What copywriting is and what it is not

by Kendra Kopy

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When you saw or heard the term ‘copywriting’ for the first time, I bet you were shaken up. An absurd word! Someone said, “I’m a copywriter” and you are just dazed. What? You copy what exactly? What do you do?

I intend to explain it in this post. You are going to fully understand who a copywriter is, and what copywriting is. Let’s go!

What is copywriting?

1.Copywriting is not content writing: Of course, content is a collective name for written work, videos, and audios. However, copywriting isn’t equal to content writing. All copywriting is content writing but not all content writing is copywriting. The difference is in the purpose of the content.

State the difference already

Copywriting is the art and science of writing persuasive content.

The persuasive content is called copy, and a person who writes copy as his job is called a copywriter. Copywriting is the process of putting words together to get people to take action.

WHILE Content writing is aimed at engaging, entertaining, and/or educating your reader, Copywriting is aimed at entertaining, educating, and most importantly, selling to your reader.

Your aim could be to have them subscribe to your services or to get them to buy your product. It could be an aim as “trivial” as getting them to share their thoughts or ideas. In other words, selling doesn’t mean exchanging value for money alone. When you tell your little sibling that Santa Claus only gives presents to good children, and they believe it, you sold them an idea.

A salesman easily sells his product/service to you after he has sold the idea (that you need it) to you. That is what a copywriter does too. He is a salesman in print.

Copywriting is aimed at influencing people to take any action while Content writing is aimed at engaging people.

Content without a Call to Action (CTA) isn’t copy. You are reading content now. Simply educative and engaging.

In summary, copy (in written or spoken form) has a goal to sell, always. Copywriting is the entire process of writing, rearranging words, employing your understanding of human psychology (especially that of your target market), and doing everything to convince your prospect to take the desired action.

2. Copywriting is not copyright: Sometimes, I intentionally ask people if they know what copywriting is. They say they do, and many times, what they meant is copyright.

Copyright is the legal right of the owner of intellectual property to his property, which could be literary, artistic, educational or musical WHILE Copywriting is the process of writing advertising, promotional materials.

They are not related at all.

A copywriter is highly paid to write copy used on sales pages, blog posts, emails, social media, advertisements, newspapers, and magazines, and on every other media through which the target audience is reached.

Copywriting is salesmanship in print but is more advantageous than physical salesmanship. Why?

A salesman can speak to a particular person or people at a time, but a copywriter composes copy that speaks to an unpredictable number of people at once. This is why copywriting requires that a certain level of expertise is attained, to achieve desired results; converting readers/viewers into customers.

When poor copy is written, a low conversion rate is realized.

Though anyone can write copy because it simply involves persuasion, it still is a rough gamble because (just as everyone can write yet not everyone can “write”) it requires a sharpening of skill.

I do not believe there are people gifted for copywriting, but I believe it’s a rough gamble to spend heavily on advertisements that have poorly written copy, and come off frustrated because you realize very low or zero conversions.

3. Copywriting is not literary writing: As you should have understood by now, copywriting is aimed at selling. The build-up of emotion and desire in the body of copy is primed to make you click on the CTA button, and take the action.

Literary writing involves writing creative work such as poems or novels WHILE copywriting involves writing persuasive content.

In writing copy, I soon realized that there were literary aspects of copywriting. There is the need to employ storytelling, poetic touches, and even figures of speech; similes, metaphors, hyperboles, apostrophe, etc., still, copywriting isn’t literary.

Many successful copywriters had no formal education in the literary world. In essence, effective literary writing in copy comes naturally. A copywriter doesn’t set out to be poetic or full of stories, no, she naturally employs them when she does to drive her point perfectly.

Copywriting isn’t aimed at expressing oneself or showing writing expertise, good use of language, or a wonderful sense of humor. It is not aimed at creating brand awareness either. It may do that, but the ultimate goal is to sell, always.

And like I said before, to easily sell a product/service, first sell the idea or opinion that your prospect needs it. This instantly tells you what your job is; to sell through and through, not to express yourself or display your greatness. This equally tells you that your prospect should not just be entertained, educated, or carried away by your fancy talk and complex words. He has to see the need to buy what you offer and go for it. You make this easy by keeping your copy simple, easy-to-understand, very clear, and finally, persuasive.

It’s easier to see now, copywriting isn’t content writing, copyright, or literary writing. It simply is copywriting. Did this post make copywriting any clearer? What actions do you want to further take to start writing great copy?

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