If you have anything to do with advertising or digital marketing, chances are, you hear the phrase “copywriting” thrown around so often that it’s lost some of its central meaning.
How is copywriting different from other kinds of content production, and what is its real purpose in marketing?
As a San Diego marketing agency, we want to examine the vital role of copywriting in the modern business plan. If we convey our purpose clearly, you’ll have a different perception of the art altogether after reading this article.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
What Is Copywriting?
Trying to define copywriting at this stage is a bit tricky – it’s become a fairly vague concept often used to describe any kind of writer who has something to do with a company’s digital presence. However, copywriting is a specific form of production, and it deserves its own unique definition.
At its core, copywriting is the text that encourages people to take action.
It’s not a blog post or a newspaper article, but instead, true “copywriting” is what you see on websites, emails, catalogs, brochures, and billboards. Its goal is to push readers toward the next step, not just to inform or entertain.
So, this brings us to our next question: what is copywriting in marketing?
Marketing is all about promoting brand awareness, and whether your San Diego marketing teams realize it or not, copy plays a huge role in brand exposure. The average consumer sees (and probably reads) at least 5,000 ads a day – so it’s up to a digital marketing copywriter to make sure the text on your website copywriting and ads stands out amongst a sea of other messages.
In a nutshell, copywriting must serve a handful of purposes:
- Appeal to target customers in a meaningful way.
- Present value in a clearly/concisely.
- Work in conjunction with the visual elements of the page.
- Encourage people to take action.
When we’re targeting an audience, we’re assuming that they are overwhelmed and inundated with text. That’s why conciseness in copywriting is very, very important – it’s the key to snagging the attention and getting the point across to a potential customer.
The average web visitor scans for about 15 seconds – which means that every word, sentence, and headline counts when you’re trying to win them over.
Ask yourself: Have you been putting that much thought into the copy on your web page or advertisement? Have you been underestimating the power of copy?
The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing
A common misconception many people encounter is the idea that “copywriting” and “content writing” are synonymous. In reality, saying that a copywriter does the exact same job as a feature content writer is like saying that a sushi chef is as adept at making pasta as an Italian cook.
Yes, at a basic level, it’s all “copy” – text that reaches a reader. But when getting into the thick of it, copywriting and content writing are two completely different forms of art.
The distinction lies in the purpose. Content writing is about informing, educating, and maybe even entertaining a reader. Copywriting, on the other hand, is about selling your brand to readers by encouraging them to act on an idea or ideology.
To some extent, a good chef is a good chef – a skilled content writer can certainly learn copywriting, and vice versa. Still, it takes time to hone the skills needed for copywriting versus content writing.
When it comes to digital marketing in San Diego, we can’t stress enough how valuable a professional copywriter can be to your brand. Reaching audiences and igniting certain reactions is a trade, and as with any line of work, you want someone who knows their material backward and forward.
How Do Copywriting and Content Writing Work Together?
Now, here’s where the lines get a little blurry, so buckle up and stay with us – we promise the distinctions are still important for the future of your online presence.
To sum it up, the purpose of copywriting is to sell; the purpose of content writing is to educate.
In a perfect world, content writing and copywriting are two partners in crime. They bounce off each other to form a cohesive marketing strategy that is as informative or entertaining as it is convincing to potential customers.
From email copywriting and SEO copywriting to the production of creative blog posts or Instagram captions, all of your text should have defined purposes that fuel a bigger strategy.
The Basics of Good Copywriting
We’ve been talking about how crucial “good” copywriting is to successful San Diego marketing strategies, but we haven’t really provided examples of copywriting that qualify under this description.
Let’s look at what the basic elements of “good” copywriting are.
The Text Is Simple – But Effective
One of the most valuable copywriting tips from our San Diego marketing agency is to keep. it. simple.
The more effective and concise your copy is, the easier it is for your true message to shine through. Plus, most readers aren’t going to sift through copy that is super long – you only have a few words to engage their attention + spark their interest.
Image Source: Airbnb
Although Airbnb’s text looks extremely simple, it brings everything together.
Without the select words poised on the front page, the site wouldn’t work – a story wouldn’t be told, and the brand’s personality wouldn’t be highlighted. Those few words are doing an insanely important job.
It Gives the Reader Something to Remember
Think of a jingle that gets annoyingly stuck in your head or a brand’s slogan that everyone knows.
