What you’ll learn
So what does a copywriter do that you, an always-hustling CEO or marketer, can’t?
Let’s be honest—your plate is already overflowing. You’ve got inventory and operations to keep tabs on, plus that potential investor meeting next week. Do you really have extra time to craft compelling messages that not only encapsulate your brand but also drive sales?
A marketing copywriter is your go-to wordsmith for turning browsers into buyers. They’re the unsung heroes who work their magic behind the keyboard, and trust us—they’re worth their weight in gold.
Lyon Content’s badass copywriters boast expertise that transcends beyond pretty words.
We have proven copywriting success stories for crafting captivating content that drives conversions in the beauty, tech, and marketing niches.
Our pack leader at Lyon Content, Christina Lyon, has extensive experience hiring and onboarding copywriters to meet the needs of her diverse clientele. Here, she answers the question “what does a copywriter do?” and shares her hiring process to help you find a professional copywriter that aligns with your business goals.
What Does a Copywriter Do?
Copywriters are experts at crafting compelling messages and written content that amplifies your online presence and incite action from your audience.
In terms of types of content, copywriters can cover a range of formats—from email and website copy to social media posts and press releases. Product descriptions are also fair game, like this cheeky copy we whipped up for our client embody’s SOS gummies:
The secret: Strategic wordplay.
To be effective, copywriters dive deep into your brand and audience, understanding how your product solves their biggest pain points. Then, they channel their inner Sherlock Holmes, deducing which words encourage a purchase or action the fastest. Bottom line? The best copywriting says more with less.
What about blog copywriting? What does a copywriter do when creating blog content?
While blog articles are often classified as content writing due to their educational focus, don’t underestimate the power of a skilled copywriter in this space.
A great blog post is informative first and foremost, but it also subtly guides the reader toward a purchase through clever calls to action (CTAs). That’s where copywriting finesse comes in:
So, what gave us the juice to produce this flirty-fun copywriting for our client?
Important Copywriting Skills to Look For
Scoping out a potential candidate with a digital marketing degree on their resume? That’s a promising start, but where are the rest of the copywriting skills? What does a copywriter do beyond their marketing degree? Do they have demonstrated success writing copy in your niche? A cover letter only offers a glimpse into their writing skills, but it barely scratches the surface of what makes a marketing copywriter truly effective.
Here’s a rundown of the key skills we value and cultivate in Lyon Content’s copywriting team:
Adopting Tone of Voice
Imagine you’re launching a luxury, keratin- and peppermint-infused women’s shampoo brand, free from chemicals and sulfates. You also offer subscription boxes filled with your high-end shampoo and complementary products.
Pantene sells shampoo too, right? And they do it pretty damn well—does that mean your copywriting should mimic theirs? Not a chance. For one, your target audience has different preferences and values, perhaps leaning towards luxury and clean beauty.
Moreover, you want your brand’s unique selling points and personality to win your audience over. To do that, you need a distinguishable brand voice and tone of voice that appeals to them. A proficient copywriter will flawlessly channel your distinct brand voice and tone in every piece of content they deliver.
So, how can you be sure they’re up to the task? Peep their client list and portfolio. If you notice a range of voice variation across their work, that’s a good indicator of their adaptability in tone.
Knowledge of SEO
In 2023, a run-of-the-mill copywriter isn’t enough to meet your marketing goals. You need an SEO copywriter if you want your website to attract the visibility it deserves. For that to happen, every piece of content needs to satisfy search engine criteria for high SERP rankings.
At Lyon Content, our copywriters are well-versed in on-page SEO essentials like how to:
- Organize text
- Infuse high-intent keywords
- Channel Google’s required Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) to rank.
- We also have an in-house SEO specialist to fine-tune our strategies.
The best way to gauge a copywriter’s SEO prowess?
Look past the certifications and focus on their case studies and testimonials. These offer real-world proof of SEO effectiveness.
Check out Lyon Content’s case studies for examples of how we’ve boosted SEO rankings and conversions for our clients.
Ability to Research
What does a copywriter do on the daily? For starters: research, research, and more research. A quick Google search doesn’t cut it. A skilled copywriter is a master of research, diving into sources like Reddit threads, YouTube tutorials, competitor social media, and consumer studies to gather insights.
But research isn’t just about data collection—copywriters need to keep a sharp ear to industry buzz and how it relates to their audience.
A good copywriter informs and fine-tunes their copy from every nugget of relevant research available, including niche trends, news or the latest updates from one-on-one meetings with you.
So, what sets copywriting apart from content writing?
Copywriting vs. Content Writing: What’s the difference?
Emails, blogs, whitepapers, news releases, social media posts—brands put out a lot of content into the world. However, not all content is the same. Generally, most written content falls into two categories: content writing vs copywriting.
- Copywriting is short, punchier text that persuades your audience to take action. This includes landing pages, sales pages, product descriptions, and ads.
- Content writing offers a more in-depth exploration of a topic, aiming to educate your audience (rather than prompt them to take action).
In our comparison article Copywriting vs. Content Writing, we put it best:
Copy converts; content informs.
Content writers need to be strong storytellers. They have the luxury of using a broader word count to dive deep into a subject, all while weaving in your brand’s unique selling points. But content writing isn’t outright promotional; instead, the sell is subtle.
Does that mean copywriters aren’t storytellers? Far from it—they just tell a different story and on a much tighter timeline, meaning they use a limited word count to evoke emotion and inspire action from your audience. That action could be making a purchase or subscribing to your newsletter.
How to Find a Good Copywriter
So, you’re ready to post that copywriter job ad on Indeed or LinkedIn. But how do you sift through the noise to find a gem—a copywriter who not only gets your audience but also elevates your brand’s voice?
