What Does a Copywriter Do?

Sue Davison

May 21, 2024

What Does a Copywriter Do?

If you're a small business owner handling your own marketing, you might be thinking about hiring a copywriter. However, you might also be unsure about what a copywriter does and whether their expertise is a worthwhile investment for your business. 

You're not alone. I get a lot of confused reactions when I tell people I'm a copywriter, including, "Oh, can you help me protect my intellectual property?" – nope, that's copyright. And, "Umm. What exactly do you copy?". 

Let's clear up a few of the grey areas about what a copywriter does and how they can help your business so that you can make an informed decision about hiring one. 

The article provides an overview of the following:

  • What a copywriter is

  • What the copywriting process involves

  • The different types of copywriting

  • The benefits of hiring a copywriter

  • The difference between a copywriter and a content writer

  • Freelance copywriters vs copywriting agencies

  • Copywriting rates

  • The types of copywriting that we offer at Full Height Copy.

What is a copywriter?

A copywriter writes copy – the text used to sell products and services in marketing and advertising. Copywriting has been around for a long time, with evidence of early forms of written advertisements from the late 1400s. It became a full-time profession in the 19th century. Today, copywriters craft sales copy for print, TV, radio and digital marketing channels. 

What does the copywriting process involve?

The goal of copywriting is to produce sales materials that engage, convince, inspire and inform the reader or listener, encouraging them to:

  • Buy a product 

  • Buy a service

  • Take a desired action (e.g., signing up for a newsletter, making a sales enquiry, booking a demonstration, visiting a website or shop).

Achieving this requires a lot more work than writing a few words. Here are some of the core tasks and responsibilities involved in a copywriting project:

  • Creating a brief – a document outlining the client's company, products and services, target audience and project requirements. 

  • Brainstorming and concept creation – formulating initial advertising or marketing campaign ideas, often in partnership with a graphic designer.

  • Research – developing a deep understanding of the client's industry, place in the market, competitors, products and services and target audiences.

  • Brand voice – helping the client develop its brand's personality through the language and tone used to communicate with prospects.

  • Audits of the company website, blog or previous ad campaigns to identify areas for improvement. 

  • Omnichannel copywriting – adapting campaign copy to suit a range of formats, digital channels and media. 

  • Working in partnership with/project managing other marketing professionals, such as web designers, web developers and graphic designers. 

  • Understanding search engine optimisation (SEO) – how to write for search engines.

  • Drafting, editing and revisions – with client and senior editor inputs. 

  • Analysing campaign results using comprehensive software and human assessment to inform future campaign strategies. 

What are the different types of copywriting?

Copywriters craft words that sell across all types of marketing media, including the following:

  • Print marketing – ads, brochures, direct mail, flyers, sales letters, trade show displays and billboards.

  • Audio-visuals – scripts for TV, radio and video; and business presentation materials.

  • Digital marketing – websites, landing pages, lead magnets, email marketing and PPC ads.

  • Ghost-writing – writing material for others, such as biographies, blog posts, articles and novels, without taking the credit.

  • Public relations – Press releases, press packs, feature articles, editorials, speeches, intranet copy and staff handouts.

What Does a Copywriter Do?

What are the benefits of hiring a copywriter?

The benefits that follow are generic. If you are considering hiring a website copywriter, read The Benefits of Hiring a Website Copywriter for a solid overview. 

Save time

Hiring a copywriter frees you up to focus on running your business. A skilled copywriter is also well-practised and will have honed efficient and effective working systems. 

Save money

On the face of it, freelancer or agency project fees are likely to be higher than the hourly rate that you might consider paying your administrator or junior staff member to produce your copy. However, when you factor in expertise, efficiency, sick leave, holiday pay, pensions, and the impact of resourcing on other core business areas, outsourcing your copywriting to a reputable freelancer or agency is usually the most cost-effective choice.

Improve marketing campaign effectiveness

A copywriter has in-depth knowledge of the things that make copy and marketing campaigns work, such as:

  • The psychology of persuasive writing

  • The role of other creatives and how to work in partnership with them

  • Research approach

  • Targeting

  • Brand tone of voice

  • Communicating your unique selling point and product or service benefits

  • The buyer's journey – when to educate vs when to sell

  • Identifying and alleviating customer pain points

  • How to write for different marketing channels

  • Which channels and approaches are most effective for your target audience

  • Search engine optimisation

  • Conversion optimisation

  • Campaign measurement.

Show up consistently

When it comes to building brand awareness, trust and authority, consistency is key. However, that can be hard to achieve when copywriting is just one of the many tasks you do within your business. Other pressing matters take priority, and marketing creeps down the list. When you pay a copywriter to update your website weekly or write and schedule social media ads or email newsletters, you know the work will happen routinely and to a high standard, keeping your brand top of mind. 

Fresh (and informed) perspective

A seasoned copywriter will have significant experience across multiple industries. They will have encountered a diverse range of challenges and have a deep understanding of campaign success. They will also be able to look at your marketing objectively – from a distance – and put themselves in your customers' shoes. With their extensive knowledge and outside perspective, a copywriter will likely raise new considerations and options that can elevate your marketing efforts. 

What is the difference between a copywriter and a content writer?

A copywriter crafts sales copy that is designed to persuade the reader to take a desired sales action. A content writer writes to inform, educate or entertain. Regarding digital marketing, a copywriter will write website sales and landing pages, paid ads and direct mail. Content writers write things like blog posts, ebooks, white papers, and podcast and video scripts that aren't designed to sell directly. At FHC, we have both website copywriters and content writers in the team. It is also fair to say that many copywriters are also skilled content writers, but don't assume that to be the case. 

B2B vs B2C copywriters

Business-to-business (B2B) copywriters write for companies that sell goods and services to other companies. Business-to-consumer copywriters write for companies that sell products or services to the end consumer for personal use. Writing for B2B and B2C audiences requires different approaches. Some copywriters are skilled in both methods, while others specialise in one or the other. 

Freelance copywriters vs copywriting agencies

Many freelance copywriters offer generalist services that cover all types of copywriting. Others specialise in one aspect of copywriting or write for a specific industry. A copywriting agency may also specialise in a particular type of copywriting or industry, but rather than having a team of generalists, they will have a range of copywriters with specific skill sets, such as PPC copywriters, SEO copywriters, press release writers, and email marketing copywriters. An agency will have the capacity to turn projects around quickly and take on high volumes of work.

How much do copywriters charge?

Prices vary widely. Some inexperienced freelancers offer services for as low as £15 per hour. At the same time, experienced copywriters and agencies can charge upwards of £50 - £100 per hour in the UK. According to the ProCopywriters Survey 2023, a generic copywriter's average day rate is £433

What type of copywriting does Full Height Copy offer?

I first launched Full Height Copy as a generalist copywriting service. After a few years, I recognised that specialising in one area of copywriting would allow me to offer more value and better results for my clients. So, FHC evolved from a one-woman generalist copywriter to a specialist website copywriting and content marketing team. We work on one-off projects and long-term campaigns, offering writing-only or complete campaign management. 

Our core services include:

We also offer: 

  • Website audits to help our clients make effective decisions about their website direction, improvements and priorities.

  • Small business website packages a one-stop service for new businesses that need an affordable solution to building an online presence. 

Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of what a copywriter does. No, we don't safeguard intellectual property or copy anything. We use well-honed skills to craft clear words that compel, persuade, inform and engage. 

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