When I told people I was launching a copywriting business the general response was polite nods and “oh oks.” Recognizing the blank stares, I’d start explaining in general terms what that meant.
Copywriting is not just regular writing. Before I started this foray into the world of words that make you click, buy, solve your problems, make you feel seen, empower and entertain you, my only experience with copywriters was from my days at an advertising agency. We had one copywriter who, as you might expect, wrote the copy for the ads and marketing materials for our clients. He was a nice guy who wore polo shirts and sometimes took off his Birkenstocks at his desk piled high with job jackets and a thesaurus.
I took an informal poll of friends and family and this is what they thought copywriting was:
Something to do with lawyers
Something to do with words and advertising (not too far off)
It’s confusing, because some of the copywriting that I do is technically also content. This is when the word “advertorial” comes into play. That’s one of those fancy made up advertising buzzwords* words that are in league with “branded content,” “UGC,” and “storyscaping.”
(*To be fair, advertorials have been in use since the 1940s so we can’t blame the digital media industry for that one)
Copywriting is vitally important to any business. Even though we live in a world that is heavy on the visual, it’s the words that help convince us we want to buy something.
That selling part may seem icky to content writing purists. I know initially, I felt this way as well. Traditional copywriting focuses on long form sales letters and when you read some old school ones –while they are masterfully created– they come across like an oil slicked used car salesman putting on the pressure.
My least favorite sales tactic is when there’s an intense sense of urgency…
Buy this now or live a subpar life FOREVER!
Take advantage of this deal in the next 30 seconds before it expires!
Don’t miss out. Act now, limited quantities available!
Nope, not fooling me with that scarcity bs.
But the flipside of that is when great copy helps connect a product or service with a person who needs it. Think of the benefit of being able to articulate to someone why they may need a certain product if that product is going to help them and relieve a pain point. What if that product helps them get more organized, attain their personal goals, finally get rid of that damn stain in their favorite shirt or just make better coffee.
Think about the products you have bought that you’ve been super happy with and so excited about you might even tell someone else because it had that much of an impact.
Chances are that the words someone wrote helped you make the decision to purchase.
The words and where they go may change as digital formats evolve but the ethos behind all copywriting is the same — we write the words that convince you to take action.