I’m a Copywriter and Content Creator in Algarve, Portugal.
Every time I tell someone that I’m a copywriter I always have to explain them what that means. And the ones that don’t ask seem to grasp the wrong concept thinking that’s something to do with plagiarism or writing something over and over again. “I write advertising concepts and slogans” is what I usually say or “I’m a writer that sells brands”. But my work is easily explained: “Copy” is a text that is meant to be replicated, or copied, in magazines, websites, commercials, billboards etc.
But there’s so much more to it.
Brands are much more than products.
A brand is a personality, it can be old, wise, sporty or funny. These characteristics are not only developed but also created by someone that understands what is best to be perceived as. Someone like me. Why? Because understanding your target audience is fundamental.
A copywriter needs empathy.
The ability to relate is imperative when you want to find out what people I really after. It’s a copywriter job to understand the target audience, their fears, desires, motivations and desperations, and use that in the copy. You can only do this if you are able to connect with people and listen/observe carefully what they want and who they really are.
An Ad Men has to dig deep into why people do things to explore and promise to fulfil that specific need, even and more importantly if it’s not obvious.
Psychologist in training and Social expert.
To be able to understand which feelings are to be explored in a certain advertisement I really have to study what is the meaning behind an action. For example: People don’t really buy toothpaste for healthy teeth. They buy it because by brushing their teeth are promised a perfect smile and fresh breath that is vital in social interactions. So, the feeling here is the need to feel accepted and welcomed and experience a close social interaction and don’t face a rejection due to bad teeth or bad breath. An Ad Men has to dig deep into why people do things to explore and promise to fulfil that specific need, even and more importantly if it’s not obvious.
Research is everything.
I constantly tell myself a Jon Snow’s “I know nothing”. I spend 90% of my time researching, many believe that that it’s not real work, or that is time spending surfing the web, but they don’t know what they are talking about. I think here lies what separates great copywriters from bad ones. As I said before, a copywriter must understand its audience. That is done only through research. I usually search for what’s already done, competitor’s communication, talk to clients and asked them directly, and if the client is offline I go to their stores and check their product as it is. But not only that. For me to talk about a product I have to understand how it’s made, who makes it and why. So I end up with a pretty clear and extensive knowledge of the entire business before I even write a single phrase.
Writing is like painting words on a canvas.
I often compare my work to the designers, as they erase lines, I erase words. I usually start with summing up my research, making a small bullet point list of feelings or important topics and from there I write a brief summary of what I have to do. Then, I try some ideas, write and re-write until something good comes out. Usually everything that comes out first I don’t use. I believe the brain has to run a bit until it starts working at full speed. I’m usually in a quiet place, listening to music that helps me focus. I try several different approaches to the topic. I show them to some trustworthy people to check them and shorten the list. Then again I go to work and improve what is there. Then it’s time to show to the client.
The client doesn’t know best, but it pays best.
If it was up to me I would be writing high fantasy novels for a living but it turns out I write like a slug when it comes to 100+ pages. So, I’m a Copywriter, writing copy and having ideas for a living. And that living is paid by our clients. I have to please them. To some extent, without ever compromising quality. Copywriting is a tricky profession as everybody learns how to write in any given developed country, and so everyone has an opinion. After that feedback I tweak the copy until is perfect to print.