Ahh, the good ol’ (not very original) ‘What is copywriting?’ blog post.
I know, I know. But I feel it is important to address this as it is something that I am asked a lot.
When I tell people that I’m a copywriter I am usually faced with a puzzled expression. I then have to explain what copywriting actually is. I can never just say “I’m a copywriter”. I automatically go into ‘explanation mode’ to avoid the blank faces – which saves time in the long run!
Basically, copywriting is the art of writing marketing, sales and promotional materials, in a variety of formats such as websites, brochures, adverts, letters and sales emails.
Nothing to do with ‘copyright’ – which is a very different entity altogether.
Unlike editorial writing, copywriting is all about getting the readers to respond. This might be by purchasing a product, signing up to a newsletter, contacting the company etc, etc.
Ultimately, it is like being a salesperson – but in print – rather than face-to-face.
Copywriting is firstly about selling, then about writing, so a background in sales & marketing is really important. You need to be able to understand who your audience is and what makes them tick. Then, you need to decide the best way to write to your audience – in a way that will engage with them.
It doesn’t matter what the product is that you’re writing about. You don’t need to stick to markets or industries that you are familiar with to be able to write. But what you do need is the ability to research and understand the target audience.
Getting the audience to respond is what copywriting is all about.