3.1 - What Copywriting Is - Own Your Distortion

Copywriting is the written component of your sales process. Copywriting is the words to sell your stuff. To say anything more of the matter would be redundant. But here we go anyway.

It might be the voiceover text for a commercial or the words plastered on billboards or printed on coupons. Depending on the nature of your work, copywriting can also be what you put into social media posts or on your blog. 

Do you need your audience to get off their ass and do something? Yes? That’s the stuff of copywriting.

Most of the copywriting you will do likely falls into one of two camps: branding and direct response.

Direct response is the stuff that gets your reader to do something right now. You’re using language to make a direct appeal, and you need a response right now. 

Buy, sign up, follow, think about, donate, click, consider - direct response is reliant on active verbs, don’t be shy. Direct response copywriting drives readers to do.

It’s all in the call to action: 
  • Sign up now
  • Add to Cart
  • You won’t want to miss out on this offer. Sign up today! 
  • What are you waiting for? Act now! 

The branding side of copywriting paints the picture for the audience. Who are you? What are you about? Why should I care? How will this impact me? Writing copy for your branding happens away from the public eye, hundreds of times over, to nail down the voice and character that all of your content will carry. I go deep into this in section 3.5 - The Copy Pyramid. 

Copywriting is not one-and-done. This is an ongoing, neverending experiment to see what triggers someone to do something. Copywriting walks the line between art and science. The copy written for one campaign may never work for another. The difference between ten sales and a thousand could be a single word in your headline. 

Create, test, make a change, test again. When it comes to copywriting, you’re never not testing.  As they say, "Fail like a scientist." Every failure is just the opportunity to learn what didn't work.

There are no rules for copywriting, but there are principles. There is no “right” way to go about copywriting. Instead, some things tend to work more often than others. 

When it comes to writing copy, expect to fail a bunch. Copywriters are nothing if not spectacular failures with trophies for the one or two times they got it right.

As you start to develop the copy you use to build your copy, try to remove yourself from the mindset of “is this right?” and start saying, “this might work.”