This Week’s Question: Copywriter or Content Writer?

website question & answer with redbox studio

Besides clients who email us, once in a while, we get friends who ask for help too. This week a copywriting question came in.

A friend called Mich had asked if anyone could help her with the copywriting for her company profile.

From experience, most people don’t know what copywriting is. Some think it has everything to do with copyright (as in trademarking and copyrighting). Copywriting is NOT copyrighting.

Copywriting is about writing copy. Copy refers to written material (words or text) for magazines, advertising and books.

On the other hand, copyrighting or copyright is “a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative work” (source).

Mich definitely needed copywriting help. Most people lump writing, proofreading, editing and even re-writes under the umbrella term of copywriting.

At Redbox Studio, we provide website copywriting services if a client takes up our premium web design package.

I personally am involved in the web design project where I will write the website copy. It’s what I enjoy and I have years of experience doing this and I know exactly how to position the client and her story using words.

We don’t do copywriting for print materials like brochures or company profiles because eventually the copy will be used by a graphic designer who doesn’t understand the power of well-designed copy.

I majored in Journalism and I have experience with layout (back in those days it was QuarkXpress!) and copy by itself can be design.

In Penang, in the hands of a graphic designer who doesn’t read and doesn’t like to read, words are just the extras to fill up the empty space in a design. So no, I don’t allow my words to be torn up like trash by designers who don’t appreciate nor value copy.

I asked Mich to email me so I could understand what she needed. She emailed me a written draft which was already placed into a mock-up or draft design.

She said her colleague helped her with the copywriting and now she feels it’s too lengthy and needs to be shortened/summarised. The design had to be re-envisioned too.

I took a look at the write-up. It was grammatically correct. It read like an essay. It described the business and its products.

But it wouldn’t put her business into the spotlight.

It didn’t excite the senses. It just described the business.

Copywriting is about exciting the reader and making the reader go “wow”.

Wow is not just about being radical or impressive.

Wow is about the reader thinking, “This business is unique. This business understands my needs. This business gets it. This business can help me!”

After reading the draft, I told her that it can definitely be written better but then again, very few people understand that marketing and writing must go together.

It’s not about getting the writing grammatically correct but it must excite and make the business a compelling winner.

I didn’t want to criticise the person who wrote her copy but I wanted to highlight the difference between copywriting and content writing.

The person who wrote her copy may be a competent writer but she/he is not helping ‘sell’ the products and business the way a copywriter could.

I suggested to her that if she wanted to create a good company profile, she should look for a designer who can work with the person who wrote her copy.

It’s not just about making the copy shorter. She could make the copy shorter but people still wouldn’t read it.

This is where the graphic designer must be clever enough to design the copy in a way that encourages people to read the profile, not just flip through it in boredom!

Eventually, I referred Mich to a friend who runs an advertising agency. She definitely needed the help that a good agency can provide her.

I wish I could help her more but we don’t offer copywriting services for brochures or company profiles.

Our expertise is in creating websites with marketing, copywriting and positioning. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past 19 years.

[If you want to know what goes into designing a website that works for your business, get a copy of our book, Web Wisdom. It is sold at our website as well as at Gerak Budaya Bookshop, Precious Pages and Areca Books at The Star Pitt Street.]

Hope this post has been helpful!


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