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Three traits of copywriters who'll make you money

Words are central to building your brand and a good copywriter can work magic. But recently, too many big brands seem to be jumping on the creative copy bandwagon, letting copywriters run riot with no regard for the bigger brand story.

This week, at a client meeting in a big-name coffee chain, I noticed no less than 25 messages on walls, napkins, trays, cups; all talking about provenance, heritage and care, plus some attempts at humour and the occasional life-affirming quote. The tone of voice was inconsistent, the messaging was bland and I couldn’t have told you their brand values with a gun to my head.

And while I will always champion the rights of a copywriter to be at the heart of the creative scrum, you have to understand your audience, market and how (or even if) your words can influence the bottom line.

So, how do you choose a copywriter who’ll deliver what you need, not just what they want to write? Especially when you can hire a writer for a pittance on any number of freelancer sites. Based on my experiences of being one and hiring several, here are the three traits I look for:

Commercial nous: They may not know your business or market inside out, but any writer worth their salt should be ready to get stuck in and learn. I recently worked with a team of copywriters who were incredibly talented, creative and eager but lacked insight into the client’s market and the broader market they operated within. While quirky copy-led design might work for an artisan challenger brand, it’s just not right for everyone.

Sparkiness: Copy’s incredibly subjective, so you need a copywriter who’s willing to push back and challenge your perceptions. They might not always be right, but if their copy is built on solid insight and a clear understanding of your audience, they might just come up with a game-changer.

Versatility: Sometimes you need a unique voice creating from scratch. Sometimes you need someone who can take your existing tone of voice and churn out line after line of on-brand copy without complaining. A good copywriter should be able to switch between the two without batting an eyelid.

Finding a copy superhero can make your brand

Need more advice on the power of great copy, or want some creating? Drop me a line at or call 0113 2160884 / 07852 371075.

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