3 Things These Copywriters Learned from Being Mistaken for Copyright Lawyers (Repeatedly!)

You won't believe how often someone hears "copywriter" and thinks they're talking about copyright. Here's what this tiny mistake tells us about how to be better copywriters.

Copywriter writing on paper
Source: Helloquence, via Unsplash

Copywriting. For some of us, it’s a calling. For others, it’s the cause of some confusion. We know this because we’re mistaken for copyright lawyers more often than you might believe (we’re not, by the way).

It’s an easy mistake to make. Even while writing this, the copywriter in question almost mixed up the spelling several times, and as a result narrowly avoided an existential crisis about her job description. And we suppose we do complicate matters by providing legal copywriting services. Plus our topSmith is a former lawyer.

For anyone still confused by the copywriter/copyright lawyer distinction, here’s a handy guide to help you out:

Copywriter: A person who writes the copy (text) for various forms of marketing and advertising material, such as websites, brochures, whitepapers, blog posts, and email campaigns. One who is imbued with a deep sense of curiosity and a love of words. At MarketSmiths, these writers are typically fueled by caffeine and Thai food (or at least, this one is) and are on a mission to banish the forces of bland copy.

Copyright Lawyer: A lawyer who specializes in copyright law, a form of legal protection that grants creators exclusive rights to use and distribute their original creative works, except in instances of fair use (such as parody). Some copyright lawyers could potentially be great copywriters in another life (or perhaps it’s a hobby they indulge on the side) but we’ve never asked.

Since the mix-up happens a lot and will no doubt continue to happen even with this little disclaimer, we decided to approach it constructively. So here are three lessons about writing that we’ve gleaned from this common mistake.

Google is your friend and ally 

Sure, it might be obvious, but it’s true! When in doubt, give the search engine a shout. A Google search takes seconds, and might just save you from making a mistake that could have been easily avoided, like misspelling a person’s name, or phoning a copywriting firm instead of a lawyer.

A little research goes a long way

Any seasoned copywriter will tell you that after writing for a particular industry enough times, there are topics you feel you know better than the back of your hand. And while that’s probably true, it never hurts to double check you’re on the right track. Worst case scenario, you just get a refresher course in the topic. You might even learn something new, or discover a recent development in the industry.

So even if you’re 99% sure you know what you’re talking about, indulge that niggling 1% of doubt and do the research. A quick glance at MarketSmiths’ website, for example, might convince you to seek copyright assistance elsewhere. (Although we’d love to help with your copywriting needs!)

Mental blind spots and typos suck, but they’re avoidable

As MarketSmiths’ British expat, I can attest how easy it is to make the occasional spelling faux pas (you’d be surprised how tricky it is to recondition your own vocabulary after a few decades developing it!). Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and they’re not always immediately obvious because our brains have a kind of built-in autocorrect for our own writing. It’s why I can read a document five times without noticing I’ve started putting the u’s back into “color.”

When others read our work, they approach it with fresh eyes, circumventing that mental blind spot. That’s why it’s so much easier for someone else to spot your typos, making you wonder how you possibly missed them. So to avoid embarrassment, it’s always a good idea to have someone else glance over your writing—or to ask a friend if it’s a copywriter or a copyright lawyer that you’re thinking of before you pick up the phone. Not that we don’t love hearing from you!

Here at MarketSmiths, we’re passionate about quality control, and always put in the research and give your copy the thorough proofread it deserves. Looking for a dedicated team to write captivating copy for your business? Find out more about what we do, and get in touch today!

Samantha McLaren

Samantha McLaren

Having worked as a ghost tour guide for five years, Samantha knows how to get a reaction using only words. Hailing from bonny Scotland, she spent years gathering weird, eclectic experience (from laboratory assistant to radio DJ to Sunday school teacher) before finding her true calling–writing. She came to New York to see what MarketSmiths could teach her, and never left. Copywriter by day, amateur horror writer by night, she has a passion for words and is drawn to the strange and unusual.

More from MarketSmiths

To keep your brand fresh, keep evolving your message.

How to Refresh Your Brand and Captivate Customers Again—Essentials for Economic Recovery

Petal's web copy changes perspectives on credit cards.

Credit Cards for the Modern Consumer: Petal’s Web Copy

Woman chewing gum | Source: Sandra Seitamaa, https://unsplash.com/photos/I8Y0u5NiimM

How Nuud’s Marketing Is Chewing Up the Competition

Healthcare copywriting services

Healthcare Copy for the Digitally-Sage

Inc 5000 content agency

M/WBE certified enterprise.

Design by WorstOfAllDesign. Digital Strategy by MadPipe. Photography by Chellise Michael.