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Who Needs a Copywriter?

When people hear “copywriter”, they picture men in sharp suits smoking cigarettes, slicing out a series of punchy bon mots before sinking a whiskey. They picture Mad Men, basically, and 50 years ago this might have been the case; copywriters had to come up with taglines that would sell, sell, sell!

Nowadays . . . well, the game has changed considerably. When copy was physical, and the only way to have your message seen was to print it in the paper or on a billboard, copywriting was a niche service. Only larger businesses had the opportunity to benefit from copywriting, and it was the preserve of wealthy corporations. In the 21st century, though, there are no such constraints – everyone and anyone can put together a website, which means even small businesses have the means to get their message out there.

Few small businesses actually work with copywriters, though. This would have been unthinkable up until recently, because if you’re going to all the trouble and expense of taking out an ad you want to make sure it’s written well. People understood that you needed someone who could write well, who could pick out the right message for your audience. Now, though, the simplicity and ease of creating an online presence makes people reluctant to spend money on a writer.

Are they right, or wrong? No prizes for guessing which side I come down on, but let me lay out exactly why you need a copywriter, no matter how small your business is.

Copywriting can fit in your budget.

Copywriters are flexible. You might not be able to afford for David Ogilvy to come up with your new tagline (he’s also, you know, dead), but there are plenty of great writers out there who do lots of work for small businesses. If you’re working with a freelance copywriter, too, they’ll be able to negotiate with you on a price for your whole project – you may well be able to get more than you imagined.

Quality copywriting has tangible benefits.

For a lot of business owners, copywriting is only a vaguely beneficial service; “flowery words are nice, but they don’t make sales”. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of copywriting: it’s not about writing pretty words for their own sake. Copywriting is targeted, crafted writing that pushes readers step-by-step in the direction you want them to go. It’s about convincing readers that you’re right, that they’re missing out, that they can’t afford to go on without what you’re offering.

Imagine you were selling your home; you wouldn’t begrudge a few tins of paint and a little redecoration, would you? Not if it meant showing off your house at its best. Trying to sell anything without a copywriter is like putting your home on the market without tidying up – it’s still the same house, sure, but it’s a bit dingy, a bit tired-looking . . . and it won’t sell.

Copywriters are good at their job.

Everyone can write. So what makes one person better than another? For plenty of business owners, this is the big hurdle; why pay a copywriter to write content when they could write it themselves for free? Leaving aside grammar, punctuation, spelling and the ever-present SEO spectre, there’s one main reason why a copywriter can do a better job:

They can edit.

Creating a clear message is about taking away anything and everything that you possibly can until only your core proposition is left, and this is something that only comes with experience. If you want a clear, concise message, the kind that sells, you need to hire a copywriter.

You don’t want to do that SEO stuff.

Let’s be real; no matter what you’re selling, online visibility is going to play an important part in your success. If you’re an artist, a tour guide, a B&B owner or a martial arts specialist, you want to give Google a fair shot at finding and indexing your webpage. Think of it like putting up a poster; there’s no sense in printing off A4 greyscale sheets with some dull text and hanging them in one or two spots – you might as well not bother. If you’re going to do it at all, you need to put some effort in.

But SEO isn’t fun (for most people), and it isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It may be necessary to tear out and restructure your entire site to avoid keyword cannibalization, or you might need to conduct a lengthy SEO audit on your content (and that of your competitors). This kind of stuff isn’t above-and-beyond hardcore SEO – it’s fundamental, and if you’re serious about using your site then you need to be doing it. Realistically, you’ve got better things to be doing than learning the ropes of SEO, so it makes a whole lot of sense to hire a copywriter to handle it for you.

You need a copywriter.

If you have a website, you have content, and if you have content then it must be written by a copywriter. Copywriters can handle your entire top-to-bottom copywriting needs from web strategy to SEO, blogs to analytics, and they can make a genuine impact on your business’s fortunes – quality copywriting is well worth investing in.

Copywriters are an important part of your business – find out what I can do to help your business succeed.