Copywriting or copyrighting, it’s the same thing, right?
And either way I can just find good writing somewhere else and use it?
Stop right there!
No, they are not the same thing, and no it is never OK just to cut and paste someone else’s words unless you have asked properly and they have agreed.
What is Copywriting?
Simply put, copywriters spend time researching, writing, editing and proofreading to produce ‘copy’ for our clients. Usually the aim is to interest the reader and give him fun or helpful information so that he gets to know the client better. Copywriters work hard to make sure the words they use are right for the job, as good writing can make a huge difference to the impact of marketing materials, websites, blogs and newsletters.
And what is Copyrighting?
Copyright is an area of law that protects a person’s right of ownership over what he has created, or his intellectual property. In America you need to take steps to secure this right, a process known as copyrighting. But in England the law is much simpler: once you create a work it is automatically protected by copyright.
So long as what you write is original you can stop others from using it without your permission. You don’t need to claim copyright or even use the copyright symbol ©, just show that your work is your own and that it existed before the copy.
So I can’t just copy copy?
Are you confused yet? It would help if the writers’ word for their writing was, well, just writing, but if people talk about their writing we assume they are journalists or authors. So copywriters tend to call their written work copy.
And no, you certainly should not copy copy.
For a start, the person who wrote it owns the copyright. They have the right to publish, copy, distribute and adapt their work, and prevent you from doing all those things (see UK Law).
But anyway who wants secondhand copy?
Imagine if your mother sent you a card but instead of her usual endearments wrote “Dear Sir/Madam”. Or if HMRC contacted you with an email beginning “Hey, dude!”. It’s not just the words that are wrong, but already in just a few syllables the tone is all awry and your hackles are starting to rise.
We expect businesses, like individuals, to have their own character. It’s not that any specific one is better or worse than another, but we want them to be honest and consistent. Only then do we feel any trust.
Copy someone else’s copy and you will be speaking in their tone of voice, to their customers. Wouldn’t you rather speak to your own? After all, you’re the one who knows them best, and knows the character of your business like the back of your hand.
So write your own copy.
It will sound more like you, be more authentic and resonate better with your readers.
If you don’t have the time or energy, then ask a copywriter to step in. We are experienced in writing using our client’s tone of voice, tailoring our words to your character and message. Not only that, but we’ll do the background research, checking and proofreading too.
And we will never, ever, copy copy.
[If you want an idea of length, this is approx. 550 words]