Good copy is memorable.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to come up with a janky tune – but it does mean that your copy needs to give something new and interesting to the reader.
Take a look at the ad below:
Image Source: Silence Sucks
The image is striking, but what’s more striking is the double play on the phrase “silence sucks.” It’s powerful, snappy, and memorable, and it begs the reader to learn more. Although this particular ad did ignite some controversy, one thing’s for sure – people remembered it.
There’s an Air of Authority
If the purpose of copy is to convince people to take action, then it needs to come from a place people can trust. That means giving your website and advertising copy an air of authority and credibility.
Pretty much everything about this example from TurboTax is striving to exude a feeling of trust.
Image Source: TurboTax
They reference their CPAs and EAs, extreme confidence, years of experience, and guaranteed max refund. All of this contributes to TurboTax’s image as an authority when tax season rolls aroun.
The Consumer Is the Target
There’s one thing that most high-converting websites have in common: they’re customer-centric.
That means they talk to the reader about their needs, wants, and interests. The copy is framed around the customer, not around the brand.
For instance, look at Medium’s “Our Story” page.
Image Source: Medium
The copy there is extremely customer-centric. Instead of talking about what the platform is and how it was made, they talk about who the platform is for and why customers will benefit from it.
It Presents and Solves a Problem
An excellent way to persuade people that they need a product or service is to show them how it would solve an existing problem they’re facing. Good copy should showcase an issue, but also reveal how it can be solved through the aid of a brand.
Consider this copy from the Mucinex homepage.
Image Source: Mucinex
The problem? Sinus congestion. The solution? The products that provide “relief.”
The brand presented a problem and a solution within just seven words (and a snazzy metaphor).
Research Techniques for Copywriting
At the end of the day, marketing is about one thing: selling a thought provoking story.
Your marketing team’s job is to get the audience to believe in the story you’re telling, regardless of what it might be or what business it revolves around.
Image Source: Serengetee
After reading that bold font from Serengetee, a fashion company, don’t you want to know more? Are you more likely to continue reading and browsing this site’s products?
The fact that the online shop benefits artisans and their communities only adds to the fascinating tale.
Speaking Directly to the Reader
To reiterate, copywriting needs to be super customer-centric. For instance, direct response copywriting involves communicating with the consumer in an effort to propel them toward the next buying step. It’s effective, but only when done clearly and concisely.
Like in this BarkBox example, it’s a good idea to use familiar language that’s direct. Don’t shy away from referring to readers as “you” or toning things down with casual phrases like “no muss, no fuss.” It makes your brand relatable and your copy engaging.
Back Things Up with Legitimate Statistics
Statistics have an important job in your copy: they instantly give your credibility an extra bump.
Don’t use words like “best” or “fastest” or “cheapest” when you could be using real numbers to win over customers.
Image Source: Intuit
You don’t need a lot of numbers to make copy impressive – a few big ones will do. In fact, you should probably avoid listing too many stats for fear of overwhelming visitors. Just pick a few that are powerful and pertinent to what you do.
Nix the Fluff
We mentioned earlier that good copywriting is simple and to-the-point, but let’s clarify something: that doesn’t mean relying on overused sayings or slogans that don’t really convey a point.
Your copywriting should steer clear of meaningless text, and every word should have a purpose.
Image Source: Squarespace
There’s a whole lot that can be said about Squarespace, and yet… the free trial landing page is surprisingly stark. The lack of text makes the words stand out more – “make your own website.” Bam.
Say What Needs to Be Said – Then Get Out
When speaking about your brand or industry, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything there is to say to potential customers. To sound like a broken record here – if good copywriting is one thing, it’s concise.
Image Source: AMA SD
Not to toot our own horn, but we know a fair amount about digital marketing in San Diego. However, we don’t use any technical jargon or high-level copy on our homepage.
We keep it simple – “developing powerhouse marketers within the San Diego business community.”
That’s because we know that overwhelming visitors with lots of ideas, tools, and text right away isn’t a good idea. We’d rather impress them with our end results about marketing in San Diego than scare them away with heavy copy.
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, then clearly, you’re looking for ways to improve your tactics for marketing in San Diego. Either that or you’re a copywriter who wants a little proof that your job is as important as you thought it was (hint: it is).
Copywriting is the text that makes people take action and the words that turn interested readers into loyal customers. It’s the key to showcasing the purpose of your websites and advertisements, and without good copywriting, your brand will struggle to connect with readers in a valuable way.