What is copywriting?

4 min read

To answer this question, let’s start by telling you what copywriting isn’t. For example, copywriting isn’t using chatbots to rustle up a few paragraphs. Copywriting isn’t plagiarising competitor content. And copywriting certainly isn’t asking Debra in Accounts to slap a few sentences together because she has a GCSE in English.

In a nutshell, copywriting persuades a reader to go from A to B with minimal effort but with maximum value. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph all serve the single purpose to tell readers how your product or service will improve their life. It metaphorically puts your arm around their shoulder and says: “we understand your problem and we’re the antidote you’re looking for”.

What is a copywriter?

This is a question most copywriters get asked by distant relatives at a Christmas shindig. Admittedly, the job title ‘copywriter’ baffles many people which often leaves a taste of irony in a copywriter’s mouth. So to avoid any confusion, some suggested alternatives could be ‘word wrangler’, ‘sentence slayer’ or ‘conjunction consultant’. Whatever works for you.

What exactly does a copywriter do?

A copywriter’s job is to predominantly write copy, but that’s only part of the puzzle. Before any pencil scratching happens, a copywriter will need to understand your offer, your audience, your market, your values, your tone of voice, your favourite sandwich filler – absolutely everything from top to toe.

In fact, you might be better off thinking of a copywriter as an excavator. Because when it’s done properly, they dig deep into your business to explore corners of your offer yet to be discovered. And when they resurface, they’ll gift you with a golden nugget of an idea that makes you different from the rest.

Who uses copywriters?

Anyone who understands the true value of words. It could be an ambitious up-and-comer, an established forerunner or even a creative agency who need a hand putting pen to paper.

Depending on the brief, they might need help with key messaging, tone of voice discovery, writing a website, creating ads, social media content. Basically, anything that involves using the written word to persuade people.

How much does a copywriter cost?

According to the 2023 ProCopywriters survey, the average day rate for a UK copywriter is £433. You might think that sounds like a lot of wedge, but it’s important to remember what the true value of proper copy can bring to your business.

Just in case you’re wondering, my day rate for copy is £450 which is used as a guide to prepare my all-in project fee. That way, you know where you stand and have no surprises along the way. Just as it should be.

You might find some copywriters who prefer to charge by the word. Avoid like a game of family Monopoly.

Who makes a good copywriter?

A good copywriter is a keen listener, smart interrogator and someone who can nail the most complex of briefs with forensic precision. But above all else, they’re easy to work with. Someone you can depend on to get a job done on point, on time and on budget.

If you’re thinking about becoming a copywriter, you’ll need to be patient and accept the best ideas, intricate phrases and white-hot headlines tend to sprout when you least expect it. Always carry a notepad.

What’s the difference between copywriting and content writing?

Imagine you want to hire a creative copywriter to spruce up your web copy. You might already have a favourite in mind who’s grabbed your attention by sharing a blog post on social media. That’s content, that’s the informative stuff.

Taking the next step, you might decide to learn more about the copywriter by reading their Home, About or Service pages. And by doing so, dear reader, you’ve entered the world of copywriting where the purpose is to persuade.

See for yourself. Come and browse my website copywriting page. Or better yet, gimme a call on 01273 458557.


Tom Davies is a freelance copywriter based in Brighton.

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