The Science of Copywriting: Getting Creative Requires Some Structure

Posted by Alexis Sawyer

Introducing the “Getting Real with Garfield Group” Series. We took to our employees - the experts on the frontlines of our agency - to see how they really feel about some pressing issues in our respective lines of work. This series of blog posts offers our readers a deeper look into the minds of the Garfield Group team to understand how we approach our day-to-day work while learning about our overall approach to strategy and company culture.


By Alexis Sawyer

Copywriting requires a love of words. It also requires a love of grammar and spelling to do it well. But one of the most important parts of copywriting remains the creative process associated with it.

What does this mean? Well, think about something as basic as a holiday card (perfect for this time of year!). The visuals on a holiday card pair perfectly with the language and phrases used in conjunction with them, and they come together to express some of the most heartfelt sentiments we divulge during the year. Whether the copy reads as simply as “Joy” or as elaborate as the flow of a holiday poem, the way the two work together mean everything to the way we feel when we receive it.

Back to the integrated marketing world: the dynamic duo of copy and visuals also plays a critical role in what we do at Garfield Group. Developing quality, on-brand messaging that clients love requires a strong creative process and a passion for research.

Creative briefs play a big role in a copywriter’s world, but the step beyond the brief - the additional research performed after receiving the document - makes a grand impact on the quality of the resulting product. Copywriting can sometimes feel a bit like acting when you consider the various audiences, markets, and tones involved in the development. Performing the research to understand the ins and outs of a product, industry or vertical makes for the best, most thorough and precise work.

A message can get lost on an audience if you deliver it via the incorrect tone. For example, many B2B clients require a certain level of technical speak in their communications, but this primarily occurs when messaging reaches their consumers, industry counterparts, or internal stakeholders. When the message flips to focus on a general business audience or certain external stakeholders, the language we use to deliver the same message can flex or change completely.

Mastering this capability to say something similar with different words comes through research. True comprehension of the target audiences makes a big difference in the final product, but visual delivery also impacts the result. Our team works extremely well in the process of marrying copy to visuals. We believe that text and design work hand-in-hand rather than parallel to each other, so the entire creative team syncs from the start to allow each to inform the other.

So, how do we achieve this?

  1. Seek a team and an environment which allows copy and design to grow and - truly - work together. This becomes essential in delivering cohesive, precise products for your clients and allows the text and the visuals to really feed off of each other for maximum results.

  2. Own your copy. Working with a team who values the bond between copy and design requires that you make it your duty to ensure the copy performs its job in unison with the visuals, so make sure it expresses the ideas well.

  3. Do your research! Dive into the subject matter, the marketplace, the industry, the audiences. Determine the purpose of your message - is it education, sales or awareness? - but also understand the perspective from which each audience approaches it.

These steps can put copywriters on a strategic path to solid, valued work. Copywriting offers various opportunities to explore the deliverance of messages through so many different lenses, but partnering with team members who can help you focus that lens through research to develop the ultimate result takes it to the next level.