May 19, 2021 (Updated: October 19, 2023)
You’ve probably heard the term copywriting and may even know that this is something your business needs to look into for its marketing efforts. However, you might not know exactly what copywriting is or how it will translate into more sales for your company. Understanding copywriting will give you the information you need to round out your marketing team and get the results you want from your campaigns.
Copywriting is the art of crafting written content for marketing purposes. Professional copywriters serve businesses in nearly every industry by helping these companies communicate effectively with their audiences. This may include both B2B and B2C communications, tailored to the needs of each client.
In the broadest sense, copywriting is the task of writing content for advertising and marketing. It’s not always easy to define copywriting in more detail, because this task can take so many forms. People often think exclusively of internet content and emails when they discuss copywriting, but this is an inaccurate assumption of the job. In fact, copywriting has been around much longer than the internet.
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Before most of a company’s marketing took place online, copywriters crafted the content for marketing in magazines, newspapers, brochures, and mailers. Copywriters also handled the scripts for radio and television advertising. These jobs still exist today, though in a more limited capacity since most copywriting has moved into the digital world.
A copywriter may create content for one marketing channel or many. Some copywriters specialize in a particular type of copy, such as blogs or product descriptions. Others work with all forms of copy but specialize in providing marketing content for a particular company, for which they will then create all the applicable campaigns.
Some of the copy involved in this job may include:
Most businesses take a diversified approach to their copywriting. A well-written website requires core content, but it may also need a blog and product descriptions. Brick and mortar businesses may benefit from physical mailers and regular social media activity. A well-rounded copywriter can assist in all these areas.
Online copywriting refers to any kind of copy that’s used on the internet. All the content present on a company’s website is part of an online copywriting project. Depending on the nature of the business, this might include product descriptions for an online catalog, regular blog posts to establish thought leadership, industry white papers, or video scripts.
Online copywriting can also include digital marketing, such as email marketing and social media marketing. Copywriters may handle everything from email newsletters to order confirmation emails to daily Facebook and Twitter posts. It’s important for the copy in all these places to be well written and carefully thought out.
Copywriting is a specialized job because businesses will make the best impression on their customers when they put forth content that’s both engaging and grammatically correct. It’s important to have a skilled writer on the job because 74% of internet users pay attention to spelling and grammar quality on company websites and 59% will avoid purchasing goods or services from a company with obvious spelling and grammar mistakes.
Online copywriting is a rapidly growing field and one that can benefit any business with an internet presence.
Though the primary job of a copywriter is to write content, a copywriter’s work actually involves a wide range of duties that fills the copywriter’s time with more than just artfully putting words together. If you’re considering adding a copywriter to your team, it’s helpful to have a well-rounded idea of what this professional can do for your company.
Many copywriters begin by brainstorming content topics and crafting titles. This is especially true of those who produce an ongoing series of blog posts. Copywriters who work with social media marketing will need to assess the overall marketing goals for the period and determine what types of posts are best suited to the current campaigns.
Some copywriters work as part of a team with specialized roles for generating ideas for new content, developing article ideas, and actually executing these pieces. Copywriters who work as independent contractors take on each assignment or project individually and may spend part of the day looking over the assignments they’ve been offered and choosing which ones to work on based on their schedule.
Copywriters often work with project managers who oversee the overarching campaign and give assignments to one or more copywriters on the team. If there’s a particularly large project, such as a batch of thousands of product descriptions, that needs to be completed in a limited amount of time, it will take a whole team of copywriters to handle the workload and a dedicated project manager to coordinate it all.
Working with a specialized content management company like CopyPress gives you access to experienced project managers who work closely with individual copywriters to make sure everyone involved in the project handles each part of the marketing campaign properly and completes the work in a timely manner.
Since copywriting projects are so diverse, they typically come with style guides that give the copywriter essential details on how to complete each piece. Style guides are especially important when multiple copywriters are working on a single campaign. The style guide details things such as:
Before completing a project, copywriters review all this information to make sure they’re using the right stylistic approach and incorporating the proper terminology. Some content is written for a highly educated audience that’s experienced within the industry and thus needs a professional and informative tone. Other pieces may be designed for a young audience of teenagers who are online shopping. In this case, the content should include modern slang and avoid complex industry jargon.
