She’s A Copywriter; Is That PR?

After yesterday’s post, I must have more thought provocation (kidding), and I turn to (and thank profusely) my new tweep Taqiyyah Shakirah Dawud (you can address her as Shakirah because I asked), for this guest post on her talents as a copywriter. Is that PR?

Shakirah Dawud says:

I’m a copywriter. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. My elevator speech: “Hi, I’m a freelance copywriter.” (I know it needs work, thank you.) My byline: “Shakirah Dawud, copywriter.” I’ve been happy that way for nearly 10 years. And then Jayme started giving me ideas. Illusions of grandeur. I may be something more. Or something less, as Gini Dietrich found some believe. Depends on your experience, I guess.

Anyway, I know what I do: I write copy. But what does copy do, exactly? Well, let’s take for example a brochure. It briefly takes the reader on a tour of a business’s offerings, lists facts, adds stars to the special bits, and makes an offer, leaving the reader wanting more. It does this for all who care to read, but weeds them out line by line until only the interested and qualified customers are left at the end, looking for the phone number or website.

How about copy on the back of a package? It’s even more brief, sandwiched between prerequisites like ingredient and component lists, instructions, and those mystifying recycling codes. It specifically explains what it is, what it isn’t, and all but snuggles into the reader’s arms, getting as comfortable and unforgettable as possible.

And then there’s the press release. Done right, everyone is talking about its subject, seeking the related brochure and reading the package copy right through to the end. They’re forming opinions, debating the outcome, and causing a money-making stir.

I thought for a while that this third piece was the only real “PR” in my line of work. But when you think about it…

  • All three types of copy face outward, get in the faces of prospects, and offer further means of developing a relationship.
  • All three constitute variations of what could be the first impression of any company.
  • All three should be current or at least avoid being dated.
  • And all three must be planned, strategized, fact-checked, and choreographed into the right places to elicit the right reactions.

I tentatively decided after reading Jayme’s post about the definition of public relations that I, marketing copywriter, probably fit in there somewhere. What I’m certain of is that neither PR nor marketing could possibly live a happy life without the other.

What do you think the relationship is?

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