What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the art of putting words together in a way that will make readers take some kind of action after reading them.

Copywriting is one of the most demanded elements of any online marketing strategy.

After all, finding the right words that will prompt your users to take the action you want is what marketing is all about.

That is why copywriters are some of the highest-paid types of writers.

Let’s see what copywriting is all about then.

Copywriting 101 – 5 core copywriting skills you can use

Avoid formalism, write like you talk

People tend to feel more connected to messages that speak to them in a familiar and simple way.

Imagine you are writing for a friend, a relative, or someone you love. You would probably use more common expressions or shorter sentences.

Copywriting is all about how the person who reads feels convinced or drawn to take some action. The use of sentences that are too long or too specific makes us immediately stop and look for other easy-to-read pieces instead.

Keep your text short and straight to the point, people will avoid copy that takes too long to explain something.

Write for your target customer

If you are writing for a brand or business, think about that one person that might be reading, and forget about your total potential readers.

When you have that one person in mind, write for them using more direct forms, such as “you” instead of “they” or “we” to create a stronger connection with that prospect.

Some businesses fail to write a more personalized message with sentences like:

“Our product does XYZ”

“We help people do XYZ”

“I have seen this problem many times”

Instead, try other more customer-centric approaches, like:

“Here’s how you can start…”

“You will benefit from…”

“Your problem solved with…”

Shifting the tone towards a more prospect-centric one will make readers want to know more and potentially take the action you wish them to.

Use short, concise sentences

There’s this misconception that good writing needs to be complex to sound better. In fact, quite the opposite.

Shorter and more concise sentences make it easier to understand concepts and ideas. If a text is too long or contains complex terms, the reader will find it hard to follow and leave your page quickly.

Simplify what you are trying to tell your readers. If they don’t understand what you’re talking about they probably won’t buy what you are selling.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short:

  • Sentences should contain 18-20 words
  • Paragraphs should be 3-5 lines long

Sell the problem you solve

Many brands and businesses feel they need to tell the world how good their/product or service is. But the reality is that people don’t like to feel like they’re being sold.

What’s the best approach then? Tell them how you solve the problem they have.

Instead of focusing your copy on the wonders your product or service has, talk about common problems your readers face.

You’ll be creating a sense of understanding and empathy that will make it a lot easier to sell them what you want.

Invite your readers to take action

Once you craft an attention-grabbing piece of text for your target readers to see, always remember to invite them to take some sort of action.

The whole purpose of good copywriting is that.

Depending on what your text is about, it is always interesting to add some form of a call to action or CTA.

Prompts like “Get your discount here” “Learn how” “Shop now” and countless others are some forms of popular CTAs you can find out there.

Pick the one that best suits your text’s purpose and place them after explaining how you help your reader with their problem.

The benefits of copywriting

Whenever a brand or a business invests in good copywriting, the results are clearly visible.

Having the right copy has numerous benefits, these are a few:

  • It builds your brand.

Having a tone of voice or a distinctive way of expressing yourself as a business creates a stronger brand personality. That makes your audience identify more with your message.

  • Increases your conversion rates.

When you have the right copy in place, sales start to happen. When you are able to deliver the exact message your audience is looking for, it becomes easier to showcase your products/services. They feel more comfortable choosing your option over any other.

  • Improves your online visibility

Great copy sells, but SEO-focused copy gets found, which is even better. Not only is it key to write for your customers but also that the content you create is optimized for search engines. SEO copywriting is able to create compelling texts that are also keyword targeted.

Types of copywriting

There are as many types of copywriting as purposes for it. Depending on what you are going to use your copy for, you’ll need to use the format that best suits your target.

SEO copywriting

SEO copywriting is one of the most demanded forms of writing. As mentioned a little earlier, it mixes the ability good copy has to sell with the possibility of it getting found by your target customers.

With the right keywords in place, you can create texts that are optimized for search engines. That way, your chances of getting found by potential customers increase. When they land on your page, written with high-converting copy, the magic happens.

SEO copywriting needs a number of actions and tools to effectively work:

These are the terms your customers type when they search for something online.

  • Content strategy

Based on what you find out about potential keywords, you create a strategy around those words so you can produce keyword-focused content, such as blogs, ebooks, articles, videos, etc.

