Copywriters Do Lots of Stuff!
As it turns out, there are still plenty of people out there who aren’t completely sure what commercial writers can do for their businesses. I’ll let you in on a little secret: we do lots of stuff. Most of it goes by without remark, sneaking its way into the subconscious of your audience, until a comma is out of place or a word is misspelled. But such is the life as a member of the business support industry. The partners of many successful companies, copywriters are more than happy to play second fiddle while your customers dance.
So, let’s get to the party!
Types of Commercial Writers
Most people know what a reporter does and pretty much all the tropes about novelists, but fewer are well-versed in our world. Let me show you around.
First, a few definitions.
- Copywriter. A commercial writer who wears a lot of hats and has sales writing/persuasive writing in their background. Many journalists have also made the transition since the newspaper industry contracted.
- Content Writer. A writer who focuses mainly on content that’s not necessarily persuasive. A copywriter can act as a content writer, but it’s not as common the other way around. Content writers might also produce blogs or product descriptions.
- Ghost Writer. A writer who writes on your behalf. They’ll put your thoughts on paper, arrange them nicely and then hand them to you to publish. You will be the author of record, and your ghostwriter gets a nice payday.
Now, a list of things your commercial writer could be doing for you (if they’re not, fire them and hire us):
- Help brainstorm content ideas. If your commercial writer is any sort of content expert, they’re going to have written a lot about your subject area. Take advantage of this and have them help with the content development process.
- Build creative briefs. A creative brief is nothing more than a description of a piece of content and who it’s meant to be written for. Most of us have these on our desk piling up throughout the month as we work feverishly to get the orders fulfilled.
- Construct editorial calendars. Your publication timetables work better if they’re planned, rather than being some random accident of nature. Your writer knows what they already have going on and can help you plan content accordingly, both for topics and for timeliness.
- Proofread and polish your memos and official emails. Have a particularly important memo or email that needs to go out? Run it by your writer. Even if they’re not copyeditors, they can probably help you play “find the misplaced comma.”
- Write emails that sell. Emails. So many emails. Most of them even convert decently.
- Alert the press with press releases. If your copywriter can’t master the lowly press release, it’s a bad day for them. It’s not like you need a lot, but when you do, they need to catch the eye of the media and the business community.
- Create custom content for your site. Custom content is what keeps audiences coming back for more and differentiates you from the competition. Remember, it’s a global world out there, which means we all have twins in other countries that we have to manage to stand out among.
- Keep you ahead of your social media accounts. Social media is the great Sisyphean task in marketing. You no more get caught up on all your comments when 40 more appear on the screen. Luckily, you can set your copywriters on these things, including updates to your accounts.
- Put together longer-form content. E-books, white papers, case studies and their ilk don’t just happen by chance, nor do they happen overnight. But your copywriter didn’t go into this job to back away from a challenge.
There are specialty commercial writers who do things like write commercials (I wish that was a joke). These guys are gold, too. That’s a hard job right there. But, in general, your commercial writers should be able to pull off all or most of what’s on this list.
The best copywriters are, not surprisingly, those with the most experience. This means that what you’d expect out of me, with 23 years of writing for The Man under my belt, is very different than what you should expect out of your low-dollar commercial writer with only a couple years of experience to show. Everyone has to learn somewhere; there’s no fault in that.
But you should temper your expectations as the per-word rate drops further and further. Unless you have some kind of stellar relationship or blackmail materials on someone with more experience, you have to pay to play.
There’s nothing wrong with buying cheap copy. You just need to lower your expectations. There’s nothing wrong with buying premium copy. Just realize those writers have spent most of their lives perfecting their skills.
HEY, LOOK OVER HERE! A CTA!
I started dramatically pointing out the calls to action as a dumb joke a few weeks ago (mostly to annoy my editor), I think it’s now a running gag that I can’t let go of. But seriously, here’s a call to action.
At In The Cloud Copy, we’re pounding out premium copy at mid-market rates. That means more conversions and more clicks for less money without compromising style and skill.