Copywriters are ventriloquists

Ventriloquism wasn’t even on my radar when I started as a freelance copywriter, but it soon became apparent that it would be an essential skill if I were going to make it in this industry.

Most people make the mistake of thinking that writing is, well, just writing.

It isn’t, especially not in the context of marketing.

Writing is the primary way companies get their marketing messages out into the world, but no two companies are the same.

Every company is unique

It’s true; every company is unique.

It doesn’t matter if they produce the same widgets or offer the same services; they all do what they do in their own way.

Take a look at some of the most well-known brands around. They all have their own distinct voice: Apple is very different from Microsoft. Waitrose is miles apart from Lidl. Marks and Spencer could never be confused with Primark.


Because they each have a distinct style in the way they ‘speak.’

Your voice is your brand

My voice – style – brand (whatever you want to call it) comes across in these blog posts. You’ll never find it within my portfolio of work.


Because a copywriter should never be identifiable from their work.

Every word I write for my clients is carefully picked to meld into their distinctive brand voice. Sometimes it will be casual and playful; other times, it will be friendly but authoritative. But whatever it is, it has been chosen to reflect the values of the client.

Channelling my inner Orville

For those of you unsure what an inner Orville is, it’s the famous puppet used by ventriloquist, Keith Harris (the image that accompanies this article). Yes, I’m showing my age!

When Keith Harris made Orville speak, he took on the duck’s persona. Let’s face it; it would have been a very lame act had he just been himself!

That’s what I do when I write for clients.

First and foremost, companies need continuity across their marketing, and that means using the same tone, vocabulary and style.

If they have myriad writers creating content for them, the chances are they’ll end up with a cacophony of disparate voices, which will look awful and confuse their readers.

By taking the time to understand their voice and following their guidelines, the writing I produce becomes an extension of their brand.

Let’s face it; if I wanted to stand out as a writer, I would have tried my hand at fiction writing (which it just so happens I have. You can find my debut novel, Mackerel Skies, on Amazon – it’s not great, but I had a go).

There is no personal glory in being a copywriter other than the warm and fuzzy feeling knowing I’m helping my clients reach out to their customers and grow their brand.

That’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter.

Just remember, when looking for a freelance copywriter to work with (Me! Me!), take a look at their work. Does it all sound the same? If so, run away because they have not learned the art of becoming a ventriloquist copywriter.

Author: Sally Ormond – ventriloquist copywriter who changes style as quickly as a chameleon changes colour.