Startup Series: Why You Should Host A Copywriter
“A copywriter should have an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.” – George Gribbin
This article is part of our StartupSeries – read our previous article on why you should host a web developer here!
What exactly is a copywriter?
First thing’s first – a copywriter has nothing to do with copyright. That’s a big misconception. I’m not a lawyer; I just argue like one.
Copy refers to the text of an advertising message – slogans, headlines, straplines, radio scripts, everything. So a copywriter, therefore, is the writer of the copy.
Basically, if you need words, you come to me. I have plenty of them. (Seriously. My mom was a big fan of the ‘quiet game’ when I was growing up.)
What skills am I looking for?
Copywriters can come from a huge variety of backgrounds. Most have studied English Literature at college (like me) or a relevant undergraduate degree like communications, but it’s not a requisite by any means. My Creative Advertising master’s was home to budding copywriters who had specialised in everything from psychology, business and fashion design; anything that taps into an audience’s psyche and appreciates the power of ideas. Formal training isn’t as important as a true love for language and an intuitive way with words, but it helps.
Ask your potential Guest for examples of their writing. It could be a blog, a website, their online portfolio or even a social media account. Get a feel of their experience and writing style. Depending on their repertoire of clients and brands, they should have very different areas of expertise and a varied scope of work.
Some copywriters may even refer to themselves as content writers, and these titles are often used interchangeably. Technically, the difference between copy and content is the purpose of the text; unlike content, which tends to be more informative and evergreen in nature, copy is intended to persuade, emote or drive action, and has an underlying marketing message. Content writers tend to come from more journalistic, editorial backgrounds and offer a slightly different skillset than that of a copywriter. Elizabeth Campbell argues that, “Content tells and copy sells. It’s as simple as that.” However, in our modern digital age where everything lives online, these roles and functions are blurred. As well as their advertising artillery, copywriters are increasingly called to help maintain a company’s web presence through content. Content is king, after all.
Why should I host a copywriter?
There’s ALWAYS something that needs to be written
I’ve helped my friends coordinate job and postgraduate degree applications, and showed them how to properly lay out their CVs. I’ve covertly lent a hand – and some key phrases – to colleagues as they work up the nerve to write that big scary message to the boss. I’ve written posters for college events to stick up around campus. I once sent an email to Tesco (a supermarket) to enquire why they stopped stocking my friend’s favourite spicy nut snack. I’ve been tapped on the shoulder in the pub to help compose a catchy Instagram caption. My dad still gets me to write his texts for him, and at family gatherings my words have been borrowed (i.e. plagiarised) in birthday cards. I’ve yet to be used for producing the perfect Tinder pick-up line, but I put that down to my romantic myopia rather than my linguistic nuances. Basically, whatever word power you’re looking for on a cambio – even if you just want someone to write down your shopping list – then there’s no better person than a copywriter.
We’re thorough (but timely) workers
Oscar Wilde once said, ‘I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.’ Never have I seen a sentence that so accurately describes the working day of a copywriter. We agonise over the little details, and always believe that a sentence could be that bit better, if only we worked just a little longer on it. (I’m still not 100% happy that sentence, for example.) But we live a life of urgent deadlines and a massive backlog of work, so as GoCambio Managing Director Rosie Mansfield reminds me, ‘Better done than perfect.’ If you get a copywriter on your side, you know they’ll give it their all, and give it to you on time, too.
We don’t do awkward silences
It’s generally accepted that us copywriters have been given the gift of the gab. I didn’t even have to kiss the Blarney Stone for it, either. (My mom wouldn’t let me. Apparently I already talked enough as it was).
So when it comes to hosting your first Guest on a cambio, we know it can be a little bit intimidating to start off with. While we’ve put together a little guide with tips for socialising with your Guest, if you’re hosting a copywriter you probably won’t even get a chance to dig it out. If your Guest is anything like me, they probably spend most of their days researching and writing about the most random of topics, and are always looking for opportunities to discuss their findings with someone. (Did you know Sweden is the home of bunny show jumping?) Plus, if you’re looking to improve your language skills on a cambio, then who better a person who works with words every day? No-one appreciates good company and good conversation more than a writer, even more so when it’s enjoyed over a glass of wine. We really are the perfect (and modest) cambio partners.
Chandler Bing was a copywriter
We’ve all watched Friends. Once Chandler stopped working in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration (or as a ‘transponster’, as Rachel suggested) to pursue his dream, Chandler somehow shifted into adland as a junior copywriter. He was responsible for memorable slogans such as ‘Kids kids, roll your way into childhood obesity!’, which is surely on par with Nike’s famous ‘Just do it.’ Widely hailed by fans as the funniest Friend, Chandler is famous for his snarky one-liners, quick wit and even comes with his own ready-made catchphrase. Could he BE a better poster boy for copywriters?
While not all of them wear the copywriter hat, GoCambio is home to lots of talented writers, like Samantha, Ylenia, Michelle and our very own Content Manager, Clarissa. Why not invite them to stay with you on a cambio and FINALLY start that blog you’ve been putting off for so long? Or if you’re a wanderlust-stricken writer, use your unique phraseology and super proofreading skills as a free ticket for international travel! Sign up to GoCambio here for free – there are lots of Hosts who’d appreciate your pedantic email editing (way more than your friends do. Or at least my friends do).
About the Author: Emma is a 23-year-old copywriter at GoCambio and part-time shoe seller, so she’s always ready to think on her (size 5.5) feet. With a background in English, History, and Creative Advertising, some of Emma’s passions include fashion, travel, writing, film and social media. And tea. Black, no sugar.