?We can divide copywriters into two types: the direct response copywriter and the "image" copywriter. And the copy they'll give you follows their nature. And depending on what you're attempting to do, that might matter. There's no real problem with this in and of itself since both have their place in the grand scheme of things. No, it all starts to go wrong when the copywriter has no clue what kind he or she is; or, even worse, when the client doesn't know, either (and worst of all, neither knows the difference between the two). First, let's look at the" image" copywriter. An "image" copywriter will write you solid, readable copy... but... it doesn't necessarily make good sales copy (measured only by its success in making money!) It's everything from the local company brochure and ad in the local paper to the big, expensive ads in the national press which are described in back-slapping fashion as "creative", "funny", "quirky" and award-winning. Unfortunately, these ads are also ineffective and don't actually make the advertiser any money. Look, you don't necessarily want "creative", because good sales copy - and by that I mean sales copy which actually makes you money - is surprisingly formulaic and based on some very simple and very old fundamentals which have survived the test of the last few thousand years and aren't going to stop working before you and I are long dead and past caring. This is the kind of copy you'll get from a direct response copywriter. Let me illustrate all this with a simple exercise: take your Yellow Pages and open it up. The stupid is so bad it hurts. Because what you'll see is thousands and thousands of "image ads", comprising the company's name, their logo, some stuff about what they "do", and ending with something like "and if we can help you, give us a call". This description sums up nearly every everything you'll ever see from an "image" copywriter. It's not that they can't actually write. It's just that, unlike a direct response copywriter, they've never actually studied the art and science of writing persuasive sales copy. You can spot them a mile away because their blurb usually says something like "I write persuasive copy that really gets results". Seems to me, if they knew how to write this persuasive sales copy that really gets results, they'd not be so boring and trite about saying it... well... persuasive about it. By contrast a direct response copywriter is very different (and not just in the copy they write, either. I'll come back to this). He (or she) writes you a headline to grab the attention of the ideal buyer and then hand-crafts you copy which typically details the problem, points out the dire consequences of not getting it solved RIGHT NOW and then offers the only possible sane, safe and drop-dead simple solution. Finally the copy asks - sometimes insists - the reader takes action right away to get this problem solved just in case the entire planet self-destructs because of the reader's laziness. Now, I know some copywriters go too far with their claims, like saying they can "compel" people to buy. This is arrant nonsense bordering on fraud and it is plainly so - because if it were true, then he (or she) would be "compelling" rich multi-millionaires to buy umpty-million-dollar yachts from them instead of writing copy for a living, but I digress. But, that aside, in essence, the "image" copywriter TELLS and direct response copywriter SELLS. So, which kind do you want? Which kind is best? Well, it all depends on what you're trying to do. If you're just looking for "filler" say for SEO or free reports and white papers, then an "image" copywriter is probably fine. It's the 80/20 rule. So, "image" copywriters are best employed on the 80% of copy bringing you just 20% of your profits. They're cheaper than a direct response copywriter because they sell you copy rather than results. That means they're commoditised and come at ten a penny. They're also usually easier to boss around and will typically "write to order". Like I said, they see their business very differently. On the other hand direct response copywriters not only going to charge you high fees, but they're often going to tell you some unpleasant truths about your marketing unless you're already an expert yourself and know what you're doing. You want these people working on the 20% of your stuff that brings in 80% of the money (and it's worth paying them 16x as much for their services, because that's what their efforts are worth, pro rata). Don't expect to "like" the copy you get, either. It's neither necessary nor required, although it is nice when it happens (and don't be tempted to "tweak" it on the quiet so it seems more "palatable". Every time my clients do this, response goes down). Ultimately, all that matters is your copy sells and makes you money. Curiously, you'll find a good direct response copywriter is also a good "image" copywriter, but the reverse is rarely true because the skills required by the direct response copywriter are much more involved and harder to learn. The main point I want you to take away from this article is: you always want a direct response copywriter or marketer working on your business. I won't be so arrogant as to say there are no circumstances whatsoever in which you'd want an "image" copywriter but I confess I can't think of any except to provide that relatively unimportant 80% of so-so copy. You see, even if you don't want your brochure or other "telling" literature to read like a full-blown sales letter, there's no reason for it not to sell subtly. And I'm afraid an "image" copywriter simply doesn't know how to write sales copy. Sure, you'll get a perfectly literate and readable brochure... but it won't sell. And seeing as a direct response copywriter is also a skilled "image" copywriter when he needs to be, there's no reason not to hire a direct response guy and every reason to make sure you do hire one. ------ Jon McCulloch is top Direct Response Copywriter, in the UK and Ireland and probably the only British direct response copywriter to have cracked the US market wide open. Visit his website now and discover for yourself the real reason so many millionaire entrepreneurs in the US hire a Brit over 4,000 miles and half-a-dozen timezones away to write their profit-boosting sales copy rather than use home-grown talent.