Copywriter, Ghostwriter, Content Writer… What’s It All Mean?

ghost-writer2With Halloween just around the corner, it might seem like the perfect time to hire a ghostwriter, but depending on your project you might rather have a copywriter or a content writer or someone else entirely.  Just like there are lots of flavors of delicious donuts in the world, there are lots of types of delicious writers out there.  You might want one with pink frosting or that one over there with the sprinkles… you know they’re all donuts, but they’re also not the same — not by a donut mile.

So, let’s get right into it.  A writer by any other name is something wretched, I’m sure.  You’re probably familiar with novelists, they write novels, and journalists, they write news stories.  Although many writers wear multiple hats, here’s the break down of other really common types you’ll find:

Ghostwriter.  A ghostwriter is a special kind of writer, treat them gently.  It’s hard to find a good ghost — but if you do, throw money at them to keep them happy.  Ghostwriters do your work for you, in a voice that your audience would believe is yours.  Basically, they’re doing your homework and your teacher won’t even notice.  It’s quite a skill to be able to write in another person’s voice or bend to a voice of a writer who came before but is now gone.

Copywriter.  Like ghostwriters, copywriters have a special sort of skill that other writers lack.  They know how to sell your product and they’ll help your site turn clicks into sales.  Unlike other writers, copywriters have at least a rudimentary understanding of Search Engine Optimization, can help you with your keywords and metadata and know how to write a Call to Action that gets noticed.

Content Writer.  These dirt-encrusted writers dwell in small, dimly lit rooms banging out copy for less than they’d make flipping burgers.  If your site is in need of content that doesn’t necessarily require a sales message behind it, you may choose to employ one of these skittish creatures, but whatever you do, don’t feed them after midnight.  As far as writing skill goes, most people who market themselves as content writers are very low on the totem pole, so expect extremely mixed results.

No matter what type of writer you’re looking for, from sublime to unwashed and heathenly, understanding the difference between types of writers is a must before you start your search.  Beware cheap substitutions and always ask for samples.

Who the Hell I Think I Am

203595_317694878281563_614075362_nIt’s the question I hear echoing through the blogosphere as I surf along day by day, seeking whatever inane drivel it’s my job to build into a cohesive thought: “Who the hell do you think you are?”  Every blog I visit, every resource I use, I have to ask myself who this person is to proclaim themselves an expert in plumbing or rubber rain boots or whatever it is they’re writing about.

Because I ask it constantly, I’m sure you’re asking it, too.  After all, this is the first post for this blog that’s essentially mental masturbation — just an exercise in vomiting words onto a page.  So, who am I?  Why am I here?  What’s my purpose?  (Whoa, you went all existential on me there…)

My name is Kristi Waterworth, I’m a professional copywriter, ghostwriter and journalist who happens to know a few things.  Only a few, though, so don’t get too excited.

I got my start in print media in 1995, it’s been a madhouse since then.  My first job was for a local daily newspaper, that’s where I learned to grind copy, interview unsuspecting members of the public and attempt to present a balanced argument.  From there, I took various marketing and newspaper jobs, ultimately finding myself without a writing home in 2010 when my newspaper shut the doors.

Being the adventurous type I am, I wandered onto the Internet and realized there were like BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of words out there… and somebody had to be writing them, right?  Why not me?  WHY NOT ME?  Anyway, that’s how I got my start — I was a desperate journalist who needed work.  It’s not a proud start, but it’s a start and we all have them.

So, in short, I’m the fucker you need.  You need me to help you figure out this freelancing stuff, whether you’re a writer or someone with a project needing to be written; you need me to help with your editorial calendars; you need my networks; you need my knowledge.

Sit the fuck back and listen up.  I’m about to spill some wisdom all over the fucking place.