Woman at laptop with phone - corporate copywriting

In a recent post I mentioned that there are different types of copywriters. Here’s a breed you might not have heard much about – but you have certainly read their work…

The corporate copywriter.

What sets this writer apart?

She knows the brand and how to stay within its parameters – while still writing clear and creative copy.

This writer easily straddles the line between B2B and B2C.

She’s got the company’s style guide memorized.

She eats, sleeps and breathes the company brand.

She knows the company’s audience and can write directly to it.

A corporate copywriter understands and communicates the brand to support its mission and engage its target audience.

You’ve seen corporate copywriting in action. That website of that company you always buy your computers from. The TV commercial that cracks you up every darn time you see it. The marketing email you got from that funky, irreverent brand your sister turned you on to. You probably don’t pay it much attention — but it connected you with that brand and got you engaged.

Corporate Copywriters Are Brand Ambassadors

Corporate copywriting isn’t for the faint of heart. Most enterprise businesses have strict guidelines for everything from voice to word count. A good corporate copywriter will keep to those guidelines – rather than “thinking outside the box,” they get creative inside the brand box.

“Box” has negative connotations, and I hesitate even using that term. But let’s be real, here. Most successful businesses – especially enterprise-level businesses – have spent a lot of time and money to define a winning brand. A copywriter that bucks the brand guidelines not only fails at the job, but sets the company up for failure.

Creating a consistent experience is job #1 of any successful brand. A corporate copywriter understands this, and works with it.

This writer helps you build, maintain and publicize your brand through the written word. She makes sure your blog posts, banner ads, marketing emails and white papers are in alignment with your established brand.

She understands your products and services inside and out. She is on speaking terms with your sales and marketing teams so she knows what’s in the pipeline. And she knows how to write to your audience in a way that keeps their attention and gets them engaged.

How Come I’ve Never Heard of Corporate Copywriting? And Do I Need a Copywriter With This Skill Set?

Corporate copywriters aren’t talked about very much because

  1. Traditionally this has been an in-house role. With the advent of virtual employment, we are now seeing a bigger shift toward corporations outsourcing work like this.
  2. It’s not romantic. Sad, but true. Fiction writing, journalism, even creative copywriting get a lot of attention – but corporate copywriting is a bit more obscure.

Here’s something that might surprise you: Even businesses that are not big corporations can benefit from using a corporate copywriter. Because this type of writing is less about company size and more about skill and focus.

It takes skill to understand – and eventually memorize – detailed brand guidelines and style guides.

And it takes focus to keep these guidelines in mind as you write and edit each item. To do this for more than one business – and of course any freelancer or copywriting-business owner is working with more than one business – requires even more focus. To immerse yourself in a client’s business to produce outstanding work, then switch gears to do the same for another well-defined brand takes a level of focus that some people struggle to manage.

Maybe a better way to phrase “corporate copywriting” is “brand-centric copywriting.”

It’s Not Sensational, but It’s Effective

Corporate copywriting may sound dull. But I can tell you from experience it is anything but dull.

Established brands know what works, and when a corporate copywriter adds their skill to that, the results are multiplied. Banner ads that were once performing as expected now surpass expectations. A blog that was okay now drives targeted traffic to a specific product.

A good corporate copywriter compounds your brand successes.

This skilled, focused writer is critical to the marketing and sales mix if a company wishes to make their brand renowned.

As I expand my writing team, I look for the skills I have outlined here in this blog post – and they are not easy to find. If you’re looking for this type of copywriter, here is my advice:

  1. Ask about the brands the writer has worked with (and understand that they might have signed an NDA or some other form of confidentiality agreement, so they may disclose names for the purpose of winning your work, but that does not guarantee they will share the final product with you)
  2. Ask about their experience and comfort level when it comes to working with style guides
  3. Ask what their biggest challenge is when it comes to working with well-defined brands (this will be revealing!)

Your Turn

What brands – whether they be large corporations or smaller companies – are knocking your socks off with their content?

Pay close attention: You’ll notice that most, if not all, of these brands are rigid about the experience they provide their readers. The voice, the formatting, the language, even the rhythm of each piece of writing is consistent whether you see it on the company website or on Facebook.

Read more: