Copywriting uses words to attract, engage and motivate people to take action.
Often thought of as the process behind writing magazine and newspaper articles, copywriting is the art and science used to write compelling copy for any purpose.
Whenever you read words or hear audio that flows seamlessly towards a relevant conclusion, the odds are a professional copywriter has written them.
But copywriting goes much further than proper grammar and correct punctuation: from the most memorable advertisements to the punchiest website content; copywriters are talented wordsmiths.
They cleverly weave words into engaging stories that make an emotional connection.
Short copy, long copy, advertisement or a three-word corporate tagline — whatever the requirement, copywriters use creativity, art and science to create compulsive reading.
What makes a good copywriter?
Typically creatives; right-side-of-the-brain thinkers who know what makes readers tick.
It’s easy to learn the basics, but writing good copy takes a lot of skill — a bit like learning a musical instrument: you can practice with a chord book, but it’s not going to make you play like Jimi Hendrix.
Good copywriters are efficient. They need to take all the knowledge, and opinion clients generate from months or years in business and extract the stuff that really means something: those golden nuggets of information readers will relate to
Accreditation and evidence are always good — but I know a lot of good copywriters working at the top of the game who aren’t academically qualified. They’re just brilliant at writing copy.
Above all though, good copywriters are passionate about their work. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into crafting that killer piece of copy, so nothing puts a smile on a copywriter's face more than seeing their words make things happen.
Why people use copywriters
People hire copywriters because copywriting isn’t easy. And when the words used are a direct reflection of a company’s values, culture and integrity, it pays to get it right.
I’ve met a lot of business people who talk a convincing talk. But when it comes to putting it all in writing something gets lost in translation.
Look at the facts: according to research by online advertisement company Wordstream, a good landing page conversion rate is between two and five per cent — that means up to ninety-eight per cent of people landing a website aren’t convinced by what they read.
In the 1960’s, advertising pioneer Ian Ogilvy claimed that only one-in-five people read the copy on a page after reading the header.
Today, sixty to eighty per cent of people read a headline, but only twenty to forty per cent read the copy.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a web page, brochure or ad — if the headline doesn’t stick, the reader is gone, and if the body copy doesn’t hold, the reader is gone.
People hire copywriters to write killer headlines and compelling body copy. Because it works, and it’s an awful lot safer than doing it yourself.
About the author
Phil Allen is a former agency owner with 20-years B2B and B2C content writing experience. He now works as a freelance copywriter for businesses and agencies in the UK, creating persuasive copy for websites, advertising and marketing.