We’ve already looked at whether you should hire a copywriter or write the copy yourself, but let’s say you do hire a copywriter – how do you know what to look for?
Copywriters have different skills, areas of expertise and experience, and my aim in this article is to explain some of these differences so that you are better informed when choosing a copywriter for your business.
3 Ways Copywriters Specialise:
- Their Industry
- Their Style
- Their Medium
Some copywriters may offer general services, offering to write for a number of different industries, in lots of different styles and in a number of different mediums.
Other copywriters may be very specialist, writing for only one industry in one style and in one medium. So for example, a copywriter may specialise in:
Another copywriter may specialise in:
Let’s break down the above areas into more detailed sub sections:
Some copywriters only write for certain industries, some will be generalists. There are pros and cons to using copywriters who specialise and those who don’t.
- Have experience in one particular industry. This saves you time as you don’t have to teach them industry terms , or business practices.
- They are already familiar with your audience, their desires, and have experience of what has worked well within this industry
- They tend to charge more for access to their specialist knowledge
- May be booked well in advance
- May have non-compete clauses with their clients. For example, if they are already writing marketing materials for a medical device firm they may not be able to take on another medical device firm client.
- May bring a fresh perspective to your industry.
- Tend to charge less than specialist copywriters
- Should have a thorough research process so they still understand your customer, your industry and the important details of your product
- Can sometimes see new selling points that copywriters used to working within the industry may overlook
Some copywriters may also specialise in the style of copywriting that they do. Business to consumer copywriting is not the same as business to business copywriting for example, and writing sales copy isn’t the same as writing SEO copy. There will be a lot of overlap between the different styles, but it’s really important to know what style of copywriting you need before you find a copywriter do help you with it.
B2C Copywriting (Business to Consumer)
B2C copywriting is one of the most common styles that you will see small businesses using online. Any business that sells its product directly to an individual consumer will use B2C copywriting. For example restaurants trying to attract patrons, fashion stores trying to attract customers, gyms trying to attract members.
There are some key differences between B2C copywriting and B2B copywriting, but basically, a copywriter writing B2C is used to writing to appeal directly to the consumer to sell a product or service.
B2B Copywriting (Business to Business)
Business to business copywriters will write copy that sells a product or service to other businesses. For example, a CRM software company will sell its software to a business rather than an individual consumer.
B2B copywriting has a slightly different style to B2C copywriting, as a general rule it focuses less on arousing emotions and focuses on strong benefits backed up with facts and figures about the features.
Businesses may also have a number of different people involved in the buying process. The content you write may have to catch the attention of a project manager dealing firsthand with the problem you solve, but also convince superiors or financial departments about the investment.
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation.”
This means making it as easy as possible for potential customers to find your website through search engines like Google.
SEO copywriting is devoted to writing content that is more likely to get your website found based on keywords that your customer might be looking for.
For example, if you sell dog baskets, you might want your website optimised for search terms such as “how to choose a dog basket” or “buying dog baskets online”. SEO copywriting also looks at optimising other aspects of your web content that can help you rank favourably in the search engines such as meta tags, and also writing meta descriptions for your pages.
SEO techniques have come a long way from invisible content and keyword stuffing, which used to work to elevate your website in the search engines. Nowadays search engines are more sophisticated so they’re not just looking for keywords, they’re looking for content that is well written and that people want to engage with and share.
A good SEO copywriter will write content that ranks well in the search engines, but doesn’t sound like the stream of conscious ramblings of a speak n spell (I always wanted one of those)
Technically, all copywriting when it comes to business, is helping you sell your products or service, but sales copy is the most direct way of promoting what you do and then encouraging people to buy. You may have heard of the terms sales letters, sales pages, squeeze pages and landing pages.
The aim of sales copy is very clear: after reading the copy, the reader should take some kind of action (usually to buy or to send in a return card to request a free information pack to generate leads for sales teams).
People tend to use sales copywriters when they’re launching a specific product or service and use them to write content that encourage people to buy the product.
This may include emails, free reports and various landing pages. In these particular pieces of copy, you will often find headlines, objection handling, strong benefits, and a strong clear call to action (even if that call to action is only to digest the next piece of content in the sales sequence).
Sometimes you just need well written content for your business that doesn’t have to overtly sell any products. Content writing is usually the least expensive option and many writers on freelance sites will offer articles for relatively inexpensive rates.
I don’t advocate using content mills as it is often a false economy. If you want cheap content to bump out your site, you can find writers who will do it, but you’ll probably be too embarrassed to use it. Businesses get a lot more out of hiring someone who understands content marketing and will write articles that people want to share rather than simply “pad” out a site.
If you’re serious about making your website a valuable resource to your customers, try and find someone who has experience building audiences through well written content, rather than low-cost content mills.
Technical writing explains a technical concept or how technology or software works. Technical writers may be thought of as “technical translators” as their audience may be people unfamiliar with the technology being described, but need an understanding of how it works.
The writing, as with all other good writing will be influenced by the audience they’re providing the content for. For example, whether or not the readers are familiar with jargon or need explanations in plain English.
Technical writers may be used for internal communications within an organisation such as work process manuals, or they may be used for customer communication in the form of user manuals for a product or software. They may even be used in the attraction of prospects by communicating technical concepts that can be used as part of marketing campaigns.
So, there’s another way that copywriters can specialise and that is by the medium they write in.
The content you need might come in different shapes and sizes. For example:
- Landing pages
- Squeeze pages
- White papers
- Special reports
- An annual report for company shareholders
Each different medium has a different discipline. Landing pages are different to brochures, and leaflets are different to websites.
That’s all pretty straight forward, but it’s a good idea to think about what types of content you’re looking for when searching for copywriting help.
This prevents you wasting time researching copywriters who aren’t a good fit, and might lead you to a great specialist who can bring a great deal of relevant experience to your project.
This is just a brief round up of the different ways copywriters specialise but it should arm you with a few good ideas and questions to ask your copywriter to assess their suitability for your project.