Copywriter’s Tool Kit: The Importance of Why

Any parent will know how annoying the word ‘why’ can be.Copywriter's tool kit - the importance of why

But, for a copywriter, it is one of the most valuable words in the English language.


As a copywriter, you are:

  • A master sales person
  • A wordsmith
  • A persuasive orator
  • A great writer

However, you are not an expert in every industry sector in the known universe.

It is important that is made clear to your clients from the outset.

I often hear people ask why they need a copywriter when they don’t know anything about their business. Well, that’s exactly the reason why they do need a copywriter.

Let me explain.

In the client/copywriter relationship, the client is the expert in their industry, but the copywriter is the expert in selling their clients products and services to their marketplace.

So long as neither party crosses those lines, the relationship will be harmonious.


When taking a brief from a client, the one word that should constantly be used is ‘why’.

Don’t be afraid to keep asking, especially if you’re dealing with a complex product or service.

The client will know their business like the back of their hand and therefore will have the tendency to talk in jargon only understood by their colleagues.

Your job as a copywriter is to break through that jargon to understand the product or service in layman’s terms. After all, if you don’t fully understand it, how are you going to be able to write about it and make your readers understand?

So keep asking:

  • Why?
  • What does that mean?
  • How does that work?
  • Why is that of benefit?…

Far from annoying your client, it will demonstrate your interest in their business and your determination to produce powerful and persuasive copy that will grab the attention of potential new customers.

At the end of the day, you can’t write about something you don’t fully understand, so keep asking ‘why’ until you get to the real nitty-gritty.


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#1 Katherine on 05.26.12 at 11:25 am

Sally this is spot on. Especially your final line about – if you don’t fully understand something, you can’t write about it.

Sometimes copywriting can seem more like translation at times!

#2 Glenn Gordon on 05.30.12 at 6:39 pm

Sally, it seems you have had considerable experience as a technical writer too. I was offered a job by a recruitment agency as a technical writer last year. However. It frightened the life out of me, since this agency failed to consider whether or not I knew anything about the product or service I was expected to write for. If they threw jargon at me, I would be expected to know what on earth they were talking about. My typical Irish sense of humour being as it is, I told the consultant that they didn’t teach us third dimensional binary at NASA.

Katherine quoted the operative word, “understand”. I think you can only write about something if you know it’s purpose, function and overall objective. An expert in DIY could perhaps confirm this, as some completely discount the instruction manual and rely on their understanding of what they are building.

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