Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Do Copywriters Do?

A copywriter is defined as a person responsible for writing advertising copy and generating creative concepts, often in collaboration with an art director or creative director.

But the real answer to the question 'what do copywriters do?' deserves far more elaborate an answer.

Copywriters are men and women who are responsible for writing the copy that is supposed to give a brand a unique 'brand voice' and face. And that copy is ultimately supposed to lead to sales.

Coca Cola has a brand voice. IBM has a brand voice...and they are both very, very different.

Copywriters can work at advertising agencies, in-house at the the clients, by themselves as freelance copywriters (many work right from their homes) or in several other advertising related capacities. But the one thing that unites each of these categories is the responsibility they all have to craft the exact right copy and perfect tone of voice for their clients. Their words craft enormous weight.

Now, the argument over 'awareness advertising' versus 'sales-driven copy' is far from over (with each side claiming superiority, of course). And as it does so, copywriters are the professionals who bridge those two needs by using their talents to walk the delicate line between creating a creative product and a product that sells product.

Copywriters will always tend to be more creative with their work...while clients will always tend to want sales, even at the expense of creativity.

Tough job? Not compared to paving roads outside Las Vegas. But it does require a deft hand.

A copywriters' job is to make one dish soap more loved than another dish soap. And that love is supposed to translate into action at the cash register.

So these words they write, day in and day out are scrutinized to death because the live of a brand is critical to the success of the clients.

Still wondering what copywriters do? Well, they also attend tons of meetings, go to focus groups, scream at account people, endlessly concept and present ideas, write promotional materials, write press releases, write collateral, write point of purchase materials...yikes. That's a lot of stuff.

So no, it's not always glamor. But it is always different. And that's what makes it so unique.

Which is why I so highly recommend that anyone asking themselves what do copywriters do? to realize that the real answer requires a far more exacting look.

A former Madison Avenue Creative Director and Copywriter, Kevin Browne is the owner of, the BEST, most ultra-inside site for those who truly want to understand the inner workings of the advertising industry.

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