A lot of titles in the business world are misunderstood. Most of them, I would argue. That said, if you ever meet a copywriter with a big chip on his or her shoulder, I hope you'll cut her (OK, me) some slack.
Most copywriters could also be called "ghostwriters," and although neither is a particularly lofty title, in our information-laden world, writers of all ilks* deserve some more…consideration, for starters. (More compensation, too - but I'll leave that topic for another day.)
What Do Ghostwriters and Copywriters Write? Everything
In the past year or so, I've written about employment placement services, OSHA regulations, e-parking apps, replacement windows, agricultural dust control products, hand-crafted jewelry, landscaping services and bulk mulch products, mobile pet grooming services, PeopleSoft implementations, escape room games, marketing automation, keratin hair straightening processes, online accounting services, floral arrangements, appointment-setting software, lead paint remediation products, snow plowing and ice management techniques and a variety of medical conditions, surgeries and treatments, and reimbursement systems affecting both patients and providers.
Over approximately the same time period, my work has also appeared in three Forbes blogs, The Huffington Post, and a couple of other places I can't mention.
Do Ghostwriters Create Policies and Procedures? Some Do
I've written policies and procedural manuals for employees of companies where I've never been employed. And by written, I don’t mean wrangled someone else's words, but written meaning created and developed the policy (after discussions with several company principles or department head) and then re-written, for stakeholder approval. I have not written public policy but many a hired-gun copywriter has. Sorry if that ruins your romantic notion about politicians and other public servants but hey, they're busy people. (Do you have any idea how much time it takes to raise enough money to run for office?)
My point? Information is a tricky thing. Regardless of the expert's name on an article or the name of the publication, it's quite possible the piece you're reading was written by a copywriter with a basic journalism degree in his (or her) back pocket, an unimpressive balance in his (or her) bank account, and a whole lot of secrets.
Professional Ghostwriters are Not in the Fake News Business
This rant about ghostwriting/copywriting is absolutely not intended to be a jab at journalism, public relations, corporate information, business blogs or any other form of writing. Quite the contrary. Journalists are trained to research, investigate, interview and quickly disseminate information - real, helpful information. Not "just the facts," but the facts plus context.
When you need to provide accurate, clear, helpful information to a particular audience, you need a professional communicator. Now, maybe you won’t be afraid to say “ghostwriter.”
*Like copywriters, ilk is a word that doesn't get a lot of respect. (While many modern spell-check programs don't recognize it, Merriam-Webster does.) I love how internet retailer Woot uses "ilk" in an ad for a bag that's definitely not elk.
As long as I'm using Woot's image, I should point out that the company appears to "get" copywriting and all forms of marketing/communications. Kudos to Woot, Ghostwriters, and Elks everywhere.