On line business news & marketing tips.

Copywriters vs. content writers: What ‘The Gruen Transfer’ can teach you.

As on line content quality becomes more and more critical in achieving high search engine optimisation results and winning new customers, many more site owners will consider the need to buy in professionally written site content.

The problem, of course, is that when you choose a freelance writer for your site content, you want to put the future success of your business in the right person’s hands. Good, fresh, original content makes a website more relevant and rewarding for new prospects, while clumsy, boring or repetitive content turns them off. So how do you choose the right freelancer?

Freelance writers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are trained advertising copywriters. Some have written professionally as journalists. Others may be experienced bloggers, or are simply well educated and have a good command of English, but no formal training.

Is this important when you are looking around for someone to supply content for your website?
Sometimes it is, and if you are going to spend money paying for on line content, you should know when and why.

Even if you only watched one or two episodes of “The Gruen Transfer” on ABC TV,you will know that an ad agency copywriter does a heck of a lot more than just string words together.

In the first place, the individual’s quality as a copywriter depends entirely on the freshnessand impact of his or her ideas, not on the ability to write good, clear English.The ability to write English is simply the cost of entry, (like you can’t be an opera singer if you can’t sing in tune).

In the second place, a professional copywriter is a student of human nature and behaviour
– a good copywriter has the ability to wriggle inside a consumer’s consciousness and understand what makes that target market tick. Professional copy is always written for a particular audience and a specific emotional response.

In the third place, professional copywriters have the experience of working with marketing professionals such as market researchers, client brand managers and agency account executives. They understand concepts such as branding, competitive positioning and target marketing and are able to deliver web content that is sharply focussed on your company, your product and your customers.

This does not mean that freelance writers who are not trained copywriters are unable to write excellent English and good content – and I am sure many do. Nor am I trying to prevent these people from earning a living. They can call themselves freelance writers, freelance website writers, freelance on line content writers or any other kind of freelance writer that ever came up on a Google search. But they cannot add that extra level of professionalism by claiming to be copywriters if they have not had the relevant training and ad agency experience.

Sadly, however, you need absolutely no training or experience to call yourself a freelance copywriter. I know because I once checked the About Me details of 10 featured “freelance copywriters” on the first pages of Google search results. This is what I discovered:
Five had never ever worked in advertising agencies (though one had actually done a correspondence course in copy writing). They had been journalists, school teachers, door to door salesmen, even stand up comics, but none was a professionally trained copywriter with advertising agency experience. Of the remaining 5, all claimed to have top ad agency creative experience, but did not supply any details of the agencies or clients they had worked for.

Should a freelance writer call themselves a Copy Writer if they have been never been trained by or worked at an accredited advertising agency and do not have a CV to prove it? I say definitely not.

After all, no matter how good a home cook you are, would you call yourself a professional chef if you had never ever served an apprenticeship or worked in a restaurant kitchen?

By the way, this is why I really am a copywriter:
I have more than 30 years experience working for many of Australia’s leading advertising agencies as a copywriter and Creative Director, including Lintas, McCann Erickson, Doyle Dane Bernbach and John Singleton Advertising.
I’ve been lucky enough to write advertising copy for many Australian brand leaders – including Coca Cola, Weetbix, Penfolds Wines, Helena Rubinstein, Bankers Trust, MLC Investments, Subaru, IBM, Volkswagen, Hyatt Hotels, Pizza Hut, Lufthansa, Caterpillar, Optus and Olivetti.
I have received many Australian and international awards for creative excellence in advertising, including the Venice Advertising Film Festival, the American One Show of Advertising, FACTS Australia and AWARD Australia.

For more information and a detailed CV: