When someone introduces themselves as a copywriter, the next question that follows is almost certainly, “What do you do?”
Many people assume that being a copywriter is the same as being a reporter or journalist. Or that it involves copyrights.
None of that is true.
So, what is copywriting?
It’s much different from ordinary writing, and every business needs it. It’s what gets customers to take action. A copywriter writes the scripts for TV commercials, brochures, and so much more.
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What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is the art of writing text to promote a business, person, service, product, or idea. A copywriter writes content intending to persuade the reader to take a particular action.
The reader can act either by calling, opting in, or purchasing a brand’s product or services.
Copywriting involves working on different types of content. Everything from YouTube video descriptions and product pages to text on billboards falls under the scope of copywriting.
Good copywriting is what motivates a reader to buy a product, join your brand community, or sign up for an offer. Of course, the final aim is to persuade the reader to buy your product.
It can convey your brand’s values and identity clearly while also establishing a connection with your target audience.
What Is the Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing?
Content writing and copywriting are often confused with each other. But there’s a difference between the two: the purpose of the writing.
Content writing involves creating valuable content that builds relationships and engagement with consumers. It’s written in the hope that the audience will, over time, trust your brand and eventually convert or become repeat customers.
The purpose of writing blog posts, social media posts, white papers, and other materials is to educate, inform, and entertain consumers.
Copywriting, on the other hand, gets the prospective customer to take action. You write it to sell an idea, product, or service and it is closely related to branding.
While there is a distinction between them, these two strategies are complementary. You need both copywriting and content writing to get people to read and take action.
What Is Copywriting? The Role of a Copywriter
A professional copywriter will help your brand develop a unique selling point for your target audience.
Copywriters provide creative concepts and ideas. They can also adopt a client’s idea and give it a creative spin. They write copy with the client’s agenda in mind and target customer needs. The copywriter can be part of an agency, work as a freelancer, or work in a company permanently.
What is Copywriting? A List of the Skills Required
To become successful as a copywriter, you need more than writing skills. You need the ability to write copy that sells to a target audience. At the same time, you should be articulate. You should have the ability to find the right words that resonate with your audience.
A great copywriter can convey the brand message in the right tone to the right target audience. They understand human motivation and how to motivate the audience to buy a product.
Ideally, they should have excellent communication skills, be creative, attentive to detail, and can adapt to a client’s needs. A copywriter is analytical and can think outside the box. They must be great at research and editing. They should have the ability to find the right words to convey their message.
Copywriters may work on blog posts, ebooks, white papers, sales presentations, website copy, and case studies. They may also write content for brochures, internet advertisements, press releases, and industry reports.
In some cases, copywriters also handle newsletters and webinar presentation notes.
Copywriting For Businesses: Why Is It Necessary?
For branding and marketing purposes, copywriters are extremely important. Their content communicates the ethos of your brand, thereby building brand awareness. Without strong copywriting, it’s not possible to have a consistent brand voice.
Their content also engages the audience and motivates them to make a purchase. So, indirectly, they help you boost your sales. Good copywriting is at the core of many viral marketing campaigns.
In the screenshot below, McDonald’s highlights that they offer soft drinks of any size for just $1! With clever wordplay and attractive visuals, their billboard is hard to miss. It’s subtle yet promotional.
Image via National Outdoor Media
Your business needs copywriters because 58% of shoppers start their journeys with research. In fact, 66% of consumers start their search on third party sites like Amazon. They want to confirm that they are making the right decision before committing financially.
For research, they are likely to check product descriptions, blog posts, and advertisements. They may also read content on your website and social media channels.
Whether you’re promoting your products on social media, in newspapers, or on TV or radio, you’ll need good writing to stand out. Even when you’re reaching out to prospective customers, a catchy line can get them hooked.
Copywriting is, therefore, a form of inbound marketing. It helps you create content that can help you solve your target audience's problems and highlight your USP.
