What to say when people ask “what’s a copywriter?”

You’ve just met someone and they’ve asked what you do for a living. You’ve replied, “I’m a copywriter”. The conversation continues and, after a little while, they say, “sorry, I’m not 100% sure what copywriters actually do.”

Because it’s your job this should be a relatively straightforward question to answer. But, when I’m in this situation, for some reason I always blurt out something about it being writing that pays.

It’s frustrating because it’s so much more than that. But the irony of being a copywriter is that it’s hard to summarise coherently.

So I’ve come up with 9 snappy answers that should help you explain what you do, which means you don’t need to whip out your dog-eared copy of Ogilvy On Advertising.

1. The definition

It’s someone who writes words for brands with the aim of selling a product or service.

2. The simple

I write words for brands.

3. The mysterious

It’s writing that you don’t really notice is there. It’s selling without knowing you’re being sold to. If the writing is done well, you won’t notice it. I’m basically an advertising ninja.

4. The examples

It’s writing product descriptions, advertising scripts, newsletters, brand blurbs, etc. It can be on anything, from a milk carton to a sales email. Think about slogans, for example, “I’m lovin’ it” or “just do it” – they were written by copywriters.

5. The myth buster

It is not putting little c’s on everything. Ironically, that’s spelt differently.

6. Copywriters in films and on TV

The men (and Peggy Olsen) in Mad Men, Chandler Bing in Friends, Mel Gibson in What Women Want, Skeeter from The Help and Jennifer Aniston in He’s Just Not That Into You. Yeah, they’re all copywriters.

7. The true to brand

Engaging and compelling customers to buy to using the art of persuasion and the written word. I help brands connect to the audience they deserve and make customers excited to say ‘yes’.

8. The thesaurus

I’m a:

  • content creator
  • wordsmith
  • advertiser
  • people pleaser
  • space filler
  • mind reader
  • grammar stickler
  • pun enthusiast
  • editor
  • yes getter
  • rebrander
  • logophile
  • creative
  • informant
  • brand consultant
  • sentence strategist
  • seller
  • buzzword wizard
  • promoter
  • catchy titler
  • print checker
  • quick fixer

9. For the Game of Thrones fans

You know how Ayra has many faces? Well, I have many voices. Different brands have different tones of voice and different ways they want to say things, it’s my job to put that into words.

What do you say when someone asks what you do?”

What do you think?

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