5 tips to clarify what a copywriter actually does

What can be achieved through copywriting?

When people come to me and ask what can be achieved through copywriting, my answer is always the same: “Anything.”

I say this not in an attempt to be elusive or to proverbially blow my own trumpet, but because it is a simple fact that words are responsible for shaping the way others think and behave.

The creation of language was an absolute game-changer because it allowed us to express ourselves in a way that nobody had ever experienced before. It allows us to put thoughts into other people’s imaginations and that is one of the greatest abilities we have. It always will be.

Words can make a difference between a person buying a product or deciding against it. It can lead a client to choose one company to do business with over another. It is so powerful that it can even be the difference between seeking peace and going to war.

The problem that has occurred in recent years is that so many people profess to be able to do it, meaning we end up with a rather saturated market place where the majority of “copywriters” actually don’t understand the art of writing at all. This can lead to many companies getting their fingers burned by making heavy investments and gaining little reward, and so they immediately dismiss copywriting as an unnecessary practice run by con artists.

At this point, I would like to point out that the reason I got into copywriting was to help out a handful of friends and family members who had web sites but found it incredibly difficult to write snappy text. When I started there wasn’t as much emphasis on Google analytics and so it was only really a case of making the content read well so potential customers understood what was on offer. As I write mainly books and screenplays, I found it very simple to create fresh, original copy and so word spread throughout my circle of friends.

Now I have written scores of copy for various web sites and am happy to offer this as a service because it allows me to pay the bills whilst doing something I am passionate in an area that I fully understand.

It has been interesting to see the way that copywriting has had to adapt due to the forever growing amount of online content and whenever I begin a job now I am always enthralled by the challenges of standing out against the wades of competitor content.

Copywriting can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it, but as so many people are unsure as to what exactly a copywriter does I thought I would clear it up in this short list of bullet points.

To be successful, a copywriter must:

1. Know the product
Whether the “product” is a company, a person, a brand or a consumer item, we cannot write about it to the best of our ability unless we have a good understanding of what “it” is, and so a little time should be allowed for research unless we are already familiar with the subject.

2. Know the audience
The very first thing we have to think about when planning to market something, which is essentially what we are doing with copy, is to know who we are targeting. How old are they? Are they male or female? What are their hobbies and interests? What is likely to drive them towards your product? Why do they need your product? A copywriter should be able to answer all of these questions before they write a single word.

3. Learn your voice
When we do understand your audience and their needs, we then have to create a “voice” through which to talk to them. This voice must match the tone and motivations of our client so that potential customers do not received mixed messages.

4. Be consistent
In order to write good copy we must ensure that there are no loose ends. Like writing a story, our audience is often vastly intelligent and will immediately notice if there are flaws in what we are telling them. Inconsistent messaging is a sure fire way to lose customers quickly.

5. Write with confidence

I can always tell when a writer is enthusiastic about their copy and when they are not. Some are even unprofessional enough to blame their bad copy on the product. I always stress to other copywriters that if they don’t like the product, they shouldn’t take the job! I say this because when I am writing about something I truly believe in, it will naturally show in my words and I will therefore be more confident about the tone of the work.

Any experienced copywriter, regardless of how creative they are, understands that the client’s happiness is always the number one priority. We will never understand your business in the same way that you do, so after we make our creative suggestions we simply focus on remaining consistent, readily accessible and easy to deal with so we can be there to support you through our working relationship.

It is always a dream when a client wants to “stir things up” as it gives us more freedom to experiment. However, in reality, we understand why this rarely happens. We are aware that companies make big investments and are often under pressure to get results, so when your desire is to stick to tried and tested methods but add our creative spin with finely crafted copy, the best copywriters are always more than happy to assist.



About the author: Jody Medland


“When clients come to me it’s because they feel something is missing. Whether they are a franchise who are missing out on sales, a promotional company who aren’t winning the right contracts or a brand who are looking for a deeper connection with their audience, there is always a way to achieve it. You just need to find what the problem is and create a solution to fix it.”

