What Is Copywriting? 5 Answers To The Age Old Question
Copywriting is nothing new and has actually been around for quite some time.
For those of you who love history, here’s a quick lesson. And for those of you who don’t, I promise to be brief.
What is Copywriting? – A Quick History Lesson
“The earliest form of writing appeared almost 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).”1
“Copywriting has existed since Babylonian times and the first printed material is said to have come into the world in 1477, promoting the sale of a prayer book.”2
Once mass printing processes were perfected in the 17th Century, copywriting became a popular way to promote businesses and increase sales. Copywriting was prevalent in newspapers and utilized by our very first Presidential candidates in political races.
Advances in technology over the years have changed the way we see copywriting today. Thanks to the Internet, social media sites, company websites, videos, and podcasts, copywriting is here to stay.
Copywriting has morphed into a force to be reckoned with and is one of the most powerful ways to communicate with the masses.
Answer #1 – What is Copywriting?
So, what is copywriting?
There are many formal definitions out there so here goes one formal and frankly, long winded definition.
“Copywriting is the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy or sales copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.”3
But, if you want my simple, no-fuss definition, then copywriting is simply … using words to sell stuff.
The digital age may have upped the game for copywriting, but at its very core copywriting has always remained the same.
Answer #2 – Where Do You Find Copywriting?
Copywriting is everywhere. You just need to open your eyes and your mind.
The market is flooded. Sometimes it’s so pervasive that we don’t even realize that it’s right in front of our eyes or ears.
The next time you’re driving on the highway, look at all of the billboards along the side of the road. The words used on those billboards is copywriting.
After shopping on the Internet, an ad for that same company pops into your Facebook feed. That is a sophisticated marketing technique that includes copywriting. The goal of that copywriting is to sell you something.
We hear copywriting on the radio, watch it on our televisions, see it on the Internet, read it in magazines, open it in the mail … it’s all around us every day.
Answer #3 – What Do Copywriters Do?
First of all, copywriters can do anything. They are like superheroes and a good copywriter can write about anything and save the day for a business struggling with sales. Copywriting is necessary in every industry and will always be in demand.
In addition to saving the world with words, here are a few common projects that copywriters typically work on:
Copywriters can work for a company, ad agency or freelance. For many, copywriting is an excellent career choice. Depending on your willingness and dedication, you get out of copywriting what you put into it.
Answer #4 – What Skills Do Copywriters Need?
One of the biggest questions when it comes to copywriting skills is do I need a college degree? A college degree is always a good thing to have, but in many cases it’s not absolutely necessary, particularly for freelancers. So, if your dream is to be a copywriter and you weren’t able to finish school or never quite got there, that’s ok. It’s not a deal breaker, but you do have to be good at copywriting and you must love to write. Those are two important skills necessary for any copywriter. Here’s a quick list of some other skills:
Answer #5 – How Do I Become a Copywriter?
First, you need to develop your copywriter brain. There is a ton of information out there so commit to learning as much as possible and devote time every day.
Find a few trusted online resources and start researching or find copywriting books and start reading. Sign up for copywriting courses and anything else that keeps your copywriting brain active. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to copywriting. Plus, much of the information is free so there is no excuse.
Create a copywriting network. With many things in life, it’s not what you know, but who you know. It’s important to connect with other copywriters, businesses, instructors and anyone in the copywriting world to find out what’s working for them and how you can make it work for you.
Practice copywriting because practice really does make perfect. The key to practicing copywriting is to just start writing. It’s that easy! It doesn’t have to be formal or professional copywriting. Any type of copywriting will do. Always have a notepad and pen handy or use the note section on your smart phone to jot down your thoughts. You can practice anywhere. The more you copywrite the easier it will become. So, just do it!
Find copywriting support. There truly is a ton of information out there and while that’s great it can get overwhelming. Sometimes we get stuck and don’t know where to start or think of a hundred questions to ask. That’s why I developed the copywriter brain community to help copywriters like us come together, share ideas, tell stories, give advice and most importantly learn the answers to the age old question what is copywriting? The copywriter brain community is here to guide you. With copywriting, there’s always a lesson to learn so let’s grow together and start copywriting today.