“That’s great,” they replied enthusiastically. “Erm…what exactly is that again?”
I made the mistake of assuming everyone knows what a copywriter is and does. Also not to be confused with a copyrighter which is entirely different.
It made sense to me. I’ve worked in marketing for many years, so I’ve written copy, I’ve requested it from agencies, I’ve used the words “copy”, “copywriter” and “content” as part of my daily vocabulary at work. Not so for everyone outside the world of marketing. Okay, so copywriting isn’t a complex technical term. It’s not even marketing-specific jargon, but the fact that my friends weren’t entirely sure what it meant suggested that perhaps other people might not know either. I hadn’t expected that.
Consult a dictionary and you’ll see the following definition:
Cop-y-writ-er / [kop-ee-rahy-ter]
A writer of copy, especially for advertisements or publicity releases
A person employed to write advertising copy
Okay, that’s kind of it. But, for the uninitiated, it doesn’t explain what ‘copy’ means. So here’s how the dictionary describes that:
Cop-y / [kop-ee]
Written matter intended to be reproduced in printed format
The text of a news story, advertisement, television commercial, etc as distinguished from related visual material
That’s all very well but I can’t recite dictionary definitions to friends or colleagues when they ask what I do for a living! So, I found myself in the infamous ‘elevator pitch’ situation. My challenge….describe what I meant by ‘Freelance Copywriter’ simply, without jargon or fluff, in no longer than the time it takes to catch a lift up to the fifth floor. So, this is what it means to me, and how I put it to them….
As a copywriter I help companies find the right words to communicate with their customers or staff. This is usually by writing things like web pages, emails, newsletters and brochures. Being freelance means companies just hire me when they need me.
That seemed to make sense to my friends so hopefully, if you didn’t already know what it’s all about, then you do now too. As to the great reasons for using a freelancer, well that’s another topic, but for now at least we’re all on the same page.