• Katy McKay

Copywriting: what is it? Is it for me?

Back in December, I left my comfy marketing job to go it alone as a copywriter. It was a bold but necessary move. Maybe it was a dumb move, only time will tell.

I told my other half. He’s a good man who just lets me get on with things and doesn’t offer much in the way of an opinion.

Some weeks later it came to my attention that he actually thinks I’ve launched a brand new career in copyright law.

Even though I have 20 years of marketing experience, of writing for publications, social media, print, websites, you name it, he thought I’d just sacked off everything I’d ever done and decided on a whim to go into law. And didn’t say a word.


He didn’t know what a copywriter was. But he had heard of ‘copyright’. Easy mistake to make I guess.

Copywriter: someone who writes text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing.

Copyright: the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.

What do I do?


Obviously. Often, I’ll be writing an article or blog post for a client who has given me a subject to write about and I’ll ask what they’d like the blog to do. Is it to drive traffic to their page? Do they want the customer to buy a product? Do they want people to join their group or go to an event?

The same goes for: emails, social media posts, case studies, industry reports, scripts.


For this job I usually have to put in the hours researching their subject. Sometimes this can be internet research, other times I might have to interview people, create a survey, liaise with designers, filmmakers, or do keyword research to help SEO. This is why each project is individual and I can only quote for a project once all these options have been fleshed out.


A lot of the time I’m asked to edit someone else’s writing. I love doing this. I’m good at picking out the gems in seemingly difficult or confusing writing. I like it when a client tips all their thoughts onto paper, then we can work together to see what sticks.


As a marketing copywriter I always approach a job with my old faithful marketing bonnet on.*

When I work with smaller clients who don’t have marketing people, I’ll help plan your campaigns and offer advice. I haven’t actually met another copywriter who doesn’t know about marketing - steer clear of those not prepared to roll their sleeves up!

Other stuff I do

  • Manage projects

  • Source images

  • All of the admin

So, how hard can it possibly be to write your own website pages? Emails? Flyers even? It’s only words isn’t it. I mean, with a lot of reading, researching, and investment of time and money, I could rewire my house. Probably.

But when I electrocute myself, my friends will laugh at me and I’ll regret not asking for professional help.

Sweet analogy, yeah? I’m being daft of course. But the words you use to describe what you offer can be the difference between making a sale and not.

*Looks through recycling bin for materials to fashion an actual marketing bonnet.

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