No, I don’t do Copyright law.
No, I’m not Don Draper.
I can’t fault most people, I had my own questions and preconceived notions about what a copywriter did before I jumped into the deep, dark abyss of writing in advertising. It seems after so many years in this particular position (senior copywriter) my friends have just now had enough chutzpah to ask me what exactly it is that I do.
So, let’s break it down, because I’m always excited to share what I do.
What is a copywriter?
- When you open an email from a company, have you ever considered who wrote it?
- How about that billboard that caught your eye? Who wrote that?
- What about that website you looked up that kept you scrolling and scrolling? Often it wasn’t the design necessarily, but the words. Who came up with that message?
- Remember the conference call you joined early and listened to the call-in information? Someone wrote that script.
- Those hysterical Super Bowl commercials? What position in the ad agency wrote it?
- You know that piece of mail that caught your eye as you were sifting through envelopes into the “toss” and “keep” pile? Those words caught your attention, didn’t they?
A copywriter wrote that.
That’s what I do. There’s, quite literally, a science to it. Garnering attention, influencing desire and getting you to act. Ohhhh, in about 2 seconds.
Why did I not know this in high school when I was looking for dates to the dance?
This isn’t just specifically for selling things you don’t need either, as I’m sure most of you imagine. It can include writing a compelling story about trafficking victims to help with donations or creating an attention-grabbing headline about the importance of spay and neutering your pets or even writing an email for your boss who needs to terminate someone (not joking). There’s a copy technique to writing that is often overlooked by readers. And you know what? That means it’s good copy.
My favorite projects usually involve ad scripts (for television or radio), punny headlines, witty, well-written emails and naming products. Currently, I’m working on a tight deadline to come up with the name of new building downtown. It’s a big project, not only for our agency, but also for the city. The developers paid $25+ million for the land!
No pressure. I’ve got this.
I find I write my best when I’m away from my desk and the father of advertising, David Ogilvy, said the same thing too. Some of my best pieces were written on a plane, on Sunday mornings in my writing nook and as cliché as it sounds, in a coffee shop. You can find inspiration anywhere, and sometimes it’s not at your desk.
So there ya’ go, kiddos. You’ve been learned!