What is a Copywriter?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an acquaintance that went something like this:

Person:               So what do you do for work?

Me:                        I work at an ad agency, I’m a copywriter.

Person:               Oh, so that’s like an underwriter?

Me:                        ……….

michael scott


KIDDING. The truth is, it wasn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question and it won’t be the last. And like any self-righteous proud copywriter, I’ll gladly jump at any chance to divulge info about what I do.

If you know anything about copywriting or underwriting, you’ll already know they’re actually vastly different:

Copywriting is defined as the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.

Underwriting is defined as services [that] are provided by some large specialist financial institutions, such as banks, insurance or investment houses, whereby they guarantee payment in case of damage or financial loss and accept the financial risk for liability arising from such guarantee. An underwriting arrangement may be created in a number of situations including insurance, issue of securities in primary markets, and in bank lending, among others.

See? Vast difference, albeit they both contain “writing”. But, it got me thinking about the concoction of traits that make a good copywriter. Here are a few “must-haves” off the top of my head:

  1. Must Be Creative – at least to an extent. Must be able to be creative within given confines, and pair that with strategy. And never stop having ideas. IDEAS ARE KING.
  2. Must Have Thick Skin – Remember your teachers forcing you to grab that required red pen and peer grade under the almighty term “constructive criticism?” Yeah, it comes from all angles as a writer, so must be able to handle that in a professional manner, but still defend your work when you know you should.
  3. Must Be Curious – And ready and willing to do RESEARCH! Copywriting involves getting your head in several different projects, sometimes multiple in a day, and you need to be able to get up to speed quickly and write like you’ve known the subject all your life.
  4. Must Be Able to Conquer Writer’s Block – If you’re a writer, you’ve encountered this at some point, and you’ve got methods to get through it.
  5. Must Be Imaginative and Inspired – this goes back to #1 – IDEAS ARE KING. Creative copywriters tend to be naturally imaginative (a blessing and a curse) and are continually pumping out new ideas. They also know where to find sources of inspiration to spark new ideas or ways to build on old ones.
  6. Must Love Pencils. #2s with strong erasers are also king.

BONUS:  Now more than ever, you should be familiar with writing for SEO.


So, no – copywriting is nothing like underwriting. For more about what a copywriter does, check back for more posts in the near future, or drop us a line info@affirmagency.com. AFFIRM specializes in many creative services including copywriting. Learn more at https://affirmagency.com/about/services/ .







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