Make no mistake ‘copywriting’ is a dynamic, valuable trade. Without copywriting, the web itself and it’s content wouldn’t exist.
Despite its importance, many of us still do not know what copywriting is or what a copywriter does daily, typing away all day long.
Let us demystify!
Essentially copywriting, not to be confused with copyright activities, is the art of write copy that sells – aka the creation of words used for marketing products and services.
Somebody has to write all those web pages, blogs, articles, social media posts, emails, and so much more into existence. The latter can include sales, email funnels, landing pages, blog articles, social media posts, white papers and case studies.
Modern copywriting is a far cry from its origins in the ’50s when ads, jingles, and slogans were the agreed way to get consumers to buy. Times have moved and one great example of the shift in how copy is used is right front of you: blogs!
Even more important is the way in which ads are presented to consumers. The old, manipulative ways of advertising such as using jealousy to make us buy have given way to new ideas. Think helpful, educational, informative or even entertaining. Instead of ads or TV, think digital. Think about the Internet!
Copywriters are more than just writers. They have to combine the art of sales pitch, behavioural psychology, and other skills to become proficient.
Copywriters should wholly aim to inform, engage, impact, or persuade target audiences with ‘written copy’ and content.
Copywriting vs Content writing
Copywriting is the art of writing copy!
So, copy refers to any piece of text written in a way that it moves the reader to action. You will find ‘copy’ on landing pages, sales pages, and product pages. You will also see it in use via calls-to-action with snippets of text calling the reader to act now, showing up in blogs and social media posts.
Content writing is the art of ‘writing content’!
Content essentially refers to any text written to inform, educate, guide or entertain the reader. Note, content is NOT sales oriented. Moreover, its purpose is to provide value to readers, building trust and loyalty over time.
Ways to Work
There are two ways one can start as a copywriter: either work for a company or marketing agency or go it alone, i.e. freelance. Both have pros and cons!
Employment will provide a stable and steady income with benefits, mentorship, possibly hone skills more quickly, big brands on the CV. However, as a trade-off, you get paid the same if you make a lot for the company. Office life can be wearing. You may not necessarily choose topic space—also, tight deadlines, stress and possibly long nights.
Freelancing provides more flexibility to be your own boss. Remember you still answer to your customers (temporary bosses); you can choose your hours, work from home, running the business up from the side. In contrast, you have to possess the motivation and will to suffer unstable income with a steeper learning curve and possibly operate from home. Beware! Homeworking can affect people mentally over the long term. It helps to work with others and keep you sane.
The Job Description.
In essence, a jack of all trades as follows:
Content writing or marketing that informs, educates or inspires.
Copywriting or writing copy that moves a reader to action.
Researching by vetting topics, keywords and sources to use in the content or copy. Learning and adopting the correct, client approved tone and writing styles.
Editing and ProofReading by tweaking and refining grammar, style and punctuation for readability, accuracy, and to match the brand voice
Project Management of content by idea generation, pitching topics, writing, editing, revising, and working with other content creators (strategists, editors, designers, content managers) to get to publish-ready states.
Most copywriters have the expertise to write at least a handful of these types of copy and content;
Web pages and landing pages
Facebook and Instagram posts
Native ads and social media
Case studies and product reviews
Skills required and what it takes?
Content creation fundamentals by compulsively creating readable online content in various formats for multiple platforms, like blogs and social media.
Writing craft and creativity by changing up word choice, tone, and point of view to engage different audiences.
For the internet, optimised copy and content to get indexed in search major search engines with sound Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practice.
Conversions by understanding how certain words and phrases work together to create ultra-persuasive messages inspire people to act.
Online Research & Sourcing by finding the best sources to use in a client’s content to support claims, including compelling statistics and data, and knowing how to cite and link valuable research at the source.
Editing & Proofreading cutting the fluff to get to the point concisely and effectively, learning the correct style and grammar to use in every situation.
In summary, to become a proficient copywriter you will need to discipline and determination to;
Practice your writing craft by reading all you can and writing all you can!
To prove yourself by creating a portfolio or writing projects and samples. Write a ton of content.
Gain experience by doing it either for free or through your initiative and understanding.
Use the correct resources and keywords to look for work.
Never stop learning your art. Keep on improving your skills. Take courses, read books and follow those who you want to emulate.