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mike@mikeseng.com | 503.278.0013

What’s a Copywriter?

You may think you know what Copywriters do,  but do you really?

With the overload of new media and position titles, fewer and fewer business leaders are familiar with the Copywriter job title. And trust me, it’s been around longer than those crazy Mad Men days.

As a certified Copywriter with more than 20 years in the biz, I decided to explain my profession on this site and across social media. It’s my hope that it will lead to much more relevant and enjoyable communication, the kind that fosters exciting growth for organizations of all sizes. Or at least keeps them from taking a dive.

To get started, here’s a nickel lesson that won’t cost you a penny and could increase your marketing ROI almost immediately:

1)  Copywriters write marketing copy, also known as ‘words’ or ‘text.’ We pride ourselves in being much more than wordsmiths though. We’re idea people who love solving businesses challenges alone or on a tight-knit team. We strive for genuine engagement, too. Not overwriting or serving up boring crap that gets ignored. We don’t always use complete sentences either…like that previous one. Using the vernacular is how we roll, the way real humans speak. And sometimes, we use words like ‘crap’ or ‘vernacular’ to stop you in your tracks.

2) Hiring someone just because their work is fun or they have an English degree is wasteful. Nowadays, many people actually believe they are real-deal photographers or art directors after watching some how-to videos for  image editing or design. Some even get paid handsomely for it. And now, there are writers who think they can write marketing just because they drafted a few articles, packed an ad or website with copy or have some SEO skills.

Truth is, you may LOVE your non-copywriter’s style. They may showcase the best grammar ever, but their weak concepts and dullness will cost you more in the end. It’s the audiences’ opinions that matter — that is, if you really want to move the needle.  And, not just in the short-term.

3) Copywriters are trained to create effective marketing. Most successful copywriters are degreed from leading colleges and universities and often go on to earn certificates in copywriting from respected industry schools. We’re pros at collaboration, problem solving, focusing on specific audiences, meeting deadlines. The stuff the business world depends on!

A professional copywriter will be able to explain succinctly how your copy may be off-strategy, off-tone or barely connecting with your target audience. Then, he or she will show you the fix with the best creative ideas expressed in the fewest words. Suddenly your copy will be worth tweeting or sharing. Why? Because your audience will see relevant, engaging copy only!

No doubt, some whizzbang Copywriters are so talented they manage to leapfrog over college, internships or copywriting programs. Then there are the rock star poets who may even work in the best branding agencies. Some are great Copywriters who truly ‘get’ marketing. Many though have never sold a thing in their life. They’re in it for the fun, awards and money. Your money!

But the major liability is the most common — the non-copywriters out there who aren’t problem solvers and know nothing about creating continuity of a brand message across touch points. Could be your new media rep who says she’ll write your ads, so she can sell through a contract. Or a design student who says he’ll fill up your site with brochure-ware or whatever comes to mind. Or even worse, copy his copy from another site. Then come the lawyers….

Do you hire gravediggers to build your swimming pool just because they can use a shovel? Don’t bury your brand alive. Call on a genuine, experienced Copywriter.

4) What? There’s more? Of course! This is a blog not an essay. I’ll be posting more on this subject soon. Now it’s time to hit the hay. Copywriters need to rest their noggins. Peace out!

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