When copywriting started to become a profession in the mid-1800s, it was easy to characterize copywriting as a powerful tool in advertising. It involved writing ads for products and services to let people know about them. That was it. Back then, there were neither television nor radio, and certainly, the Internet was nowhere near the picture. The print media was the sole method of advertising products and services.
What was entirely inconceivable back then became today’s reality. Defining what is copywriting all about has become complicated with its much broader spectrum when it assumed many forms and styles of presentation. It has obviously evolved from just providing text to a product or service. The means of reaching and affecting people are far different when heard over the radio and seen on TV as commercials, flashed on PowerPoint presentation, read on glossy brochures, and splashed on magazine centerfolds.
The word may not be an everyday one. However, unknown to people, copywriting is what comprises their daily existence. It is in the very words printed, spoken, read or heard in all types of advertising, marketing, publicity materials, and sales promotion. It conquers all communications media, whether in print, air or the Internet. It takes various forms from the headline, the body, caption, runners, slogans, scripts, and dialogues.
Copywriting is not interchangeable with copyright. Nothing makes them comparable or even related. A copyright legally protects the creator of an original work, such as songs, screenplays, photographs, and books. Most governments enact this to give exclusive rights to the creator to his work, for a limited period. Copyright is symbolized by ©, thus when seen indicates that the permission of the owner is required before his work can be used for any purpose. The only way it gets near copywriting is when a copywriter seeks creative rights or patents to his copy.
Copywriting silently influences the daily life. It occupies almost every space where a text is written: it is in the ads in magazines, in the posters that hang in display windows, in the product labels in the supermarket, on the billboards along the road. It is what our eyes cannot avoid seeing around because they are meant to be seen to influence us into buying products and subscribing to services. Probably the persuasive brochure text made you purchase a new cellular phone even if your old unit works perfectly. On the other hand, the glib-talking commercial model made you reserve a weekend stay at a fabulous beach resort.
You can glimpse a better idea of what copywriting is about from knowing what prompted a person to act in relation to a product or service. Copy is used in almost everything that is for sale not only for things but also for services. Copy is used to promote the features and benefits one can enjoy in choosing a particular product or service over the others. It is used to campaign for people such as politicians, ideas such as anti-smoking drive, and ideals such as human rights.
The advertising world thrives with copywriters that can be categorized as agency-employed and freelancers. More than half occupy different positions in companies engaged in advertising, marketing, and public relations while the rest are self-employed copywriters. Regardless of the nature of their employment, these people are responsible in sending powerful messages across the world where there are means of communication in place. It is a glaring fact that copywriting is both a fulfilling and lucrative job to entice many professionals to be engaged in it. With more innovations that can make what is copywriting as a highly competitive career justifies even more why it is important for a copywriter to be dedicated, determined, and creative in persuading people to buy his ideas.
What does it take to be a savvy copywriter? Some say one needs to be good at words while others believe it takes a marketing genius to become a top-rated copywriter. Still, some insist that only those with copywriting skills to concoct intriguing headlines and captivating catchphrases are what characterize an effective copywriter.
There is a lot of confusion in defining what a copywriter is. They are neither journalists nor creative writers. Although they need to possess much of the same journalistic and writing skills, copywriters are either members of a project team or who work as freelancers in producing an advertising material with an end in view of fulfilling an objective. Thus, aside from the need to be creative in writing a copy, other copywriting skills that are required from copywriters include interpersonal, presentation, organizational, and strategic conceptualizing skills.
Just like a passionate journalist, a copywriter is always in pursuit of facts and information. It is always an objective to obtain full knowledge about the product or service and to know who the real audience is. A complete knowledge of the product is vital in writing a good copy compelling enough for the market to patronize it because the right message is conveyed.
Before a copy is launched, a copywriter tediously performs research on the product background by reading all documents, presentations, research works, and even office memos in the process of gathering information. It is also part of the job to investigate competitors’ products and look for weaknesses to strengthen and gain advantage from. Although the copy may not completely reveal it, all the information within it is the result of interviews and studies conducted by a hardworking copywriter.
While many people think that writing does not require much skill, it is what is largely required to come up with a good copy. It is difficult to imagine how to communicate a product or service to different markets and media if the ability to convey is lacking. It can only result to dismal copy that is not only stale, but also vague and irrelevant. In copywriting, a copy that does not directly connect cannot remain for long.
The most advantageous copywriting skills to be possessed by people dreaming to become copywriters must include knowledge in composition, grammar, vocabulary, and adeptness in the mechanics of language. In fact, these are the vital elements in writing a copy conveying clear and terse message easily understood by the clients. If there is one mistake in copywriting then it is probably being unoriginal and predictable.
The skilful manner of constructing words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs to create a solid concept dictates the impact a copy can make in persuading people to patronize the product or service. With the use of the right jargon and language, a copy that campaigns even for a relatively unknown product stands the chance of getting noticed even by doubtful customers. On the contrary, the absence of creative writing skill can result to nothing but a copy that falls flat regardless of how good the product is or how strong the messages are.
Copywriting is trying to make a sale in print and not persistent telemarketing calls or nuisance salespersons knock on your door. Genuine selling involves knowing the right product to offer that can make customers feel good. It is in understanding what people need and giving them reasons to buy what you offer.
Effective copywriting is having the acumen to feel for the customers and know exactly what they desire. It is guiding them through the process of choosing the product by means of a proposal that suggests the best benefits. However, one mistake to avoid is to become too assuming and forceful in getting people accept the bid immediately. Although creative copywriting can persuade people at the first instance, it’s different with clients who take time to decide and who have the convenience of just clicking no.
It is easy to spot a copy oozing with copywriting skills possessed by a creative copywriter. It is truthful, credible, and containing information that enlightens the ever-changing mind of potential clients. Most importantly, it is powerful enough to trigger the right response and motivates the reader to take the required action.