What Is Copywriting

By CM Strawn

The question is often asked by many people when they hear the word copywriting. Their first impression is the securing of intellectual rights to music, lyrics, books and the like. That is a copyright and it deals with lawyerly things and legal protections. Copywriting has to do with persuasion.

Definition of Copywriting

            The Oxford Dictionary describes copywriting as, “The activity or occupation of writing the text of advertisements or publicity material.”.

            This definition is simple, direct and doesn’t adequately explain copywriting. A better example is from Wikipedia. “Copywriting is the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.

            “Copywriters help create billboards, brochures, catalogs, jingle lyrics, magazine and newspaper advertisements, sales letters and other direct mail, scripts for television or radio commercials, taglines, white papers, social media posts and other marketing communications.”

            American Writers and Artists, Inc. or AWAI describe copywriting as a “salesman in print”. And Bob Bly, in his book “The Copywriter’s Handbook” quoted Judith Charles, president of her own retail advertising agency, “Judith K. Charles Creative Communication” as saying, “A copywriter is a salesperson behind a typewriter”. From these descriptions it sounds like the copywriter might be the guy on the street hawking his wares.

            Copywriters are in sales and they are trying to get the reader to buy something. But a sales professional who tries to force someone into a buying decision or who is deceitful will not last long. Sales professionals are consultants who identify problems that people have and offer them a solution. Professional copywriters, like sales professionals, offer products or services that solve problems or fulfill needs.  

Why Copywriters Are Important

            The total number of websites are in the multiple millions. Anyone can have a website. Some are nothing more than personal web logs, or blogs. More important, many more are websites of companies with products or services to sell. Some of these products are physical while others are digital. Regardless of the product, the company needs a web presence and effective copy to get their product or service in front of the public so they can buy it.

            If a business is going to compete in the digital landscape, they must have a website and a presence on the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. In order to get noticed in this sea of digital media it is important to have high-quality content. Professional copywriters produce that content and give the business a professional image.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

            Content that produces the best results has actionable information that can help the reader. This type of content is what search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. look for when ranking websites. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

            There are other things that search engines look for, but if the content is poor quality and repeats keywords, chances are high that the website will rank low. Professional copywriters make sure that the search engines like the content they find on the website and that it gets ranked as high as possible.

The Need for Copywriters

            Copywriters produce the copy that describes the product and why you need to buy it. It persuasively describes the product that will make your life much easier and all the ways your life will be more difficult without it. states the need for copywriters this way: Copywriting “ is the straw that stirs the money-milkshake.”.

            Many business owners, and people with something to sell, know they need to let people know about their product or service. Some may attempt to write their own copy to tempt the prospective customer to part with their money in exchange for the product. They soon realize that writing persuasive copy is harder than it looks. Effective copy is essential to get their product into the hands of buyers. This unique skill is the product of the professional copywriter.

Copywriters Persuade

            Most people know what they want to buy when they start shopping. Their first stop is the internet where they research the best possible product for the least possible price. The business website is where seller and buyer first meet. This website must be attractive and professional. It is the face of the business for the customer who is browsing.

            The landing page of a business’ website is the place where shoppers first meet the company. First impressions matter. The prospect must find the landing page appealing and easy to navigate.

            These landing pages with product descriptions, their features and benefits, are written by copywriters who help the customer make their buying decision. The copywriter’s responsibility is not only to describe the product or service, but also to show the prospect why product “x” will solve their problem or fill their need better than the competing product “y”, even though product “x” is a little more expensive. Copywriters produce copy that move prospects to action.

Copywriting vs Content Writing

            Content writing is also produced by copywriters. This type of writing includes blog posts, white papers, social media posts, etc., which is usually directed between businesses, or B2B. It is informative rather than persuasive. But the goal is still to generate a desire for the product and get the reader to choose the described product or service over competitors.

            Copywriting is directed at the individual or B2C, business to customer. The goal of copywriting is to persuade the prospect to buy something or trade their name and email address for some valuable information. This type of copy will show the prospect that the described product or service will fill their need or desire better than any competitor. The effective copywriter will cause the prospect to wonder how they ever lived without the described product or service and they will want to tell all their friends about it.


            Persuasive copy is the tool that businesses use to make the public aware of their product and why they should buy it. With the explosion of the internet, the way to reach the maximum number of people is through a professional looking website. Effective copy must accompany the web presence. The professional copywriter is essential to the success of any business.

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