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What Does a Copywriter Actually Do?

The title of “copywriter” proves to be the most ambiguous of them all.

What Does a Copywriter Actually Do?

Posted Wednesday December 10th, 2014 by in Analysis + Strategy.

After four years of undergraduate studies, many students aren’t quite sure what they want to do next. However, the general consensus is that students AT LEAST want a career that the general public understands. While nurses, lawyers and teachers have job titles that are quite literal, many of the job titles found within the confines of an advertising agency may not be so clear to the general public. On a team that has a Director of Social Media, Lead Developer and Creative Director, the title of “copywriter” proves to be the most ambiguous of them all. Allow me to explain the age old question of “what does a copywriter actually do?”

At the beginning of my undergraduate career, I looked through my course catalog and wondered, “Copywriting? What is that?” Up to that point, I thought copywriting was that complicated “thing” that became infringed upon when millennials pirated music. I hadn’t a clue as to what a “copywriter” really did. After graduating and spending an entire year in this capacity, I can confidently say that the level of confusion surrounding my job title has never been greater.

Let me shed some light.

“Oh! So, dude, if I have this killer idea, I’ll come to you for that?” – That would be the art of copyRIGHT, my friends.

“What do you make copies of?” – Insert angry emoji here.

“Copywriter? You get paid to copy people’s writing?” – Despite writing “copy”, I’m no plagiarist.

While these misinterpretations are quite frequent, most young copywriters can’t fault the public for not knowing exactly what we do. Many seasoned copywriters have learned to describe their job titles in different ways; I’m still working on that part.

The aforementioned questions are usually followed by something along the lines of, “so, what DO you do then?”

Copywriting is rather tough to pigeonhole into one concrete definition. Some copywriters specialize in print advertisement, while some concentrate on developing copy for the web. At the same time, some copywriters freelance and lend their talents to a vast array of disciplines. No matter where we lend our expertise, the pen is always our most critical work tool.

Regardless of where a copywriter is employed, they are certainly working in ways that most don’t imagine. That commercial on your favorite television station? A copywriter helped write that. The text on your favorite website? A copywriter wrote that, too. Those annoying pieces of “junk” that the mailman brings over each day? Thank a copywriter.

However, copywriters don’t just sell – they tell. Copywriters spend a great deal of time trying to understand an audience before developing the stories that they tell. Without developing an extensive knowledge of their audience, a copywriter’s job is completely lost.

It really is difficult to summarize everything a copywriter does in just a few hundred words. However, I can tell you this: our tasks are changing and evolving on a daily basis to meet the needs of an ever-changing audience.

Here at GEM, our goal is to tell the story of your brand. Let us reach your target audience through our multi-faceted, award winning campaigns today.


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