For me to properly explain what I do as a copywriter, let’s start with a simple definition of what copywriting is.
Copywriting is the simple process of writing promotional materials and copywriters are responsible for the text on brochures, billboards, websites, emails, advertisements, catalogues etc.
Unlike news or editorial writing, the soul of copywriting is getting the attention of the reader. You may also think that copywriting is simply writing copy for companies, but it’s more specific than that. Copywriting is all about creating interesting content, which means that copywriters are responsible for generating the words, slogans and audio scripts that accompany advertising visuals.
In my years of being a broadcaster and media expert, I think I have an idea of what makes a good copywriter, especially when it’s merged with another branch of creativity like Public Relations (PR).
PR is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public. PR may also include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items.
PR is usually called the Persuasion Business; one in which you’re trying to convince an audience, inside and outside your usual sphere of influence to promote your idea, support your position or recognize your accomplishments and this is why PR people are storytellers. They are always creating narratives to advance their agenda therefore PR can be used to protect, enhance| build reputations through the media, social media, or self-produced communications.
This union of Copywriting and PR, for me personally, is a marriage made in heaven. While copywriting is creative on its own and its purpose, to make the reader yearn for more, want to try that which you speak or write about; PR is image shaping. It analyses and generates messages into positive publicity for clients, at the same time enhancing their reputation.
Now the question here would be: What makes a good copywriter?
For me, it would be all about the mindset. Copywriters focus on the reader. This then begs the question: Aren’t all writers focused on the reader? Not really.you’ll be amazed how easily writers flounder.
Great copywriters write about what their readers care about and this takes arduous planning. You also must be meticulous about the actual words you use, but it’s important to know that the best writers focus their copy on their readers and not themselves.
They’re always focused on learning more. Good copywriters never stop improving. They read books on copywriting and marketing.
Good copywriters aren’t fighting tooth and nail to defend every idea they have. They’re always looking for feedback and that could mean they show their first draft to a friend to see if it’s interesting. I do that a lot. It might also mean reaching out to clients directly for their take. I also do that. Good copywriters know that getting feedback on their early first drafts helps their writing improve by 10x or even 100x. They see feedback, not as criticism, but an opportunity to improve their work.
Bring your idea to life with specifics.
A Vague copy might as well not exist. It doesn’t get people excited or even keep them reading. People picture copy the wrong way. Making the common mistake of using big words, hoping people would wow over it, is a sure way to do just that. Do not be afraid to fail and it’s okay to make mistakes; after all, that’s how you learn, isn’t it?
Creative copywriters mainly deliver the words and verbal content that accompanies the visual elements. The typical creative process of a creative copywriter can involve discussing the client’s core message and target audience, brainstorming visual and copy ideas with other members of the creative team, writing and presenting a few options to clients, modifying copy until the client is satisfied.
Clear communication is the key to effective copy. Use common spelling, avoid hyperbole, be natural when you write, write with nouns and verbs, revise and rewrite, Do not overwrite nor overstate and simplify your language.
So what does it take to be a better copywriter? When I first started writing copy, I did it as a sounding board to one of my closest friends who sought me out for the clarity of words and making sure the words ‘read’ properly. It felt like a teacher who was grading her students. It was a delightful experience and an appealing challenge; better still, I had the time, after having had another baby and I was in a place where I was ready to do different things from just the core broadcast spectrum of my life. For me, its exhilarating to be able to weave words together to create a clear picture so vivid, the reader could actually see it for what it was.
Thus began my career as a member of a remote PR workforce: a marriage between content, copywriting and PR. It’s a career that many other media professionals had partaken in.
The majority of what I do is actually quite suited for a flexible work schedule.
This COVID-19 pandemic period especially, I’ve come to realise how much PR has grown and evolved, so much that skills like content writing, social media monitoring and search engine optimization have all become an integral part of PR campaigns, all of which can effectively be done remotely.
Technology has also allowed me to feel connected to both clients and teammates in the office. I’m on Slack and Meet constantly and have used emails and WhatsApp quite frequently to add a more personal touch to work communication that needs to be done.
In fact, I would argue that working remotely has made me even more effective through the use of these communication tools which culminate into more interactive and adaptive work processes built on immediate brainstorming and the ability to edit and comment in real-time with other team members.
Still, PR is based on relationship building. Most days, I’m surrounded by solitude especially when my children are not home and the dogs are calm, its largely calm but that tranquillity lends itself well to thoughtfulness, which comes in handy when writing an in-depth piece.
Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, I can honestly say the benefits far outweigh the setbacks. However, I must say that working remotely may not be for everyone. It takes concentration and willpower to focus and not let the ‘outside’ distractions of home and family become overwhelming.
Besides with the advent of a new way of doing business, no thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has become effortless to bolster connections. Afterall connections are the foundations of all public relations, no matter the ambit.