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What is copywriting and what does a copywriter do?

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Copywriting is a type of writing that focuses on marketing and is generally written for advertisement purposes and to increase brand awareness. The product, called copy, is the text that increases brand awareness and ultimately calls the reader to action, to buy the service or product is being sold.

A copywriter creates a clear, compelling copy that sells, educates, and engages customers. It is the messaging that fuels your entire business; it is the foundation of your brand and the groundwork for your sales. The right phrase can make or break a sale.

Copywriting is used in various marketing materials, like websites, emails, blog posts, social media, promotional videos, mail flyers, catalogues, and advertising campaigns. The best type of copywriting uses storytelling, generates emotional resonance, and, most importantly, grows brand value. However, copywriting is not the same as content writing.

Copywriting is straightforward and focuses on a singular call to action, while on the other hand content writing is more organic and educational. You can find out more about copywriting vs. content writing in this article.

What skills do you need to be a copywriter?

  • Language skills: a high level of English (or whatever language you are writing in) is a requirement for writing good copy. A solid foundation in grammar, punctuation, and spelling is crucial.
  • Detail oriented: To spot errors in your own work and fine tune your style to the client’s needs is important. Your writing needs to be polished, as it will represent your client’s brand. Your writing should be error-free before it is send to the client.
  • Broad vocabulary: A well-developed and immense vocabulary is a huge help. Using the same, repetitive words is not always compelling or interesting. Understanding your target audience and knowing when to spice it up and when to keep it simple is key.
  • Able to write from different perspectives: As a copywriter, your goal is to persuade potential clients to purchase the product or service your client is selling. Sometimes in order to do that you need to be able to think from the buyer’s point of view, imagining what would benefit them, what they will get from the exchange.
  • Research skills: Being able to use the internet to your advantage to research what you need to know before you start writing. Also it is important to research the brand before you meet with the client, so you can ask informed questions (learn more about our brand development services).
  • Listening skills: You must be able to listen to your client and write what they require. Follow the brief they give you and adjust to any feedback. Being open and communicative is key, and listening well at the beginning of the project will save you time.

Three key elements of good copy:

1. Attention

If there is one thing good copywriting must do, it is grab the reader’s attention. It should hook their interest and establish a connection that guides them along the next phase of the buying experience.

This is usually accomplished through using a strong and compelling headline, opening line, or subject line (depending on the type of media, whether it is a video, article, email, advertisement, etc.). If you do not grab their attention swiftly, your prospect is lost.

2. The Big Promise

Once you hook your reader in, a second thing to keep in mind is to remember that your reader needs to know what’s in it for them. The very first question that will always be on your potential client’s mind is “what’s in it for me?” People are way less concerned with the “what” of the product and much more focused on the “why.”

They are much more concerned with the value, experience, and outcome than with the specifications of the actual product. With buyers getting more savvy and the market getting more saturated, now is the time to focus on the big promise you are making to your customers. People need to not only be convinced of your product, but also of your brand and what it stands for.

In order to do this, you need to be very, very clear on what you do more than anyone else, and why your company merits the purchase. Lots of businesses make the mistake of merely describing the merchandise or services that they provide, and not the results one gets when using it.

There is a big different between your product’s features and your product’s benefits. A feature is what your product has or is, it is something that has been planned, built, and executed in order to solve a problem.

In copywriting, features are accurate descriptions about your products or services, but not what persuades your customer to actually purchase. Benefits, on the other hand, are why someone is actually buying your product. They explain the result the user will hopefully experience when they use your product or service — in other words, the promise of your brand.

For example, if you are writing for a cooking app that gives people access to many recipes and videos, a feature would be: “Get digital access to over 1000 recipes!” But, your benefit would be: “Don’t keep cooking the same old dishes, get access to new recipes every single week — anywhere, anytime.” See the difference?

3. Call to Action

No matter how convincing you are with your copywriting, none of it matters unless you have a strong call to action. One of the most important rules to remember is this: you should only be asking your prospects to do one thing.

You must have one well-defined and succinct call to action without any room for misunderstanding on what they should do next, whether it is click, call, sign up, visit, or buy. Don’t be afraid to be redundant or repetitive, as studies show that people forget information at a shocking speed unless there is repetition.

So, if you are working with a longer sales page, email, script, or ad, make sure to repeat your call to action at least once or twice. Confusion completely blocks conversion, and not having a clear call to action is one of the largest blunders a copywriter can make.

At Key Content we offer copywriting and content writing services in more than 60 languages with professional native speakers, learn more about our services.

Gonzalo Suárez
Gonzalo Suárez
Co-founder and COO @ Key Content
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