Research is crucial for a copywriter’s job. Part of creating informative content involves carefully researching and fact-checking information to provide customers and clients with the right details. Skilled copywriters are typically skilled researchers as well, and they know how to find reliable information quickly and effectively for the pieces that they’re working on.
Creating an outline is the next step for many copywriters. This generally includes subheadings for the content and provides rough guidance as to how many words will be in each section. These outlines also help address SEO considerations, such as keyword use and placement, link use and placement, and content organization. This outline also helps the writer properly allocate the word count throughout the piece, so they’re sure to address all essential points and handle them in a logical order.
The rough draft is a copywriter’s initial pass at a piece of written content. Whether this is a brief product description or a lengthy white paper, it’s rarely complete after the initial draft.
Every copywriter has their own process for producing content. Some may produce a rough draft and immediately proceed to edit and rewrite it while others may prefer to let their rough draft sit while they work on another project so they can approach it again with fresh eyes later in the day or week. The process that the content goes through also depends on the project’s timeline.
Copywriters are not the same as editors, but they handle a reasonable amount of editing work. Once the rough draft is complete, the writer typically reviews and edits their work. If they make significant changes, the piece may go through several rounds of editing before the copywriter is confident in handing it off.
In many companies, including CopyPress, a dedicated editor reviews the copywriter’s work. Once the editor reviews the content, it may also move on to a project manager for further quality control. If anyone involved finds that the content is lacking at any stage in this process, they may send it back to the copywriter for additional edit requests.
Once the content has successfully made its way through the editorial team’s evaluation, it’s delivered to the client. This is the final stage of the copywriter’s job. However, it’s important for others on the marketing team to keep an eye on the content once published to see how it performs and what type of attention it’s able to garner. This provides valuable information for the copywriter to consider for future projects.
For example, if a particular brand voice is falling flat, the copywriter may need to change their approach to the content to better connect with the targeted audience. A dedicated marketing team is invaluable in this process, as they’re able to monitor and assess each piece of content and loop the copywriter in where appropriate to make sure that the team can create a project that outperforms the previous one every time.
There are several crucial skills that a copywriter should possess to excel at their job. While copywriting may initially seem like a straightforward task that anyone on your team could add to their workload, it’s important to note that this job requires a specialized skill set if you plan to make your copy stand out above the competition. Any copywriter that you work with should be skilled in the following areas.
First and foremost, a copywriter should have exceptional writing skills. While this comes more naturally to some than to others, great writing is something that one can hone with practice. Copywriters must take the time to learn how to adhere to style manuals and work with style guides. For marketing purposes, the best writing is concise and understandable. While well-placed adjectives can help, particularly with product descriptions, it’s important for copywriters to distinguish their work from flowery prose.
As mentioned previously, copywriters have to do a great deal of research for many of their projects. This means that they must know how to locate, evaluate, extract, and organize information. Much of this now happens online, where the biggest hazard is inaccurate or misrepresented information. Copywriters must learn where they can find reliable information, how to translate some of this complex technical or statistical jargon into readable content, and how to fact-check essential details.
Strong research skills also include the ability to perform critical analysis, pay attention to details, problem-solve holes in the information, and properly note the essential details so these can be included in the copy. Organization is crucial here because copywriters typically need to find and compile a great deal of information in a limited time frame. Copywriters must organize the information well so they can quickly translate it into the appropriate type of content.
While many parts of copywriting are fairly straightforward, this job still provides plenty of room for creativity. Copywriters often flex their creative muscles as they’re crafting punchy headlines that will get readers to click on the content. Skilled copywriters also strive to come up with a fresh approach to their topics. The internet is flooded with information, and it’s up to the copywriter to make sure that what they’re offering is somehow distinct from what’s already available.
Time management is essential in the marketing and publishing industries, and this is especially true for copywriting. Copywriters are usually part of a much larger team that handles everything from designing the initial architecture of the marketing campaign to evaluating the performance of completed emails, blogs, and social media posts.
