The situation I’m about to describe may be frustratingly familiar to copywriters.
I was having a conversation with a friend one time, and we got on to talking about what we do for a living. I told her I was a copywriter, and she asked me ‘what does that mean?’
I went on to tell her it involves writing words for brands and companies, and used the time I wrote copy for a local council’s website as an example. She looked bamboozled.
‘What does that have to do with copyright?’ she asked. She thought my work was to do with the law.
As annoying and as frequently something like this can happen, it’s easy to see where the confusion comes from. Say copywrite out loud, and it sounds like copyright.
But it is annoying
As the copywriter Julia McCoy explains for Express Writers:
“One thing that irks me the most is when people say: ‘Oh, you do copyrighting? Can you protect my buddy’s song he just wrote for infringement?’
“No, people. It’s writing. With a pen. I write copy. Letters. Words. Things on a page. Online. No, it’s not coding. More like blogging. Sigh… Can we stop the confusion already?”
Well Julia, allow me to suggest how we can stop the confusion: we cease to be copywriters, and become brandwriters.
In the service of brands
“99 per cent of copywriting is in the service of brands,” outline Roger Horberry and Gyles Ringwood in their 2014 book Read Me. They go on:
“A brandwriter is a copywriter who creates words for brands. Those words can appear pretty much anywhere a brand wishes to communicate. Packaging copy for a breakfast cereal? Brandwriting. Web text for an online store? Same again. Brochure for a charity …”
It’s a pretty simple explanation. But an accurate one, too. Sure, if you were to say you’re a brandwriter to somebody, it’s pretty likely they’d still ask ‘what does that mean?’
But this way, they’re less likely to wrongly assume you protect things using legal knowledge.
What do you think?
Should copywriters rename themselves brandwriters? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.