While all great copywriters use words to inform, educate and sell, some have specific skills for certain types of writing. Need some search-optimised content for your new website? There’s a copywriter for that. Need a technical article for a complex scientific blog? There’s a copywriter for that too. In fact, for every brief, there’s a well-placed word wrangler.
Consider this your comprehensive copywriter catalogue.
The digital (SEO) copywriter
People read words differently on screen than they do on a page. That’s why writing for the web comes with its own set of rules. Digital – or SEO – copywriters know the best way to structure content for online readers. From solid on-page copy and blog articles to bangin’ headers and meta descriptions, they know how to whip up content that catches the attention of humans and search engines. They also know how to balance SEO with brand.
The UX copywriter
While most copy is intended to educate readers or sell a product, the UX (user experience) copywriter is responsible for guiding the user, ultimately helping them to solve a problem. Think app content, buttons on web pages, error messages, menu copy and the like. Their ultimate goal is to give users an intuitive experience, while adhering to company goals. This involves working as a vital member of the UX team to understand how users are behaving, and how they can make their lives easier based on that.
The conceptual (creative) copywriter
Every great piece of advertising starts with a great idea. Enter the conceptual – or creative – copywriter. These creative-thinkers know what makes people tick, and use that knowledge to build meaningful concepts and compelling copy. Traditionally, you’ll find them working alongside an art director. From scripts for television ads to taglines, packaging copy and slogans, their work relies on big ideas and efficient execution. In the wise words of Don Draper, "It's useless to be a creative unless you can sell what you create."
The technical copywriter
Some tricky pieces of content need the whizz-kid abilities of a technical copywriter. They can write effective, jargon-free content for things like software manuals, appliance instructions, interactive tutorials and more. Ultimately, they’re responsible for communicating complex information in simple but engaging words. A thorough understanding of and interest in a range of technology is a must for anyone working in this kind of role.
The medical copywriter
Step away from the defibrillator. Put that stethoscope down. A doctor you ain’t, and you’re no medical copywriter either. Most good writers can turn their keyboards to any subject, but medicine doesn’t tend to be one of them. Medical copywriters rightly rule the roost when it comes to any kind of content about medicine and pharmaceuticals. This can range from content for print or TV adverts, to internal publications for health professionals. Most medical copywriters have a scientific qualification or background, as knowing their stuff can quite literally be a matter of life and death.
Talk to your favourite content agency and you’ll probably discover that their copywriters can help you with all of the above, barring medical copy. The same goes for seasoned freelancers. Some copywriters are more at home with one type of copywriting based on their experience, but can deliver other kinds of content with just as much aplomb. These are the all-rounders, and their way of working is absolutely normal, wonderful and convenient in the modern marketing world. The main thing to keep in mind is that a true pro will say when a brief doesn’t suit their skills, rather than struggle through it.
How can I hire a copywriter?
It helps if you know a thing or ten about what makes a great writer in the first place.