Common misconceptions about copywriting
Copy is simply another word for text (or written words if you like). The term is commonly used in the field of advertising and in the media in general, for text that is to be published. Copy is often used to persuade a group (target audience) and to raise the awareness of a business’ services and products. It follows then that the person who creates this type of content is referred to as a copywriter.
This clarification is often necessary as the word obviously sounds the same as the well-known legal concept of ‘copyright.’ The latter refers to ‘an exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)’
Belinda Weaver a copywriter based in New South Wales, Australia was (and still is) such an inspiration when I just started out a few years ago. She wrote an article dealing with common misconceptions about copywriting recently. I felt that it captured perfectly what I wanted to say about copywriting at this stage. Let’s dive in:
Misconception No 1: Copywriting is easy
The process of writing is preceded by thorough information gathering. The writer needs to get a proper understanding of the business, its objectives and industry. It is also important to understand who the target audience is and their particular interests and preferences. It is only when clear answers have been formulated about these aspects that the writing can start.
Also no two projects are the same even if it is in the same industry. The copywriter may be able to draw on the previous research as background information, but the audience may differ which will necessitate an entirely different approach.
Misconception No 2: Copywriting does not take long
It follows from No1 above that the process is time-consuming. Meeting with the business owner and doing the research (on and offline) take time. Unpacking all the information and structuring it into a cohesive whole with a logical progession takes more time. Then the writing follows by a few rounds of editing.
Misconception No 3: Copywriters do not need a detailed brief
The success of every written assignment is dependent on the writer understanding exactly what needs to be done by when. This eliminates the guesswork and focuses the writer’s efforts which ultimately leads to better output.
Misconception No 4: Short copy is quicker than long copy
With short copy the challenge for copywriter is to say more with less words. The writer may still need to generate a few versions to find the best fit.
Misconception No 5: Copywriting is expensive
There is always the option to go the DIY route especially with the view to save money. Writing the copy for a website will take a lot longer for someone who does not deal with it on a regular basis. And even completed the DIY writer may still want to refer the written content to an experienced copywriter for editing anyway. If extensive changes are needed to be made it will lead to a delay in publishing the content on the website. In this scenario the true cost is the time that the business owner (or assigned writer) had to spend on the project plus the new business opportunities forfeited during the period of the delay.