Copywriting Q&A Part 1: What is Copywriting and What Does a Copywriter Do?

Are you ready to meet our copywriters...? 🤓

Welcome to our series on copywriting! For this, our very own Hot Mess Head Copywriter Jessica Rae chatted with copywriter Alex Turner and Hot Mess Head of Marketing Rebekah Pearson about all things copywriting.

In our first instalment, we dive into:

❓ What is copywriting?

❓ What does a copywriter do?

❓ What does copywriting help with?

❓ How does copywriting help you promote your ecommerce store?

...We also dive into SEO from a copywriter’s perspective! This Q&A series breaks down all things Copywriting, so if you’re interested in how words can raise your revenue, check this out! And stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

For now, let’s talk copy!


What is copywriting?

Copywriting is an art form - let’s just start there ;) But seriously, copywriting is any of the written content that you put out there into the world, on your website (i.e. digital copywriting), or in print, like business cards or flyers, or in advertising spaces like radio, TV or billboards. It’s any written content that you use to market and advertise your business.

Think of it like persuasive writing - it’s writing with purpose. Copy is written content with the purpose of getting that audience to perform a certain task. So this also covers calls to action, because it is designed to get people to behave, or act, in a certain way

What is the role of a copywriter?

Generally speaking, the role of a copywriter is to connect with your audience and persuade them, with their persuasive writing, to perform a certain action.

But this really depends on the business goal that is being sought to achieve. To look at it from the client’s perspective, the copywriter is responsible for understanding the brief and translating that into a brand voice and providing text (copy) that resonates with the target audience.

The scope can be anything - from writing brand new copy for new web pages, revising existing copy, coming up with headlines or straplines, product descriptions, blog posts and email newsletters, right down to the wording for specific buttons on your sales page. A good copywriter understands your specific audience and then develops a brand language to speak to that audience in a way that moves them to act - whether that is to sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase.

Where does the role of a copywriter fit in?

At Hot Mess, we think that the role of a copywriter is a really important one. But hiring one depends on your budget and what you need done. They can help you out with so many aspects of your business, but there are some core areas that they have particular expertise in.

1. Develop a brand voice

A copywriter can help develop a brand voice for your business if you don’t already have one. Copywriters are highly attuned to different tones and styles and they are the ideal person to perfectly capture the unique personality of your business in word form.   

They can represent this personality across all your content, ensuring that you stand out to your audience, and that your audience can quickly identify you from your competitors, and build rapport with you. Copywriters can also help you with keeping your brand voice consistent across all your social channels and newsletters for example.

2. Writing copy for landing pages, product pages, emails, blogs, video scripts, ads

If you don’t have the time or bandwidth to do all the marketing, or you want an expert who can do it more efficiently (and better - is their skill set, after all 👀) - a copywriter can write anything you want them to write.

Whether that is an important landing page, a sales page, a product page, your onboarding email sequence, your newsletters, your blogs, your video scripts… Copywriters are like word magicians, and they can perform some word wizardry that can really support your business and drive growth. Sounds like something you’d want, right?

3. Transform your ideas into persuasive stories that sell

One of the other things about copywriters is that at heart, they are storytellers. They can listen to you recount a simple experience or a fact, and they can weave a whole story around it that can draw your audience in, delight them, and leave them hooked wanting more. Or maybe you have an idea but you’re not quite sure how to frame it - this is the copywriter’s job.

They can take an idea, even if it’s just a tiny baby nugget, and they can transform it into a whole story that your customers fall in love with - your audience will be falling over themselves trying to buy what you’re selling.

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4. Take some of the mental load off!

Some people love writing, and some people hate it. And some people love it, but they just don’t have the time and energy to write and do all of the other things that go into running a business. So one of the main tasks that a copywriter can do is that they can take some of the tasks off your plate, so you can focus on what you do best, and they can take care of the writing.

Sometimes all you need to do is whisper “I was thinking about doing this thing….” and the copywriter knows. They know. Before you know it, they’ve whipped up that idea into a whole marketing story, drafted the words, and all you need to do is check it over and hit publish. If you ask them nicely, they might even do that for you. That’s magic, right? And it’s a massive time and energy saver - a good thing if you’re a busy business owner spinning a lot of plates.

Up until now, we’ve talked a lot about the idea of written content, and how copywriters can do it so well. We’ve talked about how this content is written with intent - the intent to persuade.

But there’s another aspect to it too. The copy can be written with an intent to be found.

Ready to come out of hiding and put your glorious business out there in the world? Welcome to the world of Search Engine Optimization - or SEO for short.

What is SEO and why does it matter?

SEO is a whole niche in itself, but broadly speaking, it refers to the process or the actions you can take to help improve your site’s visibility and ranking in search engines - Google in particular - to increase traffic to your site. (We focus on Google because in 2021, Google holds nearly 92.5% of the share of the search engine market…!)

So SEO is about optimizing your content or your ads so that - where relevant - it matches up with what people are searching for. Ideally, Google thinks that your site is such a good match that it places your site in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) - with the goal to get on to the first page of Google.

One of the ways to do this is to use specific keywords in your content - the keywords that your audience are using when they ask questions. This takes a bit of research, but if you are choosing high quality and relevant keywords, this will greatly help you reach the audience you want to reach.

There are many aspects to SEO - it can cover anything from ‘on-page SEO’ like keywords and keyword placement in strategic places like meta descriptions, page title, headings and content, to other strategies like developing backlinks.

But we don't want to overwhelm you - you don’t have to do everything. User experience is a huge part of SEO, so if you focus on the foundations like having a speedy site, and providing a good user experience with high quality content, you’re already on your way to optimizing your site for search engines.

Why is SEO a long game?

The other thing to mention about SEO here is that it is not going to give you overnight results.

Doing SEO optimization work can take 6 to 9 months before you start to see traction and traffic building. It takes time for the work you do now to take root and for Google to see that and respond by placing your site higher in its search return.

It’s worth putting in some effort though. But bear in mind that Google’s algorithms change often as they get more sophisticated, more nuanced and learn more about people’s behaviour online and their habits. If you’re playing the SEO game properly, also known as White Hat SEO, this will work in your favor. Giving people a good experience is Google’s primary objective - and it should be yours as well.

Final Thoughts💭

Uh oh, this is all we’ve got time for in our first post in this series! In our next posts we’ll be diving into what copywriting can do specifically for ecommerce brands, as well as the importance of storytelling - plus whether or not you should have a blog on your website.

For now though, let’s wrap up this post on what copywriters do and what copywriting is - and we’ll leave you with our final piece of advice: you don’t have to do it all.  

You don’t have to be showing up on all the channels - just the main one or two your audience are on. You don’t even have to do all the writing yourself - copywriters can take small jobs off your plate and make light work of a product or landing page and make your life so much easier! And if you’re just starting out or your budget doesn’t quite stretch to hiring a copywriter, you don’t have to do it all at once. Learn one thing at a time, optimize one page or product description at a time and build from there.

“Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now.” 

Cheers to your success!


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