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12 Copywriting Myths - Busted!

Whether it's an in-house person, an agency or a freelancer, every business needs someone who can write copy that engages with their audience and turns prospects into customers.


But it's surprising how many people need help understanding what copywriters do and how they work. After all, anyone can write, can't they?


grinning monkey with hands on the top of a wall

This is just one of the many things people say when I tell them I'm a copywriter. And my answer is always the same, a very empathic NO!


Let's be clear - these are copywriting myths!


As it's Christmas time, I'm setting the record straight and clearing up some common misconceptions people have about this beautiful profession.


So, here are my 12 myths of copywriting, starting with the one I hear the most.


Very young child writing in a book in pencil

1. Anyone can write copy


Everyone in business writes at some point. It could be an email, sales quote, job acceptance letter or update report. So clearly writing copy for a website, brochure or case study is the same. It can't be that difficult.


Wrong


I can draw (sort of), but I don't claim to be an artist or graphic designer.


Just because someone can write or likes to write it doesn't mean they can write good copy that tells a story.


Despite what people think, copywriting IS an art. There's much more to writing copy than just typing words.


You need to understand grammar, spelling, marketing, the brand you're writing for, their customers, tone of voice and what makes people tick to be able to craft persuasive copy that resonates with the audience.


2. Copywrite and copyright are the same


I've lost count of how often people think I deal with the legal ownership of something, its intellectual property protection.


"So you deal with copyright – patents and trademarks – that sort of thing?"

No. A copywriter is a wordsmith. We understand how to engage the reader, educate, entertain and persuade them to take action. This can be through website content, a blog, a whitepaper, email, social media posts, reports, brochures, eBooks, or case studies…if it involves words, you can bet a copywriter was behind it.



workers standing around a desk cheering with their hands in the air

3. Copywriters will make my company sound great


No, people don't care about how great (you think) your company is or what your CEO has to say. All they want to know is how you can help them, solve a problem or make their lives easier.


If you spend all your time telling them how fantastic you are, they'll go to your competitor, whose more concerned about addressing their problems and needs.


4. You need to use complex words and industry jargon to make us sound clever and authoritative


No, copywriters don't do pompous; we understand how to grab someone's attention quickly and then give them the information they need in a clear, engaging way.


So if you want someone to write about your 'groundbreaking' or 'revolutionary' product or that your service is 'best in class,' don't ask a copywriter; we don't do jargon or hyperbole.



Small monkey smiling at the camera

5. I can get someone to write my copy for about .30p a word


True, BUT a professional copywriter takes time to understand your audience, brand, and tone of voice and will research a subject thoroughly. They can set you apart from the competition rather than churn out standard copy taken from other websites.


If you pay a professional copywriter, you'll get excellent copy, and you won't have to waste your valuable time trying to rewrite poor copy or find another copywriter.


You get what you pay for, so if you pay peanuts….guess who'll be writing your copy!


6. It doesn't take long to write a couple of hundred words or so


Actually, it does. It takes time to research if you want excellent copy that engages with your audience and generates leads and sales. Unless, of course, you want bog standard copy – see #5 above.


A good copywriter can write compelling copy that conveys your message and persuades the reader to take the action you want. And a 300 – 400 web page or news story takes longer to write than a 1,500-word thought leadership article or blog.


Think about it; you've got fewer words to say what needs to be said.


Try it yourself; explain your job in 200 words, then shorten it to 75. Now write a headline


Not so easy. Is it?



Birthday cake with pink icing and 3 corkscrew type candles next to vase of flowers.

7. A copywriter will write something for free, so you can check the quality of their work


No, and why!


Would you expect a cakemaker to bake you a free cake before paying for a birthday cake or a restaurant to give you a free starter before you order your meal? Of course not, so why would you assume a copywriter will write your content for free?


A good copywriter will have a portfolio on their website; if they don't, they can send you some examples of their work.


8. I don't need to send a brief; a copywriter should know what I want


No. Sorry, I'm not a mind reader. I can't magic great copy from a brief that says, "write me an article for x trade magazine" or "write a blog for our website."


I need a bit more info:


  • What's the subject?

  • Who is your audience?

  • What's the reasoning behind the article or blog? What do you want to achieve – Sales, brand awareness, brand authority, or to provide a solution?

  • What's your tone of voice?

  • Do you have brand guidelines?


The better the brief, the better the copy.



Yellow robot on yellow background

9. I don't need a copywriter, I can use AI to write my copy


It depends. If you want copy that sounds robotic and lacks empathy and the human touch, then yes, go ahead and use AI.


But don't be surprised if the copy doesn't speak to your audience, draws them in or addresses their pain points.


Copywriters know how to tell a story that appeals to the reader, evokes emotion and persuades them to take action. I'm still trying to come across automation that can do that!


10. Copywriting is about selling


It's advertising. Copywriters write copy to sell a product or a service; that's what they're about.


No, copywriters write copy that attracts potential customers and helps a business market or sell something by persuading them that the product or service will solve a problem, make their life easier or add value.


Copy on its own does not sell; it's part of the marketing mix. Yes, great copy does help, but if you don't have a clear marketing strategy or even a product or service that people want or need, it doesn't matter how fantastic the copy is.



Typed text with hand marking up proofreading errors in red pen.kes in red pen

11. Copywriters edit and proofread copy as well


No. They're entirely different disciplines.


Any good copywriter will proofread their work and edit it several times before sending it to a client.


But that doesn't mean they're a professional copy editor or proofreader; these are very different disciplines.


In brief:

  • A copy editor checks that the copy makes sense and flows. They check the consistency. They look for errors, fact-check and ensure the text is the correct length and style for the audience.

  • Once the copy has been edited, a proofreader looks at the final written version and checks for any grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting errors before publication.


12. A copywriter can't understand my business


Maybe. We'll never know all about your business or as much as you do, but a good copywriter will talk to you and your team members to understand your business goals, marketing plans, and target audience. They'll research industry topics and customer pain points and look at your competitors, your website, existing brochures and marketing material.


In other words, a copywriter will learn and understand enough about your business to know what your customers want to hear and write it in an engaging and persuasive way.



White brick wall with hole smashed in the middle and 12 Copywriting Myths in blue and Busted in red in the hole

12 myths busted


These are just 12 of the things I've heard people say about copywriters – and to be clear, these are definitely myths!


We don't work for free, read minds or only sell products. We help cultivate meaningful, lasting relationships with your customers by telling a story that gets their attention, makes them curious and then persuades them to take action.


So now I’ve cleared that up, there's just one more thing for me to say:


I don't write for free, and I don't cost the earth. My prices are based on standard industry rates. So if you need help with your online content, someone to write a blog or copy for your website, here's how you can contact me. Let's have a chat.



 


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