’m not saying that a copywriter has to be on call 24/7 (more on the specifics of cooperation later), but if you get an answer after 2 -3 days it can hinder the workflow, especially in situations where you need content urgently.
It’s important to establish clear communication guidelines from the beginning. Emphasize that availability and contact are key for you. As the project progresses, you might find that constant contact isn’t always necessary, or conversely, there may be periods of intense collaboration. There is no rule here, as it all depends on the assignment.
Brief is a document that you should receive from a copywriter. It contains questions about your company, services or products, some more detailed, some general. Receiving such a document shows the professionalism of the person with whom you want to cooperate.
Fill out the brief carefully and provide all the details, even those that you think don’t make sense. The copywriter needs to tell the story of your company/product/service, so leave as much information as possible. If you have past materials that can be used or updated, let them know about it. Chances are, over time, there will be more questions and ambiguities to resolve. This is a normal part of the process and not a cause for concern. The more questions and answers, the better the end result.
In this context, I mean texts that the copywriter has written in the past, which can be provided as examples in formats such as a Word document, a PDF, or a link to a page where the text is published. As a client, you can ask the copywriter to write a sample paid text. This allows you to assess whether the style and form match your needs. It’s common for the copywriter and client to fully align and find their rhythm after a couple of iterations. Even if the initial text doesn’t meet expectations, successful collaborations often develop out of working through these early challenges.
Cooperation with a copywriter
As soon as you’ve chosen a specialist, it’s important to maintain a collaborative relationship. Think of it more as a partnership rather than just outsourcing and forgetting. Treat them similarly to how you would a nutritionist or architect, with whom you stay in regular contact. It’s crucial for the copywriter to fully understand your needs, to communicate with you, and to grasp your vision. The marketing brief, as mentioned earlier, is a valuable tool in this process. Fill out the documents, define your goals and let the specialist act.
You can let them know that you are available, willing to participate in a substantive consultation, and can be relied upon. Even after completing the brief and supplying the necessary materials, you are still the industry expert, and the copywriter may return with questions at any point.
To share my personal approach: once I’m on good terms with a client, I’ve received the completed brief and the necessary materials, I typically don’t contact the client again until it’s time to send over the finished text (unless I have pressing questions).The client receives the finished text and now has time to accept it or make comments.
I don’t work with clients in real-time online or through office meetings, except for marketing consultations or project discussions. What I’m referring to here is the situation where we might meet online to write a text together. I’ve tried this approach in the past and found it to be one of the less effective methods of collaboration.
How does a copywriter work?
When a copywriter commits to delivering text by Tuesday, they typically mean anytime up until 11:59 p.m., unless a specific time has been agreed upon. It’s important to allow flexibility within this timeframe, and usually, if any delays occur, the copywriter will inform you. While I can’t speak for everyone, this approach is generally how it should be.
Everyone’s work style is different, varying based on personal preference, the nature of the tasks, and individual capabilities. Personally, I try not to work within a strict 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule. There are days when my writing spark is low, and I might only work for an hour, lying on the couch, jotting down a stream of thoughts – the first, unrefined stage of my writing.
Then, there are days I start at 8:00 a.m., handling a lot of texts, responding to emails, and coordinating with my team. Research for an article can be done from anywhere, but crafting the final text requires the right conditions and focus. When I’m in serious work mode, I prefer working at a desk rather than on a couch or hammock, as it helps me stay focused.
I use the “Pomodoro” technique in my work. It involves working on a task for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break, and then another 25-minute work session. Using this technique allows you to complete the task much faster, as it creates a sense of urgency and minimizes distractions. What’s more, you might find tasks that previously took an hour are now completed in 25 minutes or less, simply because the technique helps in managing time more effectively.
How to become a copywriter?
Finally, let’s address the question often asked by people thinking about working in copywriting, Internet marketing, and advertising. While there is no one perfect solution, I can suggest two possibilities.The first is the self-taught route, which involves starting your own blog, and dedicating yourself to constant writing, taking readers’ criticism and continuing to write. This way, you will not only test your skills, but most importantly you will find out if it’s the right path to follow.
Creating content may seem straightforward and enjoyable at first glance. In reality, it’s a demanding task, requiring thorough research, proofreading and tailoring the message to the audience. The final version of the text never looks like the first draft, and some content may take days to develop. There are even situations where, after the article is handed over, it will still be polished for a long time.
The second solution is an internship at an advertising or content agency. In the right environment, you will be mentored by specialists who will guide you through the practical aspects of the work. Rather than focusing solely on theory (though that’s part of it too), you’ll engage with real-life projects. You’ll write texts, make mistakes, and receive direct feedback from experts who will point out what’s wrong and how to improve. You will work until you become proficient.