Have you ever heard the phrase ‘content is king’? With the digital boom, it’s a statement which has never been truer. But where does all of this content come from, and how can your business leverage the power of content marketing? This is the art of the copywriter – and it’s something your business should already be doing. But why, and how?
Let’s find out why you need a copywriter… whether you know it or not.
What exactly is a copywriter?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a copywriter is someone who adds the © symbol to products – but, in reality, it’s a very different kettle of fish. As the name suggests, copywriting is the art of writing text which informs, engages and persuades the reader – and it’s all around you.
If you’ve ever aimlessly read the back of a shampoo bottle while showering, or idly scanned the posters in a train station, you’ve experienced the work of a copywriter.
While copywriting as we know it today began with the advertising boom in the 1960s, the modern role has grown to include the crafting of many forms of text, including:
- Website content
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Product descriptions
As you can see, the role has evolved far beyond writing catchy headlines and slogans – although that certainly does play a part. Thanks to the rise of digital, the “Mad Men” style of copywriter has been joined by another breed: the content writer. Over time, these two have slowly merged to become what we now know as a modern digital copywriter: a person who writes words to promote a product or service. But the variations don’t stop there.
The many flavours of copywriting
As we’ve discussed, not all copywriters are created equal, and there are many twists on the role with differing specialities. This isn’t about niche topics – this is about specific tactics and techniques employed by these writers in their copy. Here are a few of the most common copywriters you’ll come across:
- The “brand copywriter” is a writer whose main role is to generate content to create brand awareness, engage existing customers, and pique the interest of prospects too. There is no so-called hard-sell when it comes to brand copywriting – it’s all about conveying a brand’s tone of voice and providing value in the content, via blog posts, web copy, and so on.
- The “SEO copywriter” is similar to a brand copywriter, but their target audience is the search engine itself – not the human visitor. An SEO copywriter will ensure that the copy they write contains a certain number of keywords and phrases, and may also be familiar with other Search Engine Optimisation tactics such as keyword research. Their goal is to rank the client’s website as highly as possible in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- The “Direct Response copywriter” is an offshoot of the traditional ad copywriter, in that their goal is to have the reader take an immediate action. A piece of direct response copy will always have a call-to-action (CTA) at the end, and will generally employ much more persuasive language to encourage the reader to engage directly. If there’s any hard-sell in copywriting, you’ll find it in direct response.
Of course, because copywriters tend to be adaptable by nature, you’ll most likely find that many writers can switch their style as necessary depending on the client and topic.
How to quantify the value of a copywriter
Picture this: you’re trying to sell your house, and everything’s looking great – with the exception of that one last room which needs painting. Your options are simple: hire a professional or do it yourself. You might figure, ‘how hard can it be?’ and set to work painting it on your own time to save money.
Fast-forward to a week later: you’ve got a stress-headache, there’s paint all over the light switch, visible brush strokes on two walls – and that little patch where you couldn’t get the colour to mix quite right. It’s at this point you’ll probably swallow your pride and call a professional.
How does this analogy apply to copywriting? Well, the exact same logic applies. You could simply write your website’s content yourself – but you also can’t be surprised when your traffic, conversions and online sales slow down or dry up.
The role of a copywriter is to drive visitors to your website and to have those visitors engage with your business. This involves a range of functions beyond just the writing: SEO research, competitor analysis, tone of voice development, topic research, fact and figure collection – and more. All of this must be done and then distilled into short, snappy copy which will deliver your brand’s message fast in a convincing way. So, if that sounds feasible to you, feel free to give it a shot. And if you can do all this and you’re not already a copywriter – you may just be in the wrong line of work.
The art of selling without selling
There’s one final aspect of copywriting which is key to understanding what it offers, and that’s nuance. We’re living in a world absolutely full to the brim of advertising messages. Because of this, many of us simply look past overt advertising such as web banners and billboards. For this reason, digital marketing has had to evolve, and copywriting is leading that charge with a deliberately soft-sell approach.
With the exception of direct response, modern copywriting – and content marketing as a whole – is about delivering genuine value to the reader. It’s about becoming a thought leader by providing useful information in the context of your product or service, while at the same time building authority with search engines. The aim is essentially to bring visitors in with the value of your content, then give them the opportunity to review your sales proposition almost as an aside.
For many years, this was known as inbound marketing; but now, it’s the canvas upon which all content marketing is painted – and a copywriter is the brush. Bring all of this together and channel it into delivering your brand’s message via digital channels, and you’ll quickly see the true power of copywriting. And how, whether you know it or not, your business really does need a copywriter.
If you can see the value of a copywriter and want to see how truly great copy could transform your business, place an order with a web copywriter at Copify today.