Being a copywriter is a bit of an odd profession because while we know what we do, not many others do. It often gets confused with copyright and generally gets tangled up with other professions.
For example, a copywriter might repurpose blog post content into social media captions as part of their package, or even specialise in creating engaging captions that convert. However, as soon as you mention social media, the listener tends to reply “Oh, so you’re a social media manager?”
No ma’am, I am not. And allow me to explain why.
What do copywriters for small businesses do?
A copywriter’s primary role is to create written content that achieves goals decided by the business owner.
These goals might be to improve engagement, get people to sign up for mailing lists, buy a product or service, or make an individual a leader in their field.
Our primary focus is the words. We don’t really care how the graphics look (though if your website or image looks like shit, we will tell you, it’s in our brand-expert DNA) or the strategy you use. Though, again, if you aren’t achieving your desired results and we, the copywriter, know it’s because you have a naff strategy, we will also tell you.
The finesse at which you are told depends on the writer.
So what do we write?
Again, that depends on the individual or agency, and the type of content or copy you need. But here’s a general breakdown of what’s available.
Content vs Copy: What’s the bloody difference?
And this point ties in with whether you should hire a content writer or a copywriter. Short answer: hire someone who fits your needs and that you vibe with.
To explain the difference, copy is short-form with the very obvious goal of getting you to spend money or sign up for something. Examples are:
- 📣 Social media adverts
- 🖼️ Billboards
- 📑 Sales & landing pages (though they can get pretty lengthy these days)
- 📧 Single sales emails
- 🖥️ Website pages
Content is long-form and is usually there to inform and inspire. While they will always have some sort of call to action (CTA), it is usually more subtle. Examples are:
- 💻 Blog posts
- 🗞️ Articles in printed publications
- 📩 Email newsletters
- 📲 Social media captions
You also have the items that don’t really fit into either or are industry-specific:
- 📗 Ebooks
- 📒 Manuals and learning materials (for those that teach)
- 📜 Brand materials – catalogues, guides, information packs
- 📑 Reports
Bullshit belief that needs busting | A copywriter is not responsible for creating visuals or managing your social media or doing the tech side of your website and blog. Some might offer those additional services, but when I hear they do “jack of all trades, master of none” tends to pop into my head.
The copywriter’s speciality
Hopefully, the role of a copywriter has become a little clearer. But if you do decide you need a small business copywriter, please note that we tend to specialise. So not all copywriters write all the things. We have preferences and strengths and weaknesses.
I prefer long-form content that focuses on long-term growth from organic reach: blog posts, email newsletters and email sequences.
I’m not too keen on sales pages and adverts, though I might do them if I have been working with a brand for a long time.
I prefer to get involved with the strategy and see a brand grow.
Other copywriters are exceptional at delivering short and effective sales pitches and prefer quick turnarounds.
You also have those who specialise in SEO and are all about hitting those rankings. Again, while I do use keywords and consider SEO, my priority is not the algorithm, it’s your audience.
Working with a copywriter: The process
Depending on if you choose a freelance copywriter or an agency, the onboarding process can look very different. I can’t comment from an agency perspective, but as a freelancer, I work like this:
- ➡️ Discovery call to check we are on the same page and our personalities match
- ➡️ Signing & confirmation of proposal and contract + first payment
- ➡️ 90-minute kick-off call to discuss goals & perfect that tone of voice
- ➡️ I then go ahead and write the content or copy
- ➡️ I submit & wait for your feedback (I usually give you three or four days)
- ➡️ I make all the relevant changes
- ➡️ You make the final payment (if applicable) and the words are yours to use
Generally speaking, most freelance copywriters work like this as it ensures consistent work and payments.
Bullshit belief that needs busting | Copywriters are not plug-and-play. There is value in keeping us on retainer.
Advantages of having a copywriter for your small business
Now you know exactly what copywriters do, you’re probably wondering if we’re worth it. After all, anyone can write.
But here’s what a copywriter can do for your small business.
Number 1 | Create a consistent brand tone of voice that you love and that feeds into all your written content. We can also advise on how to make that voice transcend across all your branding materials (but you’ll need a graphic designer to execute).
Number 2 | Give an external perspective. As a small business owner, it is so easy to only see your brand from your perspective. A copywriter allows you to see what the customer sees.
Number 3 | Saves you a massive amount of time. Writing content takes hours and if that content doesn’t have any ROI, it really is a massive waste of your time. Think of how long you’ve spent on a single blog post and what you could have done with that time instead.
Number 4 | Use of specialised knowledge. Copywriters spend a lot of time perfecting their craft and ensuring they have all the best tools and resources. Why would you not want access to that?
Do I really need a copywriter?
Honestly, that depends.
I would say you definitely need a copywriter for your small business if:
- 🖓 What you’ve written so far isn’t converting and achieving goals
- 🖓 You have no writing skills whatsoever
- 🖓 You don’t have the time or skills to develop a cohesive strategy
- 🖓 You need help developing a consistent tone of voice
- 🖓 You work in a boring industry (you’ll be amazed how exciting we can make even the most mundane topic seem)
However, before making the investment, take advantage of discovery calls and check they are the right one for you.
Concluding thoughts about copywriting for small businesses
Ok, to summarise, copywriters write a vast majority of the stuff you read. They often specialise in specific areas and they bring a lot of value to your brand and businesses (which is why they charge what they charge).
If you are thinking about getting a copywriter but aren’t sure, book a discovery call and I’ll answer your questions as best as I can.
Thanks for reading x