Christina says you can use resumes to identify two things: niche experience (though portfolios show that even more), and a writer’s commitment to a role versus job hopping, which you can see in the tenure for each position. Other than that?
“I’m not too interested in resumes and rarely read them. I don’t care about education or skills on paper; I’m much more invested in someone’s talent, ambition, and dependability.”
Read on to discover Christina’s tried-and-true vetting process that’s helped her assemble a committed, talented roster of copywriters:
1. Know Where to Look for a Copywriter
So, what does a copywriter do when they’re not writing? They’re looking for more gigs like yours.
America has over 54,000 writers—and you can’t vet ‘em all. Your best bet is to focus on those who specialize in copywriting, ideally in your brand’s niche. So, if you’re shaking up the beauty world with edible nail polish, you want someone with a few bylines on beauty publications or glowing testimonials from other innovative beauty brands.
Here are a few places you can look:
- Your network
- Job boards like Indeed
Christina’s preference? Look for freelance copywriters within your professional circle.
“Getting a recommendation from someone who has had a positive experience with a copywriter cuts out a ton of recruiting and vetting hours.”
If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have any referrals yet, consider creating your own network by joining industry social media groups.
“I’ve had the most luck finding talented writers on Facebook writing groups,” says Christina.
Why is this approach effective? For starters, you see the personality behind a candidate more easily than in a resume, cover letter, or even a portfolio. This casual environment allows a writer’s talents and passions to really shine, whether they’re answering a question or sharing a valuable resource.
Of course, you can always post a job ad on LinkedIn or Indeed as a backup—though this is more of a formality than a go-to method:
“LinkedIn is hit or miss because you get a ton of resumes, but only a few send portfolios. But I still always put up a listing there if we’re hiring.”
2. Determine What You Need Your Copywriter to Do
Think of your biggest writing challenges beyond the simple to-do list. Are you in need of a web copy refresh or specialized copy for a social media campaign? Reflect on your past approaches and identify areas for improvement.
Maybe your writing needed a stronger connection to the reader, a more playful tone, or the ability to make complex topics accessible and engaging. Keep these considerations fresh in your mind as you evaluate the #1 qualification for a copywriter: their portfolio.
What does a copywriter do for each client? Ultimately, it varies dependin gon the clients needs.
“It’s not just about flashy bylines in big publications,” says Christina. “I’m looking for nuance, diversity, adaptable tone, engaging writing, and then a dose of je ne sais quoi—what’s that special, unique quality that pops off the page?”
Next up? The interview process.
3. Think of Meaningful Questions to Ask Your Potential Copywriter
Isn’t a copywriting interview just as superfluous as a resume these days? Definitely not.
Copywriting isn’t just writing words into a doc. There’s a lot of talking, brainstorming, and interpreting involved. Your copywriter needs the ability to grasp your brand’s essence through conversations with you, even if your vision isn’t fully crystallized.
Interviews provide that missing link that portfolios can’t capture: chemistry with your writer.
“I’ve been blown away by some writers’ portfolios but didn’t hire them because it didn’t feel like the right fit. And conversely, I’ve even hired new writers building their portfolios because I felt like we would work well together.”
So, how do you know if you’ll work well together? Here are some of Christina’s favorite questions to ask:
- Can you share a little about your process?
- What are some of your favorite topics to write about?
- What is your current client roster and workload like?
- Why do you think your experience is relevant to this position?
- What’s your biggest challenge or area to improve?
- Are you comfortable branching into writing other types of content (e.g. if hiring a blog writer, can they also write newsletters, social media copy, etc.)
Impressed with the interview and portfolio? It’s likely your prospective copywriter will flourish in writing your content. However, at Lyon Content, we don’t leave quality and engagement to chance.
4. Test ‘Em Out
Listen, even a seasoned copywriter with a Cosmo byline could tank your brand’s content. Why? Because they’ve never actually written for you before. Writing is a prickly craft that’s often dependent on so many more factors beyond skill and personality.
What does a copywriter do beyond promising you stellar writing? They need to showcase abilities that go beyond writing your content.
Christina swears by paid tests to assess four critical attributes of a copywriter:
- Receptiveness to feedback
- Communication style
- Enthusiasm about the work
- Research and alignment with client style guide and messaging
“A portfolio only shows you the writing, not the process.”
What if the trial doesn’t meet expectations but you see potential? Sometimes, a budding writer just needs the right opportunity to excel. Christina has spotted potential in writers and trusts her gut when she believes they can be trained:
“It’s worth it if you have a driven new copywriter who’s all in on advancing their skills. Otherwise, your investment may be better spent on experienced copywriters with proven results, testimonials, and success metrics.”
And Lyon Content offers just that.
Elevate Your Copy with Lyon Content’s Skilled Copywriters
So, what does a copywriter do for your brand? They articulate your value, enthrall your audience, and most importantly, convince them that you’re the sh*t.
That said, figuring out how to find a good copywriter isn’t easy. You’ll need to do more than tick off skill boxes. The role demands a complex blend of research, adaptability, communication, and genuine passion. Without that whole package, nobody can produce copy that engages or converts.
We’ve dropped the 411 on what to look out for in your search for a solid copywriter. But if you don’t want to take on the grueling process of vetting candidates or reading through endless portfolios, you don’t have to.
Christina’s curated a team of skilled, versatile copywriters who are ready to flawlessly communicate your brand’s selling points, rank your content on Google, and drive more conversions and sales.
Ready to give your brand’s words a glow-up?
Chrissy is a contributing writer at Lyon Content based in Toronto. She loves writing and editing tech, marketing, and lifestyle content. But her favorite part of writing is helping businesses express themselves. When she isn't writing, she's traveling as much as possible and eating a lot of cheese.