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What is online copywriting? 3 things to know about the craft

Read Time 14 mins | Written by: Anna Trogstad

Maybe you’re new to the writing world in general, or perhaps you’re an old hand with a plethora of writing experience. Either way, understanding online copywriting could be crucial to your writing career, especially given that more and more businesses outsource copywriting services to writers with experience in digital copywriting.

But what is online copywriting exactly? You may have heard of content writing already, which shares similarities with copywriting. However, online copywriting requires a number of skills that differentiate it slightly from standard copywriting, being its own craft. In this article, we define what copywriting online is, how it differs from content writing and some important things to know about online copywriting.

Table of contents

  1. What is online copywriting?
  2. Online copywriting vs content writing
  3. 3 things to know about online copywriting
    1. It’s results-driven
    2. Online copywriting can cover anything – and everything!
    3. You’ll need to have – or learn – a diverse writing skillset
  4. Why become an online copywriter?
    1. Online copywriting gives you more control as a freelancer
    2. Online copywriting broadens your portfolio
    3. Online copywriting isn’t as complicated as you think
  5. Where do I get started?
  6. Why use an online copywriting agency for your sales copy?

What is online copywriting?

Online copywriting is copywriting that typically involves writing for businesses that have specific targets in mind. These can include growing brand visibility, getting found in search engine results pages for target keywords, gaining more traffic and boosting sales.

Online copywriting can cover everything from regular blog posts to targeted web pages, product descriptions, email newsletters and social media posts.

Gaining online copywriting skills is increasingly an essential skill in a digital-driven world. With more and more businesses moving their services online, or at the very least using a website to attract more customers, it makes sense to be able to write this kind of engaging, targeted content.

Online copywriting vs content writing

The difference between copywriting and content writing is important to note. They are both important aspects of digital marketing, but they serve different purposes and have different approaches.

Online copywriting is focused on writing persuasive and engaging content that is designed to convince the reader to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a service. The main goal of online copywriting is to drive conversions, and the language used is often sales-oriented and direct. Copywriting is usually used in marketing campaigns, sales pages, landing pages, and product descriptions.

Content writing, on the other hand, is focused on creating informative, valuable, and engaging content that is intended to educate and entertain the reader. The main goal of content writing is to build trust, establish authority, and attract and retain an audience. Content writing is used in blog posts, articles, social media posts, and other forms of content marketing.

While both online copywriting and content writing require good writing skills and knowledge of SEO, they have different approaches and goals. Copywriting is more focused on persuading the reader to take a specific action, while content writing is more focused on building a relationship with the reader by providing them with valuable information and entertainment.

Let’s take a closer look at online copywriting and what it entails.

3 things to know about online copywriting

To excel as an online copywriter, it's important to know a few things about this practice:

1. It’s results-driven

What-is-online-copywriting-Copify-blog-4-768x510-1Of course, any copywriting has a purpose that you’ll keep in mind throughout the writing process. However, we don’t just mean having a brief when it comes to online copywriting.

The art of online copywriting involves being conscious of some of the basics of digital marketing. This includes everything from the use of keywords, which will help optimise a post to achieve more prominence on search engine pages (hence the name Search Engine Optimisation), to being conscious of character counts for meta descriptions.

Whether you’re writing a blog post or a product description, it’s likely that you’ll need to cover these aspects of digital marketing too. Which brings us on to the next point…

2. Online copywriting can cover anything – and everything!

We’ve just mentioned blog posts and product descriptions, but online copywriting covers so much more. While you may be familiar with copywriting types, when it comes to digital copywriting, you can expect to write press releases; web pages; social media posts; emails and pretty much anything else.

The real talent in being an online copywriter is being able to switch between any one of these copywriting tasks at any time, so it’s a good idea to get experience in as many areas of online copywriting as possible in order to be as flexible as possible.

3. You’ll need to have – or learn – a diverse writing skillset

What-is-online-copywriting-Copify-blog-3-768x512It’s not just flexibility that online copywriting demands. In addition to understanding the array of tasks that could be put to you, you’ll need to be strict with deadlines; capable of writing for a number of different brands in any number of different styles; have an awareness of digital marketing staples and trends, and be comfortable writing both short-form and long-form copy.

All of these skills can be applied to standard copywriting, however, it’s more important than ever that you lock these talents down when copywriting online. Deadlines, for example, can be more challenging with online copywriting, as you’re more likely to have an international client that naturally doesn’t keep the same hours you do! For example, if you’re writing a blog post for a business in Australia, they’ll be at least nine hours ahead – which means their close of play is the beginning of your day. Timekeeping here is of the essence.

You need to be adaptable when it comes to tone and style, too. One minute you might be writing home page copy for a corporate accountancy firm; the next, you might be writing a product description for a skateboard company. The more practice you get, the better you’ll be able to switch between a multitude of areas, making you a more efficient and effective writer both online and offline.

Why become an online copywriter?

How do you know that online copywriting is for you? If it sounds like a good choice so far, that’s the first step to your new specialism! If you’re still wondering why it’s worth the endeavour, here are a few more reasons to whet your appetite…

Online copywriting gives you more control as a freelancer

Given the challenges of this year, working from home has become more pertinent than ever. This makes online copywriting a great opportunity for you as a freelancer, as you can expand your experience and copywriting skills from your desk, without worrying about the typical challenges that are involved when you need to be in an office.

Online copywriting broadens your portfolio

What-is-online-copywriting-Copify-blog-2-740x493-1Even if you don’t decide to pursue online copywriting as your sole focus, by gaining experience in this area, you can only add to your portfolio. It may well complement your existing work, making you an attractive prospect as a freelance writer, as brands and businesses will be able to see your spectrum of capabilities.

Read More: How to create a killer copywriter portfolio

Online copywriting isn’t as complicated as you think

Making the switch to online copywriting might seem like a difficult endeavour. However, when you know where to look, it couldn’t be more simple. Of course, if you can get your copywriting portfolio online, by using websites such as WordPress or even Squarespace, then it’ll be even easier to attract new business.

Where do I get started?

Copywriting opportunities can be found regularly online, with one of the simplest ways to get started and gain some experience being with a freelance writing agency like Copify. You'll get to hone your copywriting skills with professional guidance and see your copywriting come to life online.

Other ways to practise your craft are by taking copywriting courses or getting experience working for local businesses.

Read More: How to become a copywriter with no experience

Why use an online copywriting agency for your sales copy?

If you were considering writing your own sales copy for your business but would rather use a professional, then consider using an agency to order your online copywriting or corporate blogging.

With an internal team and a network of experienced writers from across the industries, you can take the hassle off your own team and get your copy written quickly, on brief and on brand. 

✏️Enquire about our online copywriting services today and discover the ease of on-demand copywriting.

Main image credit: Jason Strull

Internal image credits: Agence Olloweb, Christin Hume, Andrea Natali 

Anna Trogstad

Anna is a 24-year-old Copywriter and aspiring Art Director currently living in Worcester. She is resolute in her belief that GIF should be pronounced GIF and, like every 24-year-old grandma, loves jigsaw puzzles and thick socks.