Google ‘What is copywriting?’ and all the answers you’ll get will BE examples of copywriting, but most of them will be sucky examples.
Because only the answers that GRAB you are examples of good copywriting.
Just take a look at the headline answers I got on the first page results for ‘What is copywriting?’:
“…the process of writing advertising promotional materials.” Clear, factual, boring.
“…the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing.” Clear, factual, and makes me sleepy.
“…writing that is used to promote concepts, businesses, opinions or individuals.” Clear, factual, and zzzzzz. What was I saying again?
“…one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing.” Clear, factual, and OH, HOLD UP! *sits upright* Now, this sounds like kind of a big deal!
Now you know what copywriting is and that it’s not just writing. It’s writing that persuades. It moves you. It’s strategically written words that make readers go, “Oh, hold up!”
Not surprisingly, that last definition is from Copyblogger, a blog by professional copywriters who know how to do the hokey-pokey online.
Plain-Jane writing just pokes because it:
- Communicates clearly and gets the message across
- Has good grammar
While copywriting does the hokey-pokey because it:
- Is strategically written with a specific target audience in mind
- Knows exactly how to speak to that audience; uses their words and their tone
- It knows their problems
- And it offers the answers
- It knows their fears
- And it gives them hope
- It knows what t.v. shows they watch and what brand of ice-cream they eat!
- Good copy MIND READS because it’s well-researched. It’s analyzed the market
And, ultimately, it makes readers want to read more, click, or buy, i.e. it CONVERTS.
Plain-Jane writing just doesn’t do that. It will NEVER do that. It was not designed to do anything other than communicate clearly. With good grammar.
But in marketing, clear communication is not enough. Writing must win people over with emotion, with proof, with compelling messages, and with audience insight.
So that is why, if you want to sell online (or anywhere, for that matter) you need good copywriting.
You need to either study it yourself or you need to outsource it, because if you don’t, your online business is like a floppy fish out of water.
Once you learn what good copywriting is, you start seeing bad copy everywhere.
Copywriting is the backbone of digital marketing.
It’s what makes people open emails and sign-up to newsletters. It’s what makes people want to purchase a product even when there aren’t many images (don’t you hate that?!).
If you’ve ever mindlessly clicked yourself into a two-hour social media vortex, you can thank good copy for the ride.
Without great copy, the internet wouldn’t be the fascinating, emotionally-charged place that it is, giving us not just answers but inspiration.
Good copywriting gives readers good value, and that’s the deal you need to make in every piece of online writing if you expect to sell.
I’ll dive deep into teaching you the specific techniques of copywriting in the next coming months, so sign-up to my newsletter to get all my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox!
And if you are interested in this word wizardry as a career, read why I think it spectacularly suits introverts here.