What is a “Copywriter,” Anyway?

A copywriter is simply a writer – a writer stuck with a silly and needlessly confusing title.

If I had a dime for every time someone asked me this question, I could stop being one. (I wouldn’t, though, because I love the work.)

A copywriter is simply a writer — a writer stuck with a silly and needlessly confusing title.

Most of the text you read in a given day — memos, newsletter articles, billboard advertisements, corporations’ websites, sales letters, junk mail — is called “copy” in the business world. Copywriters are simply those professionals hired to write this stuff — for businesses, government agencies, politicians, charities or other types of organizations. I write website text, press releases, articles for magazines, speeches, educational materials, newsletters — all called copy.

Now that you know what we copywriters do, you can see what a goofy job title we have. “Copy” just means words. That means we are described essentially as “writers of words.” (This ensures we’re not confused with writers of something else, I suppose — lamps, for example.)

It’s an odd quirk of the profession that “copywriter” contains such an obvious redundancy right in the title — especially odd when you consider this is a profession of people supposedly good with words.

Just in case you were curious.

About the Author

Robbie Hyman is a professional communications and public affairs writer. He has 15 years’ experience writing for nonprofits, small business and multibillion-dollar international organizations and is available as a freelance writer for federal agencies.

Robbie has written thousands of pages of content, including white papers, speeches, published articles, reports, manuals, newsletters, video scripts, advertisements, technical document and other materials. He is also co-founder of MoneySavvyTeen.com, an online course that teaches smart money habits to teenagers.