Copywriter Definition in Freelance Writing

Guest Column by J.R. Hafer

Young woman using laptop in creative office space, side view

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I hate to use the moniker “Copywriter” because it can be so confusing to others. You've got to answer that inevitable question, “What is a copywriter?”

Explaining the difference between Copywriter and Copyrighter to a non-writer can be a monotonous task. But it’s very simple when the definition is explained. The term used above"copyrighter" is not a misspelling of the word "copywriter" but is, instead, a separate and distinct job.

Copywriter vs. Copyrighter

Copyrighting is the process of provable creative ownership of intellectual material. They determine who owns the rights to a piece of work. For example, an article or a book, that assigns a legal penalty for profiting from another’s work. In other words, it is a protection, by law, from plagiarism or stealing another’s creative work.

Now, on the other hand, a “Copywriter” is one who writes or edits copy or written content for a living, usually of sales-generating or marketing nature.

Copywriters develop written content for websites, sales letters, articles, and books for information, entertainment, education or any other outlet known to man. The products from copywriters touch our lives constantly.

What's in a Name?

I would rather be referred to as a freelance commercial writer. Commercial writers or copywriters have been around since the world became literate. You can find copywriters or commercial writers in advertising, radio, and TV, as well as the written media. Schools and educational institutions rely on the products from copywriters.

Although we usually refer to people who write books as authors, they still write copy and in the truest sense of the word, are indeed copywriters, too. Today, though, most commercial writers write copy projects much smaller than the time-consuming and disciplined genre of books.

Freelance Writing

Freelance commercial writers and freelance copywriters are entrepreneurs writing generally any type of copy to make money. On the other hand, there are copywriters who work on staff with companies and larger corporations. They are referred to as Staff Copywriters.

Communicating by the written word can be the most effective way one can transfer detailed and concise information from a source to another individual without misunderstanding. It is also provable and provides evidence of what the information transferred contained. How many times have you heard the saying “If it isn’t in writing, it isn’t so?”

Last, but not least, copywriting can be a lucrative career, if one protects their product with copyright!

Guest Columnist JR Hafer