What is Copy?
If you are here, chances are you are probably wondering “what is copy and why the hell do I need it?”
Answering one will inevitably answer the second.
Put simply, copy is any persuasive writing designed to spur the reader into action. Catchy commercial jingle? Copy. Email Newsletter? Copy. Product description? Copy. This article? Yep. It’s copy.
Whether you are a business owner, a marketer, web developer, influencer, or even just looking for a roommate, you depend on copy. It’s the writing with the added spice that makes a reader think twice.
And unbeknownst to you, you have actually written plenty of copy with various degrees of success. Cover letters, ad postings, Tinder bio - if it involves calling a reader into action, you have been writing copy my friend.
But before you go all Don Draper or Peggy Olson, throwing clever puns and punchy taglines, reflect on the rate of success your copy gets. Better yet, think of the copy that has worked on you.
You’d be forgiven for remembering the more negative examples than the proven successes. It’s far easier to pinpoint the truly bad copy. Every aggressive demand to buy, cheesy radio jingle, or Buzzfeed clickbait comes to mind.
Great Copy is a Subtle Art
No one likes to feel coerced or deceived into purchasing. And we especially do not like being baited. It’s off-putting and much more inclined to put our defences up. There’s a reason this blog was not titled 20 Shocking Facts About Copy You Should Know but Probably Don’t.
The average person is exposed to between 6000 - 10000 ads a day. A giant leap from the 500 – 1600 witnessed in the 70s. There’s a reason Don Draper was so good.
We have become highly impervious to interruption marketing. In fact, Millennials and Generation Z – the digital natives – no longer respond to ads. Their mind has developed its own ad blocker. Traditional marketing has been officially turned on its head so what does that mean for your business?
Wave Goodbye to Traditional Marketing
Interruptive marketing is out and permission marketing is now the name of the game. Banging down doors no longer works (did it ever?). You need to be invited in. This is why you need copy.
To run a successful bakery, you can’t smash a croissant into someone’s face on the assumption they’d enjoy it. Nor can you expect them to return with anything less than a restraining order. Copy is that tantalising scent of freshly baked croissants that lures hungry customers through the door.
And this is a key point to remember. Consent is essential. You can’t assume everyone wants what you are selling. Copy is not a dangerous manipulator, it’s that smooth one-liner. It’s the gentle suggestion posed to those already looking for the answer to their burning question.
Copy is far more than provocative sentences. It’s language that has been refined and designed to speak to a specific reader guaranteed to take the action you want. And to do that you need working knowledge of your target audience; from the words they use to their consuming patterns.
This is where I come in.
Enter the Copywriter
A copywriter is a literary chameleon, capable of adopting the tone or language of any environment. My job is to create clear, provocative text that persuades your reader to invite you in. Contrary to popular belief this does not always involve selling.
There are several core types of modern copywriting:
Creative/Brand copywriting: The Madmen copy. Think catchy taglines and international brand campaigns of Coca Cola proportions.
Direct Response Copywriting: The efficient copy. It gets the job done fast. Think social media ads, headlines, landing pages, or even newsletters with special offers.
SEO Copywriting: Copy designed for search engines. Think landing pages, product descriptions - text that gets your business seen on the digital high street.
Technical Copywriting: Specialised writing that stays in its lane. This is compelling educational copy with in-depth knowledge of a specific sector. Anything from engineering to law. Think FAQs, brochures, user manuals etc.
Public Relations Copywriting: When you need the world to know just how good you are. This is copy designed to put you in a flattering spotlight. Think press releases, company statements etc.
Marketing Copywriting: The Crème de la crème of copy and incidentally my core niche. The most flexible type of copy designed to establish trust and rapport with your target audience. Anything from content marketing to website copy, as long as it helps your product resonate.
The types of copy continue to grow but the core sentiment remains; Copy is