We begin with a portrait of Francis, a copywriter. He doesn’t wear pants to work. No, those are trousers. There’s a full inch of exposed sock above his worn oxfords. That’s the difference. Francis doesn’t talk much. He chews gum instead. If he does amble into a conversation, he spouts apothegms and wild anecdotes. He sure can craft a compelling story. That one about his best friend, the vibraphone mechanic? Phew. You learn something new each day. Francis brings his MacBook to work in a weathered typewriter case. Smith Corona. So, he’s the literary type. He’s married, or isn’t married, or is. It doesn’t matter.
Here’s what matters: Francis is a copywriter.
Admittedly, you aren’t Francis. In fact, every day you commit multiple acts of un-Francis-likeness. Your most significant transgression: you aren’t a copywriter, which means you shouldn’t write content for your business.
Many love to condescend copywriting as the simple practice of correct grammar. However, this is merely a facet of the copywriter’s job. On the aesthetic front, copywriters are simultaneously dictionary, thesaurus and copy editor. They conjure style rules on command. MLA requires the oxford comma. AP style does not! A hyphen differs greatly from an em dash! You don’t remember the difference between en dashes and em dashes—and that’s alright. A copywriter pays keen attention to relevant minutiae to save you time.
Good copywriters combine your website’s interface and a crafted rhetorical strategy to create a fine-tuned sales machine. Beyond grammar and style, copywriters integrate keywords and target phrases to maximize SEO potential. At the same time, copywriters produce content that both addresses the needs of potential customers, anticipating and answering any questions that buyers will have, and persuades them to stick around or come back later. This is very much a learned skillset—and a coveted one. Hiring a copywriter produces an immeasurable long-term return on investment.
Caring deeply about your content and writing your content can be mutually exclusive. Handing off your web-based content to a professional shows commitment to your company, not neglect. Your website’s content serves as a representation of the concepts, employees and marketing strategies comprising your business. Because of this, it should be written in a voice specific to your business and cohesive with your existing branded material. Not your voice. Not even Francis’.