Copywriters are the voice of a marketing agency, and of the clients they represent. While their role as writers might sound simple, they are instrumental in forming and maintaining a consistent brand voice and identity.
Writing marketing copy that sells is their sole objective. That means injecting their writing with emotion, storytelling, compelling research – whatever it takes to be persuasive.
If you find yourself wondering “what does a copywriter do?”, read on for this complete guide.
As a bonus, at the end of this article you can read an interview with our copywriter, Kyle Goward.
The responsibilities of a copywriter
The responsibilities of a copywriter can be broadly grouped into three categories: tone of voice strategy, research and writing.
Tone of voice strategy
There are two reasons a good copywriter develops a tone of voice strategy. First, it’s important to figure out how the client wants to sound, and then emulate that. Second, it’s important to consider the target audience and develop a tone of voice that appeals to them.
For example, if a client offers their service to government agencies, their content shouldn’t be casual and full of jokes. It should be more formal, informative and authoritative.
On the other hand, for a daycare centre client, the copy should be more casual, welcoming and friendly. All tones of voice have their place, but a good copywriter knows to develop the right one for their client.
Once a tone is chosen, copywriters stick to it! Where novice writers will slip back into their own style, a copywriter will write according to the client and audience, and it will sound consistent every time. Writing with a consistent tone of voice is how copywriters create brand recognition.
The primary objective of a copywriter is to be persuasive, but that doesn’t mean being correct should fall by the wayside. Knowing how to research a topic thoroughly is an essential responsibility. While they’re the ones doing the writing, it’s the client whose brand will lose face if their readers notice that the information is incorrect.
Good copywriters will source information from reputable sites, such as .orgs or .edu URLs. They’ll also use scholarly journals, reputable media outlets and articles from recognised industry leaders in the client’s field.
It’s only once the tone of voice and research stages are complete that a copywriter actually starts writing. How they write will depend on the channel.
When writing for email, social copy or website pages, skilled copywriters understand that their audience’s attention is fleeting, and they need to be as persuasive as possible in the shortest amount of time. For more classically trained writers, this is where form needs to give way to function – the ‘correct’ way to write is whatever their readers like most.
When writing blogs or website service pages, copywriters can afford to take readers on a journey. This can include emotional appeals, storytelling elements, objection handling and compelling facts. These are the kinds of content that really pay off when written by someone who knows how to engage their audience.
Regardless of the channel, copywriters need to be masters of the call to action (CTA). This is where all their hard rhetorical work pays off, and they finally get the opportunity to tell their readers what to do, and how to do it.
Skills copywriters need
There are many skills, both occupational and behavioural, that are essential for copywriters. They include:
- Writing across different genres and marketing channels
- An understanding of tone of voice, and the ability to write to suit different tones
- An understanding of audience and the reader’s motivations
- Writing for display on different devices
- Knowing writing conventions and when to break them for effect
- Research skills and an understanding of reliable and unreliable sources
- Proofreading and editing
- Attention to detail
- Task and time management
Interview with a copywriter
Kyle has only been with Oddball for 6 months, but has quickly settled in and writes for a number of channels, including blogs, websites, emails and for SEO.
He’s also writing this blog right now – and is about to interview himself…
What does a copywriter do and why is it important at Oddball?
Even with visual media becoming more important, people still communicate most with words. Whether that’s in the form of a written article or a script for a video, it all needs to be written by somebody.
I try to think of our brand as a person, so when I write across our marketing materials, it sounds like it’s coming from the same person, or the same place. At the end of the day, that’s really what copywriters do, they turn your brand identity into a voice, and then they make that voice as compelling as possible.
Writing is an incredible way to connect with an audience, so when I write on behalf of Oddball, in a way I become the voice of Oddball. That’s a big responsibility that all copywriters share.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’ve always been interested in how people use words, whether it’s in conversation or through writing. What I enjoy most about writing is that creating content is like solving a puzzle. I know what I need to talk about, and what I want the reader to learn or do. The challenge is getting the point across in the most persuasive way possible.
I also like trying to write with different tones or personas. I firmly believe that the best style is one that connects with my readers, so it can be fun to try different writing styles that I wouldn’t naturally think to use.
What’s your greatest achievement in your role so far?
Writing for a marketing agency has challenged me to learn a variety of different products and services. From lawyers to homebuilders, to financial software providers and first aid instructors, no two clients are the same.
As time has passed I’ve really enjoyed getting to know clients, their products, and how to write for them to get results. It’s always incredibly satisfying when a client really loves something I’ve written for their brand.
What’s something unique about working at Oddball?
We have a genuine desire to improve how we do things. Most workplaces will say that, but then they don’t allow any time to make improvements.
At Oddball, if something doesn’t work, we trust ourselves to take a moment to fix it now to save ourselves time later. It’s all about working smarter, not harder, which I love.
Do you want to be a copywriter?
Being a copywriter is one of the most exciting writing careers available. You need to know, and know when to break, every kind of writing convention to make sure you are being as persuasive as possible.
Oddball Marketing is a constantly growing business. We are often hiring for a variety of roles. Check our careers page to see if there is one that suits you.
Even if there isn’t an open position, enquire anyway so we can retain your details on file for future positions.
We also have more resources about digital marketing which you can read on our website.