Copywriting What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting – what is copywriting?

Copywriting at an oak table with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

It is a subset of content writing - text that informs. Copywriting ("copy") informs the reader by selling, promoting, marketing, or advertising. 

Bottom line: copywriting is text that persuades.

And copy is everywhere. It’s part of a $2.3 trillion worldwide industry.

How Copywriting is Different From Other Kinds of Writing

Academic writing: presents ideas, arguments, information, or research, based on analysis, for a specific and informed audience

Content writing: presents information the reader can use

Creative writing: communicates personal expression, human experience, or emotion through original or imaginative means

Editorial writing: presents an opinion on an issue, along with a summary of the issue and an explanation of the opposing view(s)

Journalistic writing: reports news, traditionally in an objective voice

Technical writing: educates or informs about scientific, industrial, or mechanical subjects

Copywriting: persuades

What Else Copywriting Does

Good, basic copywriting doesn’t just “sell.” It gets the reader to take action, whether it’s to make a purchase, opt-in, respond, or engage with a product, cause, service, or company.

To get the reader to take action, the text needs to …

  • Present ideas and information
  • Communicate emotion and experiences
  • Provide an explanation
  • Offer proof, facts, and support
  • Educate and inform

(Hmm … that sounds a whole lot like all of the other kinds of writing combined.)

Kinds of Copywriting

Ad copywriting

Advertisements in magazines, newspapers, on billboards, television, radio – even on social media. Ad copy is typically short. One longer version is the advertorial, copy that looks like an article or information piece.

Direct response copywriting

Letters, flyers, email campaigns, and appeal packages which are sent directly to a reader and ask for a “direct response,” such as a purchase or a gift (hence the name.)

Market collateral

Articles, brochures, case statements, e-zines, newsletters, PowerPoint presentations, and ministry summaries are examples of materials that seek to persuade by providing useful information with or without a soft sell.

Online copywriting

Websites, blogs, e-books, online articles, and social media posts are among the different kinds of copy that appear online (often in the guise of providing information) but are optimized for search engines. 

Copywriting: What It’s Not

“Copywriting” can be confused with other terms.

The compound word: copy + writing = what students do when they plagiarize

The misspelled word: copyrighting = is a legal process in which you protect something you have created – a book, article, piece of art, or logo, for instance – through the good people at the U.S. Copyright Office.


More on basic copywriting

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Persuasive writing basics: meet your prospect's needs ...


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BASIC COPYWRITING

Learn from the masters in the acclaimed course, Six-Figure Copywriting. If you can write a simple letter to a friend, you can write promotions that pull and make a living working for yourself as a copywriter. Learn more.