This week in the History of Publishing class, we had a special guest speaker. Samantha Niemeyer is an SOU alumn from 2011 and is currently working as a copywriter for Fire Mountain Gems.I had never heard much about what copywriting entailed. Samanthat gave a definition.
Copyright: writing with the purpose to sell.
I was surprised when I heard this definition (the one I gave is shortened), and immediately began to consider the different ways that writing and marketing can converge under such parameters.
According to Samantha, the most enjoyable form of copywriting is called Editorial Copy. This kind of copywriting includes: articles, tutorials, blogs, types of writing that teaches potential customers how to do somehting, and usually shows a customer how to use the product and convince them it is worth buying.
Samantha also shared some details about the logistics of her work. Apparently, Samantha and several other writers receive writing assignments (prompts) from their boss, who provides some detail and factual information. From there, the writers are expected to craft an article that will be published under their boss’s name.
At this point in her presentation, I asked Samantha what the differences are between copywriting and ghostwriting. In my mind, they seemed like the same basic thing. Samantha said that the real discerning feature between the two types of writing is their expectations. For example, people expect marketing and copywriting to be deceitful to some degree. Otherwise, how could anyone sell anything? So, people have to assume a degree of dishonesty is somewhere in the recipe when they are chewing on copywritten things. Ghostwriting on the other hand does not have the expectation of dishonesty. People understand that ghostwritten things are not meant to sell something necessarily, but are mostly informative and written by a hired helper.