Guest blog: Copywriting for business

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Cornwall is getting a national reputation as a bit of a centre of excellence for copywriting… which makes it all the stranger that so few local businesses seem to know what we actually do, writes David McGuire.

Copywriting seems to have become one of those mysterious, arcane arts that get blank stares and polite nods at networking events. There’s a lot of confusion over what a copywriter actually does (hint: it’s nothing to do with copyright) and — more importantly — why you might need one.

Making words work harder

First and foremost, your humble copywriter is the one you turn to when your words need impact. Web pages, emails, letters, scripts… even good old-fashioned adverts.

And with the rise of content marketing, it’s essential to make sure all those lovely white papers, case studies and blog posts are helpful, informative and (above all) read. Content that nobody enjoys reading is a waste of everyone’s time… not to mention a chunk of your marketing budget.

We’ll take your thoughts, polish them up, and give them a little bit of oomph to make sure the punches land… whether that’s advanced linguistic alchemy, or just making you sound like you, but better.

Don’t fear the grammar

Naturally, we can help you avoid howlers with apostrophes… but don’t assume we’re all word-obsessed pedants who form mobs to protest “Five Items or Less” signs in supermarkets (actually, sometimes “less” is more… appropriate).

Remember all those set-in-stone rules you were taught at school about starting sentences with “And”, splitting infinitives and the like? We’re more than happy to break them should the need arise.

And that really is the truth.

Find your own voice

One area marketers are increasingly aware of is “tone of voice” copywriting – or, to be more precise “voice and tone” (they’re not the same thing, you see… ask us about it sometime).

In short, where you might work with a designer to define how your brand looks, a copywriter can help you decide how it should sound. Are you traditional? Relaxed? Perhaps even a touch irreverent?

A bouncy, jolly style really helped Innocent Smoothies to stand out from the crowd, but it’d be a disaster for… oh, I don’t know… Coutts. And if your visual and verbal identities don’t match, the results can be interesting.

More than words

Good copywriters aren’t only about words, mind you. (In fact, we think it’s a bit weird when a copywriter keeps saying how much they love words. It’s like an architect who loves bricks; they’re a means to an end – it’s the house that matters.)

When you work with a really great copywriter, you get an added bonus. Often, the questions we ask you will make you think… and maybe clarify your own ideas a little bit, about your brand, your route to market and – crucially – which are the most important messages your audience needs to hear.

Luckily, Cornwall is blessed with oodles of excellent writers. There are agencies and freelancers who work with top local, national and international brands… and they’re right on your doorstep. That’s got to be worth a coffee and a chat, surely?

About the author: David McGuire is principal consultant and lead copywriter at Penryn-based B2B copywriting and marketing agency, Lungfish.