  • Meta tags

These elements are present in any piece you post on your page or blog. They refer to the page title, headings, and subheadings. It also includes the description that appears below each item’s title on a search result page.

  • URLs or Slugs

Search engines also look at how a URL, also called slug, is written. That’s why it is important to pay attention to this area as well. Long URLs with endless strings of numbers or words are not a good sign in the eyes of search engines.

seo copywriting
SEO copywriting

Website copywriting

This is the type of writing you can find on websites and its purpose is to explain and show what the site is about. It is key to have the best possible copy as that will make your visitors stay or leave.

This type of writing helps your visitors understand what the page is about. Different forms of copywriting for websites are found on:

  • E-commerce sites
  • Landing pages
  • Product pages
copywriting for a landing page
Copywriting for a landing page

Email copywriting

This is any writing that is aimed to make the recipient of a sales email perform some action every time they receive the message in their inbox.

This type of copywriting needs to be very persuasive as the email you write needs a lot of actions to take place:

  • The user has to open the email
  • Read it
  • Click on it

These may seem like three simple steps, but the first alone is probably the most difficult one with an open rate of 21.33% on average for all industries, according to this study by Mailchimp.

copywriting for email
Copywriting for an email

3 common mistakes in copywriting

The art of creating great copy is no small feat. It’s not uncommon to find some popular mistakes when writing with a sales purpose in mind.

These are some of the most frequent ones:

Using too much jargon or technical terms

Wanting to sound knowledgeable is something many writers want, but that desire can make them end up using too many abbreviations, industry jargon, or specific terms.

Abuse the use of this kind of expression and you’ll easily lose your reader’s attention.

The key lies in making unknown words or technical concepts simple and easy to understand.

Grammar and spelling mistakes

Nothing sells worse than a typo.

It’s common to make some spelling and grammar mistakes here and there. That’s why it is crucial to proofread your text after you finish writing.

Typos and spelling mistakes make you look unprofessional, they’ll easily scare away your potential customers.

Being too salesy

Copywriting is about making your reader take some form of action after they read a text. It’s common to see copywriting examples where the sale intention is too obvious.

And as mentioned earlier, people don’t like to feel like they’re being sold.

Instead of writing like you want to sell, write like you know your reader’s problems and the solutions they can find with you.

The difference between content writing and copywriting

Content writing is creating and sharing content in different forms for the purposes of informing and attracting potential customers.

Copywriting is about creating content that gets the reader to take a desired action – buy, subscribe, call, email, etc.

However, one lacks all its purpose without the other.

You could have amazing blog posts, articles, or websites that include great pieces of content. They may be of great use and interest to your readers but if it’s not created for them to take action after they read, what’s the point then?

And vice versa. Aim to create non-salesy content to build authority, awareness, and trustworthiness first. Leverage all that to build content that does have a sales approach and is rich in conversion copywriting.

Combine these two techniques to squeeze all the juice from both worlds and you’ll have the recipe for success.

When do you need a copywriter?

Copywriters are increasingly in high demand as businesses realize the need to invest a lot in good-quality content that converts potential customers.

But this is a struggle many companies and businesses face as some don’t realize when they need to invest in a good copywriter.

Here are some situations when a business might need one:

  • Creating content requires a lot of time.

Not all businesses out there can afford to dedicate internal resources to developing a content strategy. That’s when you know you need to hire a good copywriter.

  • You wish to attract the right customers.

Not every product/service is for everyone. With that in mind, it makes sense that for every sale you wish to make, you need to find the right message that’ll speak directly to your ideal customer.

  • Your competition is ahead of you.

You see businesses like yours with a lot of presence on social media, posting new content regularly and getting all the traffic you wished for your business. You know you need to step up your game with a good copywriter.

  • You just don’t like writing.

You don’t have to like everything about making your business successful. And writing is something not everyone likes. Storytelling is an art that needs a lot of training, practice, and experience and if this is something you don’t see yourself doing then it’s 100% ok to offload that task.

  • You are too attached to your business.

When you own a business it’s hard to have a detached perspective on things.

You maybe even love writing but your biased vision of what your business is about is probably a sign that you need someone external to do the job.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, this first approach to Copywriting 101 gives you an idea of what it means and if you need to invest in this technique for your business purpose.

Here are other related topics that might be interesting: