"What exactly do copywriters do?"

If you've ever asked that question, don't worry, you're in good company. 

When most people find out I'm a copywriter, they look puzzled, as they're not sure what that means. 

So what, exactly, do copywriters do?

Copywriters use the power of words to write relevant, compelling, and readable content that speaks directly to the people in a target market. The copywriter's goal is to influence or persuade those individuals to purchase a product or service. 

So, you might say that a copywriter is a highly-skilled salesperson who chooses words and phrases carefully to influence readers and compel them to take action, and that action often involves buying something. 

Copywriting's earliest history

Supposedly, copywriting goes back to circa 3000 BC and a papyrus fragment where a Babylonian merchant named Hapu advertised a reward for anyone who could help find his slave, Shem. 

Hapu wanted Shem returned to his shop "where we weave the best fabrics according to the taste of each individual."

That was a clear and concise sales pitch if you needed some fabric. 

Copywriting and the printing press

The invention of movable type was a big boost for the copywriting industry. 

The Chinese were using woodblock printing as early as the 9th century.

And the Koreans were using movable metal type to print on paper a century before Johannes Gutenberg invented his printing press. 

Now, despite those facts, most historians agree that Gutenberg's printing press revolutionized printing.

The Gutenberg press enabled affordable mass production of manuscripts, books, and newspapers. 

The first newspaper ad in the U.S. appeared in the Boston News-Letter and was a real estate ad selling a plantation on Oyster Bay, Long Island. 

Now, along with the explosion in print advertising came copywriting. 

The father of modern copywriting

John Emory Powers is said to be the father of modern copywriting. 

Before starting freelancing in 1886, he worked as a copywriter for the department stores Lord & Taylor and Wannamaker's. 

Powers famously said:

"The first thing one must do to succeed in advertising is to have the attention of the reader. That means to be interesting. The next this is to stick to the truth, and that means rectifying whatever's wrong in the merchant's business. If the truth isn't tellable, fix it so it is. That is about all there is to it."

I love this quote, because there are too many copywriters today who do not "stick to the truth."

Far too many twist the truth, distort facts and data, use hyperbole, and outright lie about the products and services they're helping their clients to sell.

Just look at some of the digital products on affiliate marketing sites, and you'll see many copywriting examples that showcase poor writing and deception.

Look, in every industry there are always a few, or sometimes more than a few, undesirable characters. 

And the copywriting industry is no exception.   

what exactly do copywriters do?

That's why it's vital to ensure you hire a copywriter with the highest standards of integrity and honesty. 

I know you don't want to ruin your or your company's reputation with misleading advertising copy. 

Below you can see 2 of Power's copywriting ads for the Murphy Varnish Co. 

As you read these short but powerful ads, you won't see hyperbole, the twisting of facts or data, or any deception. 

Those things are not needed to write relevant, compelling, clear copy.

what exactly do copywriters do?

A Power's Style Magazine Ad for the Murphy Varnish Co.

Do You Need A Copywriter?

The answer to the question, "do you need a copywriter" depends on the objective of a particular piece of writing.

For educational, informational, or entertainment purposes, a skilled article or blog post writer is the best person for the job.

And for posts where you want to persuade readers to take action to buy your products or services, you're definitely going to want to hire a skilled copywriter with high standards of integrity and honesty. 

That way, you maintain your and your company's stellar reputation, while persuading the readers in your target audience to purchase your products and become your lifelong, happy customers.

And that's what you want, right?

Summary

A copywriter is like a highly-skilled salesperson who chooses words and phrases carefully to influence and compel readers and listeners to take action, and that action often involves buying products or services. 

When considering hiring a copywriter it's vital to find someone with the highest standards of integrity and honesty. Your and your company's stellar reputation are vital to your continued success and to having happy, life-long customers.

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