There are a lot of writers offering services for businesses. Some are very good at pretty much everything they do. Others are very good within their specialty. To get the best written information for your business, it’s worth understanding what kind of writing you need, then finding a writer who can meet that need. We all categorize ourselves based on our own perceptions, but here’s how I define the types of writers.
Advertising Copywriter: Advertising copy writers create copy for advertising campaigns and advertisements. They’re particularly good at creating memorable themes, tag lines, attention grabber headlines. They create the copy that makes you memorable.
Direct response writer: Direct response writers create information which is meant to persuade someone to take an immediate action, buy a product, or influence their beliefs. Think targeted direct mail. Campaign concepts. Email marketing campaigns. Print and digital advertising. Google ads. The web pages that scroll on for a couple of feet, selling a book or video series or other product. They’re very good at conversion: getting people to buy or sign up.
Web writer: A writer that specializes in writing copy for web sites or social media: short, compelling and meaningful. But more than that, a writer that understands Search Engine Optimization, that can ensure that your site ranks as high as possible when people are searching for products and services like yours.
Educator: A writer that specializes in information that explains or educates. Often taking a technical topic (or one that the general public might find confusing) and explaining it in a way that it can make sense to a broad audience. In the Information Technology world, White Papers are the most frequently used format to explain a solution in terms that executives can relate to their business objectives. Educators also often write copy for product information such as brochures, data sheets, positioning documents, solution profiles, product demo video’s and so on.
Story teller: A writer that is able to weave stories into the information presented, making it fresh, personal, emotional and compelling. Story tellers often write business documents such as blog posts, case studies, articles or work in industries that rely heavily on emotion as part of the sales conversion process.
Ghost writer: A writer who takes your thoughts, your expertise and writes in your voice, for vehicles such as blog posts, magazine articles, e-books and books, speeches.
Technical writer: Often this term is confused with writers who craft information for technology companies. However, a technical writer is a special person: usually extremely technical, while being able to write. Technical writers write user manuals, technical product specifications, knowledge base articles, or anything else that requires a lot of technical knowledge.
How do you know what kind of writer a person is? Look at their web site, their portfolio, their blog or LinkedIn profile – in some cases it’s apparent, in others not so much. Read the different types of documents they’ve written. What appeals to you? If you like their approach with a certain type of writing, then that’s a good starting point to discuss what they can do for you.