What is Copywriting?
What is copywriting? Probably the single most egregious mistake made about what a copywriter is, or does, comes from those who mistakingly believe the term has something to do with protecting inventors against idea theft or writers against intellectual property theft. That is actually a patent or copyright.
Another frequent mistake regarding copywriting is where people have used the word freelance writing or other related types of writing to infer copywriting. The two are not the same. Actually, copywriting means to write with the express intent to market, promote, educate, inform, or sell a product, service, person, opinion, or idea.
There are various types of copywriting and several differing types of copywriting jobs. The distinction if often what the business or organization requires, i.e., brochures, proposals, case studies, product descriptions, press releases, user manuals, presentations, etc.. Copywriters may write ads, sales pitches/letters, emails, taglines, jingles, lyrics, postcards, catalogs, commercial scripts, sales brochures, billboard ads, or mass mailings.
Sometimes they (copywriters) may also write social media blog posts, tweets, or SEO (search engine optimization) type pieces that promote the ranking of websites in search engines. This type of copywriting uses strategic placement of keywords or phrases, or repetition of same, on web pages. Greater weight is placed upon keywords or key phrases in headlines, sub-headlines, text links, captions, and navigation links. The copywriter can work for organizations or public relations firms, advertising agencies, broadcast or cable providers, or as freelance/independent contractors writing for many different clients in a variety of capacities.
Copywriters can work as in-house writers where they are employed by corporations that maintain in-house marketing departments that have consistent demand for full time writers. Advertising agencies usually have marketing departments in-house. Copywriters for such agencies will need to be adept at creating slogans and ad campaigns. They need to supply an endless source of original ideas and creative input oftentimes under tight timeframes. This type of writing can be either long (1,000 words or more) or short (100-200 words) and may also include the use of a graphic artist. Skills required for the long or short style are quite different.
Regardless of where the copywriter works and what they are slated to sell or promote they need the right mix of technical and aesthetic so they and effectively engage the reader, the ability to cohesively explain information and communicate the benefits of the good or services, and a working knowledge of prompts used to increase relevance in search engines, meta tags, anchor text, keyword density, heading levels, and word-stemming.
The internet has enlarged the number of copywriting opportunities for copywriters and helped connect them with employers, directors, etc.. However, writing for this media (internet) is quite a bit different than the other more traditional mediums. Writers need to be more brief or concise than traditional forms of advertising media. Some copywriters may even specialize in certain industries or business sectors, i.e., pharmaceuticals, not-for-profits, project management, consulting, diplomacy, or other charitable organizations.
Corporations and companies are always seeking good freelance copywriters to help them market and sell their products and services. The text is commonly called “copy”. That said reporters, editors, journalists, and people who write content pieces are not copywriters. Some noteworthy copywriters are: Robert Collier, William Bernbach, David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, Leo Burnett, and Steven Slaunwhite.