The copywriter is at the center of this overarching marketing timeline and must be able to deliver content in a timely manner. This means working backward from each new assignment and estimating how long every step will take, including research, outlines, writing, and editing. Copywriters are typically working on several projects at once, so they’re responsible for carefully allocating their time throughout the day and week to make sure that they complete all content assigned to them on or ahead of schedule.
Attention to detail is paramount in copywriting because an erroneous quote or a typo in a critical statistic can undermine the entire piece and destroy a client’s attempt to establish professionalism, reliability, and thought leadership. Good copywriters pay close attention to all the details in their content and carefully double-check essential information. They’re also mindful of grammatical details and proper voice throughout the work.
Editing skills are a critical component of one’s attention to detail. After writing copy, it’s easy to slide over errors and allow the brain to fill in for mistakes. Copywriters often employ a variety of tricks to help them evaluate their content carefully, such as reading their piece out loud or reading through an article backward to disrupt the flow and make it easier to analyze each word and phrase independently.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an area that’s changing rapidly, so this skill set must grow at an equal pace. SEO was once as simple as selecting and using the right keywords in abundance. Now, search engines are wise to content farms that produce low-quality pieces with little useful information. Modern SEO is as much about quality as keywords. Writers must stay up-to-date on the latest tactics for optimizing content, such as including rich snippets at the top of articles or writing for natural language processing.
There are many SEO strategies that a copywriter might implement, and several of these depend on the nature of the content and the individual client’s goals. When you have an experienced marketing team at your disposal, they can collaborate to help the writer target the optimum SEO practices for each project.
Any company that wants to market its products and services needs copywriting. From in-depth e-books to catchy taglines, copywriters know how to craft the carefully thought-out content you need for your business. Writing great copy is something that requires skill and experience, so it’s best left to a professional who specializes in this exact field.
While your internal sales staff, product development team, and upper management personnel may have a great deal of information and ideas to contribute, it’s best for businesses to turn this accumulated copy over to a professional copywriter. The copywriter can then turn the details, ideas, and suggestions of your team into clear, concise pieces that are laser-focused on the areas that matter.
Most businesses with an online presence need an extensive amount of copywriting to build out an informative webpage with all the details and SEO that the company needs to stay competitive in today’s crowded marketplaces. This means companies need one or more copywriters who can create consistent quality content, such as blogs, resource articles, email campaigns, social media posts, new product descriptions, communications, and more.
Great copywriting is an investment, but it’s one that will usually pay for itself. Consider some of these key benefits of having high-quality copy for your marketing purposes.
Your customers will judge the professionalism and reliability of your business by the content it publishes. If you send out mailers with dry content that’s not engaging, they’re more likely to end up in the trash bin than on the fridge. Today, 87% of shoppers begin their product search online, which means your internet copy may very well be your first introduction to a potential shopper. With well-crafted copy, you can make a great impression and present a polished company image from the first moment that you make contact.
Working with a skilled copywriter will help you improve your SEO by providing potential customers and clients with informative content that fills a genuine need. Today’s online shoppers know what they want, and they appreciate those companies that can provide it. Likewise, these shoppers are skilled at spotting content that’s poorly crafted and of little purpose. Search engines will reward you for developing solid copy, making it easier for new customers to find your page.
There’s a great deal of competition today in most industries, so it’s important to establish yourself as an expert in your particular niche. You can do this with copywriting that’s concise yet detailed and filled with all the essential information readers are looking for. A good copywriter knows how to structure your content so the most important points lead, key facts are easy to find, and the entire piece is scannable.
Good copy can build relationships. Written well, your content can create an emotional connection with your customers. It may do this by detailing the customer’s pain points in language that’s both clear and conscientious. Let your customers know you understand their struggle, you care about their outcomes, and you’re equipped to help them on their journey by sending the perfect message with your content.
Nearly all copywriting comes with a call to action. In some cases, this is a very obvious call to make a purchase. In other instances, the call to action is woven into the copy more subtly, so the customer doesn’t feel hassled or bombarded with demands. Mindful copywriting will guide your customers through the sales funnel comfortably, so they have time to acclimate to each stage and always feel confident moving on to the next action.
If you’re ready to add copywriting to your marketing toolkit, CopyPress can connect you to experienced copywriters who know how to elevate your content and help you achieve your marketing goals.
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