Every great ad tells a story, but not every story makes a great ad. You need copywriting skills to say the right thing at the right time and convince people to act on your message. Writing persuasive content is art and science, and working with professional copywriters will increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Do you need copywriting every time you produce content for your brand? No.
Do you need copywriting to guide people through the buyer’s journey? Yes.
Let’s see how it’s done.
Copywriting is not just sales
Copywriting means persuading people with words in the proper context as part of marketing and promotional materials. These persuasive texts are often referred to as “copy.” It usually ends with a clear, straightforward call to action that encourages people to engage with your message.
The purpose of copywriting is to convince readers to do something—generally, this would be a purchase. Still, in some situations, the goal of the message can be to get clicks, donations, downloads, scheduling free demos or consultations, and so on. This usually happens by tapping into a reader’s emotions, as 95 percent of buying decisions are known to take place in the subconscious mind.
Copywriting can be found everywhere, online and offline, not only in ads and video commercials, but also in catalogs, fundraising letters, flyers, brochures, sales emails, and sales letters.
Good copywriting is about making it easy to establish a connection between you and the brand while crafting a message that is easy to remember. A slogan or a tagline doesn’t stick in your head because it uses the correct tense or punctuation. You remember it because it’s catchy and taps into your feelings, evokes nostalgia, and aligns with your values.
However, copywriting is not just sales. If you want to reach the target audience with your advertising message, it’s critical to understand and connect with potential buyers. Copywriters often rely on market research, surveys, and cultural insights to determine what the audience wants, their everyday issues, and what inspires them.
Successful copywriting has:
- Purpose — every message must achieve a single goal.
- Structure — the copy uses smooth transitions and a logical flow to be compelling.
- Authenticity — the words reflect what the brand stands for.
- Accessibility — copywriting uses simple terms and phrases that people can understand and process quickly.
- Relatability — the person who reads the message can easily connect to the brand.
Not all writers are copywriters, and not every piece of content you produce requires copywriting skills.
Where is copywriting used?
Copywriting is commonly associated with advertisements, and that’s because ads are meant to be compelling and trigger reactions with short, catchy messages.
So, copywriting is always used in advertising for:
- Ads in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV
- Ads in social media
- Search engine advertising
However, persuasive messages play essential roles in more marketing areas, so you can find copywriting everywhere, not just in advertisements. Some of the marketing and sales materials that use copywriting are:
- Brochures and leaflets
- Taglines and captions
- Product descriptions
- Web pages, landing pages, and sales pages
- Sometimes, even press releases.
With copywriting being embedded in so many marketing areas, it’s safe to talk about various types of copywriting, depending on the marketing channel it matches:
- Direct response copywriting
- Website copywriting
- Blog copywriting
- Ad copywriting
- SEO copywriting
- Sales page copywriting
- Email copywriting
- Video copywriting
- UX copywriting
- Social media copywriting
Not all types of copywriting will play the same role in your overall marketing and sales strategy. However, business owners must acknowledge the differences between marketing channels and how each impacts your audience’s likeliness to take action. This way, hiring the right specialists for each campaign for increased efficiency and high ROI is easy.
Brand Copy vs. Sales Copy
Another important distinction is between brand copy and sales copy, as they use different techniques to persuade and trigger a response.
Brand copy (sometimes called marketing copy) is more flexible regarding its structure, being also more subtle. The copywriter chooses words wisely to avoid a hard sell or other types of commitment requiring immediate action.
The copy must take the audience on an emotional journey that guides readers and prospects. Eventually, the journey will lead to the same purpose as sales copy, but with more empathy and several milestones in between the moment of this touchpoint and the purchase.
Brand copy aims to raise brand awareness, communicate brand values, and establish a connection with the audience. When done right, this copy humanizes the brand and is focused on emotions rather than a logical response.
On the other hand, sales copy pursues a fast response. The goal is to persuade the audience to buy by telling a compelling story about products or services and their benefits. Valuable sales copy puts the reader at the center of the message and provides value, so the audience understands the urgency and when is the best time to act (usually, the time of reading).
The difference between copywriting and content writing
In short: content marketing informs, while copywriting persuades.
Content marketing aims to educate or entertain the audience with high-valuable content, whether it’s text, video, or audio. It may help with sales, but that isn’t its primary goal.
Examples of content include blog posts, ebooks, white papers, market reports, how-to videos, tutorials, podcasts, social media educational posts, Instagram stories, and newsletters.
A content writer produces longer content than a copywriter since the purpose is to educate — edutain is another term you might also find when reading about this topic. Educating or amusing an audience requires more than a few catchy phrases, so content pieces usually have between 500 to 2,500 words and more, depending on the topic.
So, if you’ve produced an ebook that educates your audience, that’s content marketing. If you put this piece of content behind a paywall and build a landing page to get downloads, the text on that page is copy. Content writing produces the ebook, and copywriting convinces readers to download it.
Copywriting and SEO
Both content marketing and copywriting should happen with SEO in mind. The quality of your copy influences the SEO page performance, so taking the time to do proper keyword research and write content optimized for search engines can increase the visibility of your message.
SEO matters in copywriting for the same reasons that it’s a crucial element in content marketing:
- It brings relevant quality traffic to your sales page, landing page, or ad.
- It helps you build trust by putting your ad in front of people who are looking for solutions like yours.
- It improves conversion rates by putting your message in front of people who have a genuine interest in your product or service.
Your copy is powerful only if it reaches the right audience. Ignoring SEO rules to focus exclusively on being catchy will narrow your audience or put your message in front of the wrong people.
How copywriting impacts your business
Copywriting is a double-edged sword that can influence business growth through multiple channels. Good copywriting helps a brand grow, but poor copywriting is likely to ruin its reputation. Let’s take a closer look.
The copy written for your marketing and sales messages portrays the brand’s image through tone, language, and relatability. Content writing also influences public perception, but a short, compelling tagline is likelier to cut through the noise and reach a large audience quickly.
Moreover, sloppy, unremarkable copy shows your business in a negative light, and the effects on your brand reputation are hard to control. According to Harvard Business School professor Amit Goldenberg, “Although people produce much more positive content on social media in general, negative content is much more likely to spread.” So, not paying enough attention to your copy will likely cancel out all your other marketing efforts.
Copywriting influences purchasing behavior, directly impacting your revenue and profitability. Copywriting supports your marketing and sales efforts, from building a community around your brand to lead generation to closing deals and getting referrals.
Powerful copy can close the deal
Copywriting serves particular purposes and plays a crucial role in offline and online marketing. It’s the link between building a relationship with your audience and closing deals. You can still capture attention without good copywriting, but you can’t retain it.
People find you online thanks to your high-quality content, but if you lack the right call to action at the right time, they’ll forget about you before you have the chance to close a sale. Even more reason to work on your own copywriting skills or collaborate with professional copywriters. There’s no other way around it if you want to create and maintain a successful marketing strategy online and offline.