Copywriting: What is it?

"Sowhat does a copywriter actually do?"

This is the question that I am often asked as soon as I inform someone I'm a copywriter.

It’s usually at this point I mention Donald Draper and Peggy Olsen from Mad Men (my two favourite fictional copywriters!) but even this doesn't totally clear up the confusion.

So here is my official attempt at explaining what it is: 

Copywriting is the writing of words with the express purpose to sell.

It could be the writing for an advertisement, a video, a sales brochure, a website or a marketing email or basically any type of marketing material.

In fact (probably without even knowing it) you are surrounded  by different examples of copywriting daily.

The ads you hear on the radio and TV, in the magazines you flip through, the billboards you drive past, the packaging on your morning cereal box, the emails you receive,  the websites you visit, the YouTube videos you watch, and so on.

At its basic it will be selling a product and may involve:

  • An attention grabbing headline
  • An overview of the features and benefits of a business, product or service
  • Clear call to actions to get your audience acting

It is used to gain the attention of your audience, build engagement and loyalty, encourage action and, of course, to ultimately grow sales.

But it’s not entirely just about selling products.

Copywriting is about telling a company’s story, establishing a brand, selling an image, nurturing an idea.

It is a useful skill for any business or event (of any size) especially with the importance of content marketing and the prevalence of social media.  

Some examples of when you may need the services of a copywriter include: 

  • When you are refreshing and creating a website where you want to concisely pinpoint your unique value proposition
  • An email campaign looking to highlight the features and benefits of a product and create engagement with existing customers (or new ones) 
  • The writing of an e-book designed to address the customers key objections to purchase
  • Crafting the right words for a video script selling your service
  • Creating the right 'buzz" with your social media posts
  • The regular writing of well researched and well written blog posts for your company blog
  • and so on...

So that my friends is some of the tasks I do as a copywriter.

I hope that makes it clearer - if not may I refer you back to watching Mad Men - if for nothing else than for watching a superbly written TV show.