Copywriting is the content you see written in the caption of a Facebook ad. It’s the headline of a Google ad or the description of a YouTube video. It’s the text on a website, from the landing page to the product page.
Outside of digital marketing, it’s the text written on billboards, the title of a newspaper article, and the sign outside of a brick-and-mortar store.
When people talk about “clickbait” headlines, they’re talking about copywriting. Copywriting motivates people to click on a website, tells them why they need to buy the product, and persuades them to swap their money for goods and services.
As we talk about copywriting throughout this article, we’re talking about content put on websites, social profiles, ad campaigns, and email campaigns that are designed to make somebody want to buy a product, become part of a community, sign up for a free offer, etc.
What is Copywriting NOT?
The short answer: pretty much any other type of writing.
Copywriting is intended to move you to action. It is strategical and to the point. So anything that doesn’t do that? Not copywriting. A blog post about Facebook ads? Not copywriting. That book on your shelf that talks about what copywriting is that you haven’t read? STILL not copywriting.
See copywriting is often confused with content writing. But they aren’t quite the same.
- Content writing is this article in its entirety
- Copywriting is the text you see promoting the DigitalMarketer products within this article
See the difference?
But there is often some level of overlap.
Content writing says, “Here’s some free value in the form of useful information. If you feel like it, check out our other useful information or get it delivered to your inbox, sign up for a free trial, etc.”. It’s usually longer form content (500–3,000+ word articles).
Copywriting doesn’t beat around the bush. It says, “Sign up for this free thing” (in a very convincing tone). It’s shorter form, 100–1,000 words that tell you what the product does, why you need it, and how to buy it RIGHT NOW.
So know content writing can help with your copywriting, but the reverse is true in spades. Having the skills to drive action in just a few impactful words can boost the quality and value of your content writing.
How has Copywriting Changed Since Marketing Went Digital?
Before the internet age dawned on the marketing industry and decided that digital would be king—copywriting was alive and thriving.
What was happening in advertising in 2000? Forward-thinking marketers, like Gary Vaynerchuk, were on top of the Adwords launch—he launched his first Adwords campaign the same day that Adwords came out. But the rest of the marketers were still focused on traditional marketing methods, trying to figure out how to make their catalog advertisements get traction.
Who Needs Copywriting?
If you have a product that you’re trying to sell to people—you need copywriting.
Think of your customers on one side of a ledge and your product on a nearby ledge. The only way for your customers to get from their ledge to your product’s ledge is a bridge.
Every business needs copywriting if they want to convert traffic into customers. Websites without copy don’t get sign-ups or opt-ins, don’t build brand awareness, and don’t persuade people to give them their money.
When Should You Use Copywriting?
You should be using copy on all of your business’ online platforms: social media, emails, and websites. This isn’t to be confused with only using copy on your platforms.
Think of the last business that wouldn’t stop asking you to buy something from them, whether it was through an email marketing campaign, direct mail, Facebook ad, TV commercial, etc.
When a business asks us too many times to buy something, their reputation suffers. Suddenly they switch from problem solver to annoying younger sibling. We want them to buzz off and let us be, regardless of the secret they’re dying to tell us.
Yet, as business owners, we still need to ask people to buy things. We just need to do it tactfully…
For example, filling your blog page with copywriting might be overkill (ironic coming from a blog about copywriting, yes? ). This is where you want to focus on content writing and providing value before asking. On the reverse, copywriting on your landing page is essential. This is the website page that’s going to persuade somebody to visit your blog instead of hitting that dreaded back button.