Copywriter Definition in Freelance Writing

Guest Column by J.R. Hafer

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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?”

Copywriter vs. Copyrighter

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.

Copyrighting is the process of provable creative ownership of intellectual material, 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, books, and the production of other verbiage for information, entertainment, education or any other outlet known to man. The products from copywriters touch our lives constantly.

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 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 a 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 his product with a copyright!

Guest Columnist JR Hafer