Promote or Protect?—Copywriting and Copyrights

Written by: Gloria Russell

To me, this has become a reasonable discussion, and we’ll talk about a few definitions in a minute. First, I’d like to explain how this even became a topic for me and what it might mean for you and your business success. 

It all started with business networking and introductions.

In true American fashion, people often ask me, “What do you do?” My shortest response is, “I’m a copywriter.” 

Let’s be clear. I could also say, “I read.” Or, “I pray and move my feet.” Or, “I love family time.” Or, “I enjoy driving.” Of course, that’s not what they’re really asking for, and I now realize that the quick answer isn’t always as clear as you might think.

Recently, I was introduced as a copywriter at a networking event. My new friend remarked that he didn’t know a lot about legal degrees and copyrights. I then explained that my work was actually about copywriting, as in writing copy or creating the written content for website pages, search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion, marketing, bios and blogs. “Oh, of course!” 

Well, they do sound the same, but that’s where the comparison ends. 

I’d like to talk briefly about the terms, and I’ll take liberties (as I usually do) to give my simplified version of it all. 

Let’s first talk legalities. In business, you may want a copyright to protect your intellectual property such as your original literary published work. A copyright can cover a long list of creative materials, and there’s an equally long list of items that do not qualify. 

If interested, this is a great discussion to have with a business attorney. It is truly quite fascinating to discuss reasons for obtaining a copyright or a trademark. In 2021, your intellectual property is worth protecting! 

Another way to make sure your business is successfully thriving is to reach the customers you really want to serve with carefully crafted words about your services and/or products. With intellectual property, your attorney will be your best defense. Here, your copywriter can be your best friend. What you say and how you say it can either draw clients in or drive them away. Which do you prefer?

Yes, of course. We want to gain the attention of our existing and future customers. Those of us who do the writing and marketing for your claim to fame come in many sizes, shapes and titles. I’m not a stickler for titles or labels because they seem to carry very different meanings for different people. 

I typically refer to myself as a copywriter because it’s (usually) recognizable. I also use the terms content writer, conversion copywriter, SEO web copywriter and marketer. Sometimes to be playful, I’ll end each with “extraordinaire” and a big smile. 

For many, the label content writer holds a view of writing descriptions or illustrations about your products and services. It’s more about getting the information out there than worrying about any particular results that follow. This can be true, but I would argue that most serious writers will put the information out there in fine form while they also help to convince readers of the value provided.

When the value-added persuasion piece comes into play, we more often hear the term copywriter. This label has a tone of persuasive marketing that helps sell your product or lead your future customer to a desired action. You might ask them to give you a call, buy now, or sign up here.

Lately, we’ve doubled down to introduce ourselves as conversion copywriters. This label leaves no room for confusion. The goal of the content is to draw traffic in and convert readers into buyers and believers. I like that, and I dare say, so do all business owners. 

So, how do we do this? 

We help businesses gain the attention of clients with greater ease by creating relevant, informative messages. These communications, long or short, highlight clients’ wants, desires or problems with a solution they would cherish. We can write copy that resonates with them because we know them so well. We can feel their excitement or their pain.

We also write for Google (and all search engines). They work hard for us every day as we search on our phones, tablets and laptops for everything from resume writing to the latest, greatest coffee flavor.  As writers, we study and research so we can create excellent website copy for SEO—thus another label: web copywriter. This term is quite clear, but don’t be misled. Web copywriters can also be extremely proficient at creating copy for direct mail and print. 

Why? Because it’s all in the marketing. That basic business activity is why we do the writing in the first place. We are marketers. I’m a marketer, as is every business owner, and hopefully, every business writer. Oh—another label: business writer.

So, even though there are a lot of fancy labels and definitions, I tend to see these writers as marketers—and talented at their craft. Unless you’re in the legal department, being picky about definitions might not be all that useful. And since we’ve already established that copywriters don’t typically have a law degree, let’s just go with being practical.

My best advice when growing your business is to talk with a copywriter (or several) and discuss the results you want. Your intuition will let you know if you are comfortable moving forward. After completing your first project together, your trust level will be established. That’s the simple way to find the right copywriter for you and your company. 

As a colleague said to me earlier this week, “Anyone can write a message, but not necessarily the right message.” Food for thought.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend who might also find it interesting. And if you’d like to talk about writing/marketing, I’m up for a phone chat at 651-485-8826. Thank you!

About the author:

Gloria Russell

Gloria Russell is the founder and lead copywriter at Russell Resources, a Minnesota-based company helping small businesses achieve extraordinary success by creating exceptional website content that sends the right message to the right audience. You can find her website at https://writer.mn and, if interested in a phone chat or Zoom call, you can book a 25min get-acquainted call from the website’s scheduler.
Gloria Russell
Russell Resources LLC
651-485-8826
gloria@russellresourcesllc.com

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