Copywriters Are Great Spellers! This and Other Myths About What We Do.
You're in a conversation and the topic turns to careers:
"So what do you do for a living."
"I own a Freelance Copywriting and Creative Content business."
"Oh wow! So you can help me get a patent for an invention?"
"No, that's patenting. I write copy."
"Oh, so you mean like logos or brand names?"
"No, that's trademarking. I write copy for websites and email campaigns."
"My brother has a band and needs to get his music published. Can you help with that?"
"No, that's a music publisher. I literally write the words you see on a website page or a blog...or the words you read in a sales email."
"So you spell good?"
It turns out there's a lot of confusion about what copywriting is and what we do. How can a small business owner figure out if they need our services if they can't figure out what we actually offer?
Let's see if I can break it down for you:
COPYWRITING & CONTENT/COPYEDITING/PROOFREADING 101-What Are They and How Are They Different?
While there will be some overlap, each of these titles has a different job to do. The focus varies from one position to the other, and all work hand in hand to get a create a professional piece of copy.
Let's start with Proofreading.
What is a Proofreader?
Proofreaders handle the last minor details of written copy. They are most often the final set of eyes before it's sent out for the world to see.
Proofreaders check for typos and capitalization errors. They make sure there aren't any strange line breaks in a paragraph. They make certain captions are correct in any images you might use. They even check for page number errors. And they do it in a timely fashion since there's usually a deadline to hit.
Proofreaders handle all the small details that can make a big difference in a reader's mind. Does it sound polished and professional or does it come across sloppy? A proofreader will make certain those details aren't missed.
But Isn't That a Copyeditor?
Yes...sort of...but no, not really.
Let me clear things up a bit.
Copyeditors can and DO some of the things a proofreader do, but they handle so much more. Copyeditors are the ones most people refer to as grammar tyrants. They check for spelling and grammatical errors. They fix sentence structure and edit out duplicate words. They make certain the writing is being done in active rather than passive voice. Did you use an apostrophe in a word when you shouldn't have? A copyeditor likely noticed it before you finished writing it out.
Copyeditors also handle things like fact-checking, cutting out jargon and fixing run-on sentences. They sometimes rewrite sections to make certain the voice or theme of the copy stays on target. Often they select images to go along with copy and make certain SEO keywords and phrases are in place. They are the go-between with copywriting and proofreading.
So What Does A Copywriter Do???
Copywriters are the "artists" when it comes to writing for your business. They see the big picture of what your writing is trying to say. They take a creative approach to writing and tap into the mind of the consumer/reader.
Copywriters spend HOURS in front of their computers doing research for their topics. They do this so they can master the 'voice' of the business or product they are writing about. They thrive under deadline pressure, and can switch from one client to another with ease.
Copywriters have the ability to create attention headlines. They make complicated topics easy to understand. They use language that's both approachable and emotion-driven.
Copywriters write with one purpose...to target niche audiences. They write in efficient and effective styles to deliver a strong selling message. Copywriters give a human element to your sales and marketing copy. They aren't as concerned with the technical aspects of writing. They CAN be technical with writing, but their focus is on telling the story.
Copywriters (at least the seasoned professionals) don't get insulted if there are edits. After spending hours crafting a well-written piece of copy, it's welcomed. The fresh eyes of a copyeditor or proofreader can handle the details. The copywriter is there to provide the main components.
So Copywriting Is Only About Sales Writing?
Copywriters DO focus on sales materials and copy meant to convert. But there are many times when they also take on CONTENT CREATION.
How Is That Different Than the Material They Write For Sales?
Content creation is a strategic marketing style designed to build brand awareness. It can come in the form of a value email or a blog post offering tips, tricks, and educational pieces (like our Wordpour blog). It's still on brand, still consistent in its voice, and still creative. But it delivers relevant content and valuable insights without pushing for a sale. It's a gift to the reader without any strings attached. It's used to establish a business or brand as an expert in their field and to make themselves more memorable. The skills needed for copy content are every bit as important as those for sales. It needs to be polished, professional, and precise.
All three positions are so very important to the sales and marketing success of a business. That's why it's also so VERY IMPORTANT you know the differences. Make certain if you hire a professional, they either can do all the tasks for each job, or they have a team to handle it. Know which questions to ask before having someone tackle your writing. You need to make sure you have the right person for the right task.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to explain to my musician friend I can't publish his music lyrics...even for a hefty cut of the royalties.
Sheral~Owner/Founder of C3 Specialties