April 23

10 Fun Facts About Copywriters

Today, let’s talk about all things fun in the copywriting community. When you work with a copywriter, you expect professionalism, expertise, and kick-ass results, right? With great copywriters, though, you’re getting so much more than a robot with a pen and paper. Here are 10 fun things you might not have known about copywriters before.

Most copywriters have very little formal training.

You’d be hard-pressed to find any universities that offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Copywriting, and yet there are hundreds of books and thousands of articles written on the subject. For that reason, most copywriters have more of a DIY education – cobbled together from what they’ve read, practiced, and had success with. Some of us (ahem) have real-world experience working for big-name marketers and learning copy on the job.

Does that mean that if the writer you’re working with hasn’t trained on the job or graduated with a marketing degree, they’re worthless? Depends on your view, I suppose, but judging by the number of sales copywriters help their clients get every day, I think not.

It does mean, though, that you should vet your copywriter. Find out where their experiences have been and look at a couple of samples before you get started. Ask lots of questions, and make sure you’re comfortable with the level of expertise your copywriter has before you sign a contract.

Copywriters bring in SERIOUS money.

Like, billions (with a B) of dollars annually. Check out these quotes:

“Copy is critical to sales. Social media can help with brand awareness and it can drive some traffic, but to sell big numbers of a product that’s not something you really need — especially one that costs $79 — you may need 2,000 to 3,000 words of copy on a web page. I know this because I regularly write these pages and one of them just generated well over $1.5 million in revenue and represented 63% of the company’s sales in 2013. Confidentiality keeps me from revealing all, but it was in the golf space. You need a roof over your head more than you need golf equipment. Tweets will not sell much golf equipment, but a finely-tuned landing page can generate massive revenue.” — Bill Bonner, from the article, Is Copy Dead? The Surprising Answer

“Copy is critical to the success of Eagle Financial Publications in that it’s what sells our products — period. Good, effective copy rings true in the ears (eyes?) of the reader/viewer, identifies with that person’s feelings on the subject, then offers a clear-cut way to benefit the reader. It doesn’t matter how the technology evolves for delivering copy, whether it’s typewritten words on a page, beautifully laid-out documents for online delivery, video landing pages, or whatever’s next — even holographic promos … the bottom line is the promo will succeed or not, based on how effective the copy is.” — Wayne Ellis, Eagle Publications

“One of my clients reported that my new copy generated a 64% increase in conversions. Another reported an average open rate of 45.1% and a 14% click-through-rate for my email campaigns. Copywriting is certainly the key factor in these results.” — Steve Coombes, AWAI’S 2018 COPYWRITING PRICING GUIDE

Copywriters usually have a LOT of cynicism and a “darker” sense of humor that they work really hard not to let clients see.

It’s true. Copywriters can sometimes be asses. But we try really hard not to let you see that side of us, so we get those jokes and sarcastic comments out before we talk to you. And after. Sometimes, while we’re talking to you, we’re also sending sarcastic texts to friends, but believe me, it has to get out somewhere. Might as well let copywriters get it out on our friends.

Part of that is having entire Facebook groups filled with copywriters to share in. Most of the sharing tends to be tips, tricks, and wins, but many posts are also pictures taken out in town of awful copy, like this:

And this:

If you want to see more, search most social media sites for the hashtag: #copyfail

The most time-consuming part of copywriting isn’t the writing; it’s the research.

Copywriters are either great researchers, or they know how to hire others to be great researchers  for them. Writing excellent copy that brings in $25,000.00 in sales in two weeks takes knowing the product and then knowing the audience better than we know our own children (mostly).

Part of the longer time estimates for projects comes from this research piece. While writing a piece only takes an hour or two, research can easily take days or weeks, especially if the client has a difficult or complicated product.

We are SO used to rejection that hearing “no” doesn’t even register as a negative anymore.

I’m not sure if the only people who succeed at copywriting are those who are most stubborn, or if being a copywriter forces everything except sheer force of will out of you. Either way, you can’t be a copywriter for long before the word “no” sounds a lot more like, “Not now, thanks. Please ask again soon.”

