What is copywriting? It’s simply the use of words to drive an audience (typically consumers) to action.
More importantly, copywriting is one element of your marketing toolbox. To build awareness and recognition of your product or service and to ultimately drive sales, you can use a variety of marketing tools, including placing ads (that is, buying digital, television, radio, or a print ad space), handing out brochures, sending direct mail or email, creating a website, and much more.
To ensure those tools will produce the results you want, you need to communicate with appropriate and compelling words. Those words create the message your ad or marketing tool conveys to consumers, and those words are called copy.
Crafting those words is copywriting, but a great deal of research, thought, and analysis need to be done in order to write effective copy.
You DON’T Have to be the Best Writer to be a Great Copywriter
Advertising agencies make novice copywriters think the craft can only be correctly executed by experts. You’d think only Shakespeare, himself, could create copy that will sell products based on what ad agency account managers tell their clients, and luckily, the agency happens to have Shakespearean copywriters on staff who have the special talents and experience necessary to rise to the challenge.
But remember—it’s copy, not Macbeth. When people are considering a product to buy, they are not thinking in Shakespearean terms, but rather, they are thinking quite simply. Sure they’ll weigh options and compare features and prices, particularly with larger purchases, but the final purchase decision is a very basic one.
You DO Have to Understand Marketing to be a Great Copywriter
Copywriting is also quite simple when you look at its basic purpose. You have a product to sell. Who wants your product and why? How can you compel those people to act and buy your product? Copy that sells products appeals to consumers’ needs.
Remember the first tenet of marketing, “Your product or service is far less important than its ability to fulfill your customers’ needs.” It’s essential to understand that consumers may not even realize they have any needs. Great copy makes people think they want your product. Great copy makes people think they need your product.
In “official” marketing terminology, this process is called creating a perceived need but let’s call it what it is at its most basic level—seducing someone to act in a certain way through the use of persuasive language. That’s right. The best copywriters can convince consumers to buy things for which they have no need.
Do people need a Mercedes? No. Do people need an automatic dishwasher? No. The copywriter’s job is to persuade consumers to think they need these items when in fact, they are not essential. They might look good or make life a bit easier, but no one needs these items. However, companies are selling non-essentials at a staggering rate. How do they do it?
The answer is simple. They do it with great advertising copy that convinces consumers to give up their hard-earned money in exchange for a product or service, but there is a lot more to writing that great copy than smoke and mirrors.
This article is adapted from Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps.