What’s a copywriter for surf brands actually do? Are you ever given free products? Have you been offered a surf trip overseas in exchange for services?
These are a few of the more common questions that I hear. Usually, they come from new acquaintances. Sometimes it’s family members. More than once my wife has asked me.
The answer I give to anyone wondering what a surfing copywriter does is that I write online content for surf brands and businesses in the surf tourism sector.
Before we dive into the type of content I write though, let’s look at the definition of a copywriter.
What is a copywriter?
As per the most accepted definition, a copywriter is anyone who gets paid to write informative, entertaining or data-driven content for the internet.
This could be content for a business that sells products or services to a consumer (B2C) or content for a business that works with other businesses (B2B).
Either way, it’s the writing of words that end up on a website or in an email. So don’t think of me like a Mad Men-style of marketer (I don’t smoke and I haven’t used hair gel since primary school).
Think of me more like a word nerd.
A word nerd that also happens to love surfing.
But being a copywriter for surf brands is about more than just playing with words. There are actually a lot of ancillary skills that come into play. This means that in addition to writing, I also wear the following hats:
- Project manager
- Marketing coordinator
Surf copywriting: Common misconceptions
Of course, there are still speedbumps when it comes to telling people what I do. So maybe it’s easier to share a few common misconceptions about copywriting for surf brands.
Misconception #1 – I’m not a published author
I don’t write poetry, I’m not planning on releasing a book, I haven’t ever pitched to a print magazine and you won’t find me published in a newspaper. Not all copywriters are writers or advertising copywriters, just like not all surfboard shapers are also pro surfers.
Misconception #2 – All copywriters are also technical copywriters
A lot of copywriters have their own niche, but some niches are more specialised than others.
Take medical copywriters for example. Medical copywriters generally have experience working in a hospital or clinical setting. They might even have a medical degree. I don’t pretend to know what they write about. I just put them in the technical copywriting box.
In saying that, I do know how to write about the more nuanced aspects of surfing. This includes maneuvers and techniques, board types and even fluid dynamics as it relates to fin setups.
Remember, the smaller the waves, the bigger your fins should be.
Just ask me (or Kelly Slater).
Misconception #3 – Copywriting is the same as copyrighting
Copywriting has absolutely zero to do with copyright law. Nothing. Nada. The middle of a doughnut.
Then again, maybe this misconception is on us as copywriters. Because even though we spend our whole life communicating on behalf of other people, it seems we aren’t so great at communicating what we do.
Who do I write for?
Before The Surfing Copywriter, I wrote for a number of different niches.
I wrote blog articles for financial advisors, white papers for real estate agencies and press releases for pest control companies. You know… fun stuff.
Now I focus solely on writing for brands and businesses that fall under the surf and surf tourism umbrella. So surf camps, clothing brands, surf hostels, surf travel companies, surf tech labels etc.
Essentially, if you have some link to surfing, no matter how obscure, chances are I’m able to help your company get to where it needs to go.
What type of content do I write?
In a nutshell, I’ll write just about any type of content for you.
It could be an Instagram post, a press release or a weekly newsletter. If it requires the written word then I’m your guy.
That being said, I do tend to focus on long-form content as opposed to things like social media posts and emails. Blog articles are, after all, my bread and butter.
Here’s a comprehensive list of content types that I work with:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Press releases
- Instagram/Facebook posts
- Product descriptions
- Landing pages
- Web pages
- Case studies
- Affiliate articles
Do I have my own style?
I was recently asked to describe my style of writing as a copywriter for surf brands.
I was stumped.
That’s like someone asking you to describe their surfing (enthusiastic… in case you’re wondering).
It did get me thinking though.
In my opinion, a copywriter can have his or her own style. But they should write in whatever style the client wants or the project demands.
A good copywriter is adaptable and adept at making your message feel like it’s coming direct from the source. But this doesn’t mean we copy your content blindly. We still put our own spin on whatever we’re doing.
In fact, this is where the magic happens.
By combining our own voice with your message, you get an original and engaging piece of written content.
We’ll even help you develop your own tone of voice if you don’t have one.
Personally, this involves talking with you either face-to-face or via phone or Zoom or whatever. We’ll then discuss all aspects of your brand in order to cast a wide net.
After that, it’s simply a matter of matching your own way of doing things with your overarching goal and vision and voila!
There’s your authentic content.
Does it matter if my copywriter isn’t a surfer?
It definitely matters whether your copywriter can or can’t surf, just like it matters whether your home is sold by someone who has purchased and sold their own home before.
Real-world experience has currency in the copywriting game.
It gives you an edge, makes your content genuine and helps you get results.
I can spot surf or surf hospitality content that’s been written by someone with limited surfing ability a mile away… and so can your readers.
That’s because, like many niches, surfing is flush with industry-specific terminology, colloquial phrases and a multitude of cultural and historical references that can be harnessed in order to give your brand authenticity.
If you really want to connect with your audience, and I mean really reach them on an emotional level, you need to know what triggers them. And the only way to sell the dream of surfing perfect waves or communicating how someone can surf better by purchasing product X is by writing from personal experience.
As for the argument that you’re mainly writing for beginner surfers when writing for surf tourism companies, I reckon that’s a cop-out.
Sure, your main market is going to be beginners who probably don’t know the intricacies of the activity well enough to pick apart a “10 tips for learning to surf” or “how to improve your popup” article.
But guess what… we’re not writing to simply make up the numbers. We’re writing to provide helpful and actionable tips for people looking to enrich their surfing experience.
So the next time you think about asking the volunteer to write your blog posts or hiring an outside agency to take care of your marketing, consider the very real possibility that they’re doing more harm than good.
Actually, do one better.
Consider a copywriter for surf brands.