It’s 11PM on a Friday night and a friend of a friend just showed up at the bar. He innocently asks, “What do you do?” You suppress a groan and explain that you’re a copywriter, and then the inevitable question follows: “So what does a copywriter do?”
If you’re a copywriter, this scene will sound frustratingly familiar. And if you’ve posed this question to your copywriting friends, well, now is your chance to better understand what copywriters actually do all day (and hopefully avoid more painfully awkward encounters with copywriters).
Sorry, They Can’t Help You Copyright Anything ©
Let’s start off with the basics. First things first, copywriters know nothing about copyright law. Sure, some of them wish they did because, let’s be real, there’s money to be made, but unfortunately copyright law is an entirely different beast. Point being, don’t ak your copywriter friends to help protect your latest rap single or your one-woman comedy show.
They Can’t Help With Your Novel Either
While the title copywriter does have the word “writer” in it, these roles are not interchangable. Copywriters are not the ones behind your favorite novel or poem, so you’re unlikely to find their names embezzled on colourful spines at your local bookstore. They aren’t to be confused with journalists either, so you’ll want to avoid asking them what magazine or newspaper they write for.
So What Do They Do?
While they may not be writing the great American novel, writing is a big part of a copywriter’s role. At its very core, a copywriter is someone who writes the text of advertisements or other marketing materials. In short, they’re the ones behind the text, or rather “copy,” you see on print ads, billboards, websites, and more.
Though writing is the main responsibility of copywriters, it isn’t what most copywriters actually end up doing all day. In fact, a lot of a copywriter’s time is spent researching, ideating, proofreading, editing, formatting, pitching, sometimes stress-eating, and a lot of other mundane tasks. Because copywriters work as a team with art directors, they ultimately help contribute to the overall look and feel of a campaign, meaning their responsibilities don’t just end with the tagline. Put simply, a copywriter’s main job is storytelling.