Is a Good Writer and a Good Copywriter the Same Thing?

When talking with people (including clients of mine) who are curious if they would be a good copywriter, it’s not uncommon to hear justification statements like, “I love to journal.”, “I have my own cooking blog”, or, “Writing the captions to my Instagram posts is my favorite part”. “Great!” I think. Being a prolific writer is a good start to doing it professionally. But does being a good writer mean you’ll be a good copywriter?

What makes a good writer?

I can’t get into every aspect of being a good writer—there’s countless articles, online courses, and shelves of books at your local library that explain that. But there are a few things every good writer has in common:

It’s about being human

The biggest part of writing well is connecting with your audience via the subject you’re writing a about. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sci-fi novel, a newspaper article, or a travel blog. If you’re not connecting one human with another through a story, an idea, an experience, etc., it’s going to be be a chore to read.

Simplicity is key

Another key element of being a good writer is being able to write clearly clarity. Don’t use five words if one will do. Don’t over-emphasize a point with dramatic adjectives if it’s not actually important. Instead, strive to clearly and accurately convey what you want to say as simply as possible.

Establish why

The last part that we’ll consider about being a good writer is being able to answer that key question we ask ourselves whenever we come across any new information: Why? Why is this important? What motive do I have for giving this my valuable time and energy? A good writer can hook you from the beginning because they’ve expressed what’s in it for you.

So does being a good writer mean you can write copy?

It means you are on your way, but being a good writer doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be a good copywriter. Why not?

Because every piece of copy has a single objective: get the reader to take action. The best writing sources are clear on this: HubSpot, Copyblogger, you name it—it’s about getting people to do something. Do you need the above qualities of a good writer to do this? Absolutely. But more is needed:

A good copywriter knows their audience

How can you get someone to act if you don’t know who they are? You can’t. Why not? Because people’s motives for action are connected to who they are.

For example: A middle-class parent in their 40’s will often buy a car because of safety ratings and fuel efficiency, whereas a college-educated single male in his 20’s will often buy a car because of its performance and sporty character. And how you write to personally connect with them is worlds apart.

A good copywriter writes with their customer’s needs and desires in mind

Since you’re trying to get someone to act and not simply entertain them, you need to know the motives for actions. Ultimately, we’re self-oriented. I know, it sounds harsh. But we naturally want to both care for ourselves and to improve our lives.

A good copywriter will extensively research the person they’re writing to understand what makes them tick: what’s important to them, how they define themselves, what problems they face, etc. Then the product is presented as the solution to the problem or the way to get what they want.

A good copywriter uses proof

We’re naturally skeptical creatures, especially in this information age (which is ironically fully of misinformation, making us more skeptical). Naturally, we want to be sure of something before we take action. How can a good copywriter provide that assurance?

Simple: prove it, but with the most action-provoking sources. Testimonials of others, scientific data, statistics, reviews—these are all ways a good copywriter can seal the deal in their readers minds that this thing they’re reading about will solve their problems, improve their life, achieve their goals, etc.

So just because someone can write well, doesn’t automatically mean that they should be writing copy. Good copywriting is persuasive, oriented around a target audience, appeals to people’s needs and desires, and uses proof to strategically convey the truth behind statements in order for the reader to take action.

Want to know what else a good copywriter can do for your business? Feel free to connect with me. I’m more than happy to share further insights into what you can do to achieve great copy on your website or blog.