It helps your brand stand out from your competition by differentiating it from all other content audiences can find online. In the screenshot below, The Economist has cleverly underlined that you can become smarter by reading their magazine.
Image via The Economist
Key Elements of Effective Copywriting in Business
Good copywriting can help you boost your sales and revenue. But do you know what it takes to be effective at copywriting? Take a look at the key elements of good copywriting:
1. Know Your Audience
Research is at the core of good copywriting. Before you sit down to write, you need to invest some time to understand your target audience. The more information you have about them, the easier it will be to understand your customer personas.
Once you understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, you can figure out how to write your content. To be persuasive in your copy, you need to know all there is to know about the target consumer.
The next step is to relate their pain points with your brand’s values. You need to explain how your products can solve their problems.
2. Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes
What do your customers look for while buying a product? You need to be able to answer that question to write compelling content.
Be empathetic and put yourself in your customer's shoes. It will help you relate to the consumer better if you can understand their problems.
Be engaging and address the target audience’s problems with your content. That means using the right tone and words. The trick is to write as if you are addressing one person and their problems.
This writing process can help you remain friendly and speak to the consumer's desires and needs. Since you are addressing the readers in a personal and friendly tone, they are likely to find the content more relatable.
3. Write Compelling Headlines
Before a reader clicks on an article or video, they look at the headline. If it is engaging, they may want to check out the rest of your content. So, it’s important to write something that is catchy, clever, and delivers value.
Compelling headlines are necessary to hook the readers. Headline writing is an art that copywriters need to master. Whether they are working on newsletters, brochure content, website content, or print advertisements, they need to write headlines that are powerful.
So, how can you write engaging headlines? Here are a few tips to help you:
- Use numbers or statistics for better ranking. BuzzFeed uses this strategy in their articles.
Image via BuzzFeed
- Ask a question that may bother your target audience. And show them how you can solve their problem. As you can see in the screenshot below, Birchbox uses this strategy to promote their subscriptions on Valentine’s Day.
Image via Pinterest
- Create mystery and anticipation with your headline. Make a shocking revelation. Or tell your readers there is something exciting that they can expect. But don’t reveal it all. Stoke their curiosity by divulging only some information and leave your readers wanting to know the whole story.
Medium reveals that their readers can unlock a new layer of information when they upgrade their membership. But they don’t give it all away.
Image via Medium
4. Leverage Humor
Humor is risky. It is subjective and personal. But if you can get the tone and the words right, it can be a powerful way to write engaging and memorable content. It can command your readers’ attention and make your content resonate with them.
For instance, check out the landing page copy on Muzzle’s website. It’s an app that lets you silence notifications on your Mac when you’re sharing your screen.
Image via Muzzle
Instead of listing out the features, they have shown embarrassing scenarios you can avoid with their app. It’s not boring and conveys what the utility of the app perfectly.
Another brand that has mastered the art of injecting humor into their copy is Moosejaw, an outdoor apparel company. Take a look at the banner for their page content for outdoor footwear. It’s wacky!
Image via Moosejaw
5. Highlight Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Today’s customers have too many options to choose from so they need to understand what makes one brand different from the other. They need to know why they should buy your products instead of your competitors’ products.
Your unique selling point (USP) differentiates your brand or product from the rest of the competition. It gives you a competitive advantage. Your copy should reflect that.
To define your brand’s USP, determine why your product is better than others in the market. Maybe you use organic materials that are locally-sourced. Or maybe your products are more durable. Your USP could be anything. Keep in mind that your USP should be something that your target audience will value.
For example, ThirdLove is a women’s lingerie brand. The industry is saturated, but they offer something that their competitors don’t. They help women find the right fit online.
They use it in their website copy to highlight what they do differently. They also have a Fit Finder Quiz on their website to help first-timers find lingerie that fits them.
Image via ThirdLove
You’ve come across copywriting in your daily life before. You just didn’t know what exactly copywriting was. Now you know it’s what effectively conveys a brand’s message to the audience. It’s what connects the audience to the brand’s message and motivates them to make a purchase.