When you think of copywriting do you think of those direct mail pieces that arrive in your mail box? Or do you think of the text of a television ad? Or do the words in a radio spot come to mind?
If so, you’d be right in all those instances. Yet you’d also have missed some.
At its essence, copywriting is persuasive writing. It is copy that encourages – compels, nudges – the reader to do something, usually to buy something. Although, in the context of website copywriting, for example, the copy could be there to persuade the reader to click on a link, fill out a form to request more information or to sign up for an electronic newsletter.
Copywriting can take the form of:
-direct mail pieces-news releases-television ads-magazine ads-Banner or text ads on websites-newsletters, either online or off–sales flyers, etc.
While it persuades, copywriting always should be about the benefit of the product or service you are selling or the action are trying to get the reader to take (signing up for the newsletter will bring them good information about personal finance, for example). Businesses forget about this important fact often, trying to “sell” the reader by telling him or her about a product’s/service’s “features:” it has a turbo engine or it’s written by a Ph.D. in economics. So what? asks the reader.
Good copywriting answers that “so what?” before the reader asks it: “Its 300 horsepower turbo engine means you can go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds.” “My Ph.D. in economics means you can trust my financial advice.”
There’s a lot more to say about copywriting. I’m going to talk a bit more about the different forms of copywriting in my next few posts and I’ll focus on direct mail in my next one.