My business (at Connotations) is one of stringing words and phrases together to create content for a variety of media. Using a liberal definition, just about all the content I create could be considered copywriting. I generate written copy designed to encourage readers to take some sort of action. Whether it is blog articles, case studies, product descriptions or social media blasts, the words I produce are designed to do something other than take up space on a computer screen or a piece of printed literature.
The process of creating valuable copy requires quite a bit of creativity. Yet one of the things I find difficult is trying to quantify the value of the creative copywriter to the overall process of content creation. How much is a creative copywriter worth? How much do I charge for services in light of the amount of creativity it takes to do what I do?
After doing this for a number of years now, I have reached the conclusion that a creative copywriter is priceless. There is no way to put a value on creative copy that achieves its purpose. I have to try – because I have to get paid – but the most creative copy out there conveys its message in a way that cannot be accomplished by any other means.
So What’s the Difference?
If you are a regular Connotations client, you might be questioning whether all of this is made up for the purposes of preparing you for a rate increase. Rest assured it’s not. Allow me to explain the difference between copy and creative copy to help you better understand where Connotations is coming from.
Copy is, in the strictest sense, a collection of words and sentences designed to sell a product. Anybody can write it. Copy is just information. Creative copy is different in a number of ways. First, it does more than just convey the information necessary to complete the sale. It is about more than just getting information into the hands of the customer.
Creative copy is about putting that information out there in a way that evokes participation from the recipient. In light of that, the creative copywriter has to be a visionary capable of making a connection. The creative copywriter has to be able to pique the interest of readers enough to get them to start reading, then draw them in so that they continue reading through to the end. The writer must then finish by prompting some sort of action by readers.
What Does It Take to Be Creative?
Now you know the difference between straight copy and creative copy. The next question is this: what does it take to be a creative copywriter? The answer is multifaceted.
First, creativity in the copywriting business requires an ability to think outside the box. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it is also true. The most creative writers are analytical people capable of seeing every angle of the topic and picking it apart – down to all its individual components.
Second, creativity requires not being afraid to try new methods of reaching readers. It means not being afraid to touch controversial topics from time to time, or inject a little sarcastic humour here and there, or even use idioms and colloquialisms that do not necessarily appear professional.
Lastly, creative copywriting requires the ability and willingness to be told your work is lousy. Here’s the thing: clients may not necessarily recognise creative copywriting for what it is, but they do know what they like and don’t like. If a client doesn’t like the writer’s work, it matters not how well written that content is.
I strive to be creative in the copy I produce. I do not always succeed, but I always do my best. I do so because I know that the value of a creative copywriter and the work he or she produces is priceless.