A Peek Inside the Copywriter’s Toolbox

Great words are more than airy fluff. They're firm ideas refined from strategic insights to tell a story and change people forever.

Tools on a shelf, the copywriter's toolbox
Source: Philip Swinburn, via Unsplash

Do you know the first thing we copywriters reach for before we write a single word? A pen? Paper? No, we reach for the toolbox.

Okay, it may not be fire-engine red and fitted with trays that fold out, but a copywriter’s toolbox is every bit as real, functional, and essential to the job as those you’d find on a construction site. It helps us work efficiently, keeps things consistent, and empowers us to do more significant work. Like Batman’s utility belt, it puts everything we need within reach, so we can obliterate the boring and construct the compelling.

It’s rich insights and a smart approach nailed down in a deep-diving Content Strategy Session. It’s the brilliant hooks and SEO-optimization that makes for great web copy. And it’s the final polish and proofread that makes it all shine. The copywriter’s toolbox ensures you walk away with killer content that builds a bridge to your target audience—and converts. 

But, Isn’t Writing an Art?

While penning copy is indeed an artistic endeavor, it’s also one that relies on solid craft to be successful. That’s right: we’re craftsmen and craftswomen at heart. And as such, we must bring solid ideas and concepts to the job and then execute them with impeccable craftsmanship.

Let’s say you hire us to write the content for your company’s brand new website. Wouldn’t you prefer us to build it in the same way a good house builder constructs a home—with solid foundations, a well-planned layout, and enticing design? 

Wright, not Write

Every wonder they’re called playwrights and not playwrites? The archaic English term for a builder or craftsman (as in boatwright or cartwright) refers to someone who has “wrought” words, themes, and other components into a dramatic form—someone who “crafts” plays. Shakespeare’s contemporary, Ben Jonson, is said to have coined the term as an insult to suggest a mere tradesman fashioning works for the theater, as opposed to “poets” like himself.

While the term eventually lost its negative connotation, it does acknowledge that writing is real, tangible work. It takes toil and labor, with equal parts wright-ing as writing. So, let’s take a look at how powerful content is “wrought” with the right tools.

Some Tools for Inspiration

The Shovel (aka Razor-Sharp Strategy)

Before we write word one, we conduct an in-depth Content Strategy Session to mine your mind for golden nuggets and thoroughly familiarize ourselves with your industry. This involves a shovel of sorts, as we dig up insights about your company and your audience to develop a razor-sharp strategy that cuts through the noise of the marketplace.

The Blueprint (aka the Outline)

Just as an architect’s blueprint details every aspect of the building, a copywriter’s outline maps out the content. After the Content Strategy Session, brainstorming, and research, writing an outline for the copy, including headlines and themes, helps navigate the content.

Tools, hammer, pliers, screwdriver
Source: energepic.com, via Pexels

Needle-Nose Pliers (aka Word Choice)

As our founder and topSmith is fond of saying, most words are filler. With surgical precision, a copywriter will pluck the perfect pronouns, arresting adjectives, and vivid verbs in our lexicon and weave them together in a progression that’s pleasing to the brain.

The Level (aka the Style Book)

Is your bookshelf straight? Check it with a level. Should you use oxford commas? Check with your style book. Whether our clients prefer AP Style, the Chicago Manual, Strunk and White, or something else entirely, grammar style and usage are standardized. A copywriter will reference it often to ensure our copy gets straight As across the board. 

The Saw (aka the Red Pen)

Sure, a saw may not fit in most toolboxes—but if you’re going to hack through some strong wood, you’re going to need it. Similarly, a copywriter needs a handy red pen to banish bland blather and ready a revision. Like certain horror movies that find creatives uses for saws (often involving limbs), editing your copy can really hurt. But it pays off, so a good copywriter isn’t afraid of the red pen. 

The Screwdriver (aka the Reward)

Oh, you thought we meant the tool? No, no. A Screwdriver is the celebratory cocktail we reward ourselves with when we nail a project. Alright, the reward might not be a cocktail (at least, not during work hours). But whether it’s a chunk of chocolate or just the pleasure of a job well done, this is the tool that refreshes us and refuels our excitement for the next thing we write.

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or want to hire a copywriting vendor with all the best tools, the copywriters (or should that be copywrighters?) at MarketSmiths can build on your foundation. Bring us in at any stage of your project, in any industry, at any location, and watch words do the heavy lifting. Let’s get to work.

Ali Doyle

Ali Doyle

Growing up with a concerning amount of used and blank journals in her closet, Ali knew she was meant

to write for a living. She took her journalism degree to the marketing world after college and quickly fell

in love with copywriting. Now with more than 15 years of experience penning web content, blogs and

video scripts, her career focuses on writing words that make connections and build brands. Copy is

always on her mind, so you’ll often find her jotting thoughts on napkins or adding to her pile of used

notebooks. She also likes to read style books for fun. No, really.

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