Jody has worked across a landscape of professions in his life and is able to combine the vast knowledge he has of consumer and customer needs with his wonderfully creative mind, generating fresh, dynamic, original copy for almost any need.

To date, he has successfully written for the advertising, education, film, gaming, literary, promotional and television industries as well as helped a host of individuals and SME’s to expand their business.

He is a savvy, business conscious writer able to bring flair to any project.

Join me on

This article was first published by Jody Medland

12 replies
  1. Paul Baker
    Paul Baker says:

    Hi Jody–some good stuff here. But I’d add one more important item to your list: 6) Know what you want the reader to do next.

    Unlike the books and screenplays under your belt, good copywriting has (or should have) a very specific goal–get people to buy something; get them to click a Learn More button, even just to get them to think favorably about a brand, whatever it is. Sure, in your creative writing, you had goals too—like move the reader/movie viewer emotionally. But copy needs to be much more specific.


    • Jody Medland
      Jody Medland says:

      Hi Paul.

      I do agree with you, but would further the point by saying I feel you should always know what the objective of the work is before you write a single word. Whether it is a book for a mainstream commercial audience or a web page for a Spring sale, every writer should be fully aware of what they aim to achieve and how they plan to get it. If they don’t then it will almost certainly show.

  2. Ron Swayne
    Ron Swayne says:

    I was captivated by the article so much that I decide it to describe. I truly agree with the topics far as learning the product. It make a lot easy to sale.

  3. Jafet M Ramirez
    Jafet M Ramirez says:

    I would like to suggest a six; since a brand doesn’t live in a vacuum, look around the competitive environment the brand will compete in. Vet creative concepts and spend time studying what the competition is saying, how and where. This way the “me too” disaster will be averted.

    • Jody Medland
      Jody Medland says:

      A fair note, Jafet.

      As a rule, the more research a writer does, the richer their content will be.

  4. Venkat
    Venkat says:

    As a freelance professional writer for over 6 years, I have noticed that many clients shy away from discussing their expectations from the copy. This is more so with requests for SEO writing. If the client does not speak about his strengths/weaknesses, how can the copywriter grope in the dark and still create something useful?

    The second constraint is that there is a school of thought that believe nativity to be the most essential ingredient to creating an effective content. With due respects to all the exceptional ‘native’ writers, in fact it is the non native writers who often have that extra bit of zeal because they have learned the language and its nuances with focus. This is true of writing as well as translation. Good writing, to me, is a distinct skill and comes from sustained efforts aided at times by specialized learning. I even started a discussion chain on Linked In under the title ‘nativity and writing’ and several members from across the globe (mainly the USA) have agreed that nativity is not an iron clad guarantee to exceptional writing.

    I am a senior citizen and have come across a number of people who cannot put together a single page in any language despite significant educational achievements and experience in this wide world. When you put some thoughts to pen, cohesiveness or flow is an important attribute. Yes, the spelling and grammar are important but as a whole, it is a comprehensive skill which fewer people care to master.

    Just as journalism is a specialized stream of learning, writing (in over the dozen genres) is indeed a specialization. A good writer finally should be able to think for the client, getting into his shoes perhaps.

    Thank you for bringing this up

  5. Jody Medland
    Jody Medland says:

    Great points, Venkat.

    The reality is that even many people who employ copywriters don’t always know what we do. They do it because they know other companies do and so it seems like a logical step. They also are aware that they need good written content and so hiring a copywriter can feel like a solution, but too often does the scenario arise where they hire a copywriter and aren’t sure how to manage them and the copywriter is so content to be paid well for minimal effort that they don’t actually do too much.

    A good copywriter is someone who can create literary solutions when asked to solve a problem, but a great copywriter is someone who actively seeks areas in which they can contribute and communicates their capabilities to the rest of the team around them.


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