Why the Most Valued Copywriters Aren’t Just Copywriters

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How a Writer’s Journey Can Work to Your Advantage

Before hiring a copywriter, clients want assurance that they’re choosing the right person for the job (and rightfully so). They’ll ask the writer a range of questions, including:

“How much experience do you have writing __________?” (Newsletters, blog posts, case studies, etc.)

“How many clients have you worked with in our industry?”

“Can we see samples related to our project?”

All of these questions are valid. But there’s one thing they have in common: they all pertain to writing.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s only logical that you want to know about a writer’s experience before hiring them for a writing project. Just as you’d want to hear a lawyer’s success stories in the courtroom before hiring them for a big case. Or look at the homes a contractor has built before trusting them to build your own. Before you hire anyone for virtually anything, it’s important to know about their experience in that particular field.

But when it comes to copywriters, there’s a whole other side to consider. And it has nothing to do with writing.

What Led Your Writer to Where They Are Now?

Every writer has a past that doesn’t involve writing. Teenagers don’t wake up, decide they’re a copywriter and start taking on projects. While the Internet makes it easy for copywriters to hone their craft at a young age, it’s almost never your first job.

I’ll use my own past as an example. I didn’t even know what copywriting was until I graduated from college and was looking to leverage my English degree. Up until that point, every job I had was food-related, ranging from working in a farmer’s market to helping manage food production in a college dining hall. Until I was hired at an ad agency as a copywriter, writing didn’t apply to any of my jobs.

I’ve found that most copywriters share similar pasts. Some have worked in the finance industry and eventually write marketing collateral for finance companies. Others were real estate agents or insurance brokers before becoming specialized copywriters. The point is that copywriters rarely, if ever, follow clear-cut career paths. And that’s exactly why a writer’s past (or present) can be so valuable to your business.     

Find a Writer Who Knows Your World

Now more than ever, people can juggle multiple careers at once. Consider not only what a copywriter has done in the past, but what they’re doing in the present. They might be currently working in your industry and have an upper hand that you didn’t even know about. One that you would never know about if you didn’t look past their writing resume.

I can vouch for this personally. In addition to my copywriting profession, I’m currently pursuing a culinary degree. My brand hints at this a bit (or a lot), but food has always been a passion of mine.

Furthering my education has opened many doors, some of which I never even knew existed. Outside of school, I’ve worked in a restaurant and bakery to gain firsthand exposure. Doing so has impacted not only my education, but the value I bring as a writer.

Firsthand Experience Is Irreplaceable

My insight into the food and beverage industry is something that computer research could never provide. Seeing it for yourself is a whole lot different than seeing it through a screen. I’ve seen the amount of time, physical labor and sacrifice it takes to make it in the food industry. I’ve also seen what makes this industry so rewarding, whether it be your incredible team or the feeling you have when your product is flying off the shelves.

The next time you’re looking for a copywriter in NJ, NYC or virtually anywhere, take a minute to deviate from your standard copywriter criteria. Imagine the time and energy you could save with a writer who doesn’t need to be brought up to speed because they already know your world. They know what your customers care about and how to align your content with their unique needs and values.

It’s great to find a mechanic with decades of experience. Or a doctor with a long track record in the medical field. But don’t overlook the copywriter who’s been more than a copywriter. Their past or present can be one of the greatest assets to your future.