It’s not that we mean to be ornery. It’s just that so many people really do need what we offer, and want it as well, but they don’t know that when we first talk to them. So we’re pretty used to talking to people over and over again, being told no a thousand times, only to be told yes in a HUGE way months later. Hanging in there with potential clients nearly always pays off.

Next time you’re at a copywriter’s house for dinner, and you say no to seconds, don’t be surprised if you get served seconds anyway. Like I said, we don’t mean to ignore that word. It just…happens.

No one outside the marketing and business world understands what copywriting is, so we get a lot of off-topic questions.

The age-old “Will you write me into your next book?” If they mean “will you take a personal story I’ve shared with you and use it to sell hemorrhoid cream” then sure!

“Oh, that’s fun. What do you do for money?”

I write. It pays the bills. It is a real job with real benefits. I mean, not benefits like health insurance that I don’t have to pay for. But money is cool.

Copywriters come in so many shapes and sizes.

When most of the public thinks about writers, they tend to picture slender people dressed completely in black, wearing shades and drinking coffee as they click-click on the typewriter.

Not so.

Copywriters are in their sixties, done working in an office and ready to use their expertise from a thirty-year career to launch a new freelancer career. Copywriters are also young twenty-year-olds who have no plans to ever go to college, but a willingness to learn and a knack for writing. Copywriters are everything in between – parents, business owners, old, young, thin, fat, queer and straight.

(For the record – I’m in my early 30s, a mom of the most adorable toddler this side of the Mississippi, and I work in my home office located square in suburbia. And I have 7 cats. 6 of them are gray. And yes, I can tell them apart.)

Copywriters are results-driven, just as much as CEOs.

That’s because our clients are only happy if our writing gets them sales, and lots of them. It makes copywriters different because we have to be driven, just like our clients. We also have to keep up on all of the latest marketing trends, platforms, and even financial trends.

Plus, to write sales copy, you’ve gotta be into sales. Like, hardcore! There’s not a lot about selling that I don’t know or don’t readily learn, and I use it in every project I do.

To that end, we sometimes obsess. A few writers are also die-hard runners. Nobody I know, but I’ve seen it places. Some copywriters knit like fiends. Many a copywriter has an unnatural love for Dr. Who (I’m not one of them, but I’ve been known to binge-watch my favorite shows on Netflix at least three times.)

My husband has completely stopped watching Shark Tank with me because I will make him pause it while I explain how their pitch could have been better. He apparently doesn’t think watching a TV show should be that deep of a learning experience. I don’t really get it, but whatever.

Many copywriters have a “thing.” Not an addiction, but close.

Some copywriters drink enough coffee to change their title to “coffee-writer.”

(Okay, that was lame.)

My point is, copywriters spend an awfully long time sitting at their desks every week, and as a result, they usually develop habits to keep them going, like never-ending tea drinking or binging on a single album for months.

Some copywriters live with seven cats, because then there’s always one ready to cuddle in their laps. (Ahem.)

Some writers (ahem again) have a foot massager directly under their desk and regularly indulge in 20-minute foot massages. (As a side note, hit me up if you want one. I’ll find you a discount. Yeah, it’s my client.)

Most copywriters come just short of full-blown addiction, but we’ve all got to have something to keep us going.

Copywriters are pretty damn generous.

In many industries, there’s so much competition that no one with the same title dare speak to each other. With copywriters, the competition is equally as fierce, and yet not so – copywriters are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met.

We share our successes and failures, what has worked for us and what hasn’t. We pass along job leads and referrals and give references like it’s nobody’s business. If a copywriter ever needs anything – from a source to an in at a company – all they have to do is reach out to the greater copywriting community, and chances are their need will be met.

Earlier I mentioned the Copywriter groups on Facebook – I’m in one, and every day there are dozens of posts asking about pricing and clients and help-me-figure-this-out and workshopping headlines. Super active, super engaged – like a real community of writers from all different backgrounds. And we share resources, jobs, feedback, jokes…

It’s pretty darn cool.

So what about you? What are some of the fun facts about people in your industry?

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