What is copywriting? Unless you’re a marketing nerd like me, you may not know the difference between just plain writing and copywriting. Well, I didn’t either until many years into my career. Are you surprised? It wasn’t taught in college, not even in my master’s program, or a skill I could develop on the job.
I learned copywriting as an experienced marketer because I discovered its secret in successfully growing any business.
Now, I’m sharing the secret of copywriting with you and the power it unlocks for your business.
Wikipedia defines copywriting as the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy or sales copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.
While this definition hits the mark, it feels slimy, like when you’re shopping for a car. Imagine yourself on a car lot with a salesperson who’s babbling incessantly about the benefits, features, discounts, warranties, and more to get you to buy a car you may or may not need.
Unfortunately, that’s where copywriting gets a bad reputation. So many businesses stop here and lose out big time because they don’t want to feel or sound salesy.
When you know your audience’s hopes and dreams so well, the language you use doesn’t have to “persuade” them to take action. Instead, the copy opens up a story already in their mind that creates a beautiful marriage between what you offer and what they desire.
It’s not salesy when you’re helping others get what they want or solve a problem. So to fix this, I’ve fine-tuned the definition. The act or occupation of writing text helps a specified audience solve a problem or find what they want or need and take a particular action.
Now that we’ve trashed the slimy sales language, let’s discuss what copywriting isn’t.
What Isn’t Copywriting
You can write just to write. You may document your life through an online journal, sharing your struggles and wins for anyone interested. It may be therapeutic for you to write and potentially attract others with similar stories. Not every piece of writing needs to have a purpose because not all writing is marketing.
Writing that is marketing must have a purpose. Businesses need to measure the impact and determine the return on investment. Content writing and copywriting are two examples.
The purpose of content writing is to inform, educate, entertain, or add value in some other way. In content writing, you may subtly tell the audience about your product or service while delivering value, but it doesn’t have a strong call to action tied to it.
For example, you may write a blog on your area of expertise. The audience knows that you offer services related to the topic, strengthening you as a thought leader. Nothing else is expected for the knowledge you’ve shared unless the audience wants your help. Thus, content writing comes to life as blogs, social media posts, e-newsletters, and general e-mails.
When Do You Use Copywriting?
Always use copywriting when you want others to take a specific action in your marketing. Copywriting comes to life in the form of website copy, social media ads, Google ads, landing pages, sales pages, lead generators such as an e-book or checklist, sales letters, and e-mails.
Notice, I said, “specific action.” Ask for the sale through a call to action. It must be crystal clear what people need to do next to do business with you. If you make them guess, they’ve moved on, and the sale is lost.
For example, vague statements like learn more or start now don’t work. It leaves people wondering what to do next after they learn something or start now to do what. Instead, be specific with something like schedule a call, register now, or buy now.
Why Do You Need Copywriting?
You need good copywriting to get results with your marketing. Unfortunately, often marketers and advertisers use copy that completely misses the mark to get others to take action. As a result, they may have the right intent but fail at execution.
Bad copy fails for many reasons. It may be confusing, lengthy, lack understanding of the audience, not ask for the sale, and more.
Also, a business owner has the curse of knowledge. What’s the curse of knowledge? You’re so close to your product or service that you struggle to see it from your customers’ perspective.
That’s why investing in good copy will pay off big in the long run.
Skills for Copywriting
Copywriting gets results by understanding the wants and needs of a buyer persona better than they know themselves. The words used help the buyer persona see how your solution exceeds their desires and solves their problems. The challenge is truly understanding the buyer persona to use the right words to see that you have the best solution for them.
A copywriter can take that understanding and transform it into a story. Stories sell. They’re memorable and clear. There’s no guessing who you serve, what you offer, and how to do business with you.
That’s the secret to success you can unleash for your business with copywriting.
You thought I was going to say excellent grammar and spelling skills, but that’s editing. Being a good editor can be part of copywriting or an entirely different role. Either way, accuracy is critical. Sloppiness will kill your marketing and lose customers quickly.
Now that you know what copywriting is, how does your marketing measure up? Do you have both copywriting and content writing in your marketing? Are you getting the results you want?
If it’s not, it can be overwhelming knowing where to get started. So take baby steps and start with the most critical sales piece for your business.
Rewrite the copy first, and focus on the design last. Get one thing mastered, then move on to the next marketing piece. Before you know it, you’ll have multiple marketing machines cranking out results that will blow your mind.
Need help? I’d be honored to review your marketing for copywriting improvements.
Leave me a comment and let me know how your copy performs.
Ready, set, grow!
All my best,