Merriam-Webster defines a copywriter as “a writer of advertising or publicity copy.” While this definition is accurate, it only scratches the surface of what a copywriter is or what a copywriter does. Copywriters write copy, which is essentially every word you see, all the time. An advertisement? Copy. A three-word tagline? Copy. A 30-page thesis? Copy. Your favorite blog? Copy.
Copy is everywhere.
But in a world saturated with advertisements, blog articles, and online content, copywriters disappear. They become a silent, unseen force behind everything we read. Good copy and the copywriters that create it often go unnoticed, because good copy delivers its message without also revealing its mechanics.
In a conversation with pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim about the differences between musicians and actors, award-winning actor Christoph Waltz said about acting:
“Take yourself out of the way so that the actual character that you’re supposed to be playing, which was created by a writer, can take place in the true sense of the word.”
This goes for copywriting as well. A good copywriter gets out of the way, careful to leave nothing in the spotlight but the message being communicated.
In the same conversation, Waltz states:
“… everybody uses words all the time, so words are familiar, and that’s very misleading.”
He’s exactly right. Words are tricky little things because they feel so familiar. This is why everyone, every business, can benefit from using a copywriter or copyeditor, professionals who are not only familiar with words but spend their careers working to understand their mechanics and how to use them appropriately and precisely to reach a desired outcome or response.
Do you need a copywriter for every email you send out? Of course not. But if you need web copy, if you’re sending an important newsletter to clients, or you’re working on a new advertising campaign, then a copywriter is going to be your best friend. When a copywriter writes, they consider the text from every angle. They think about the content’s purpose and its audience to create the right tone, to use the right language, and to deliver a message that is true to their client and their client’s needs. This involves considering syntax, readability, word choice, and so much more. No stone is left unturned.
In other words, a copywriter can be the difference between a website and a converting website, an ad campaign and a successful ad campaign, or marketing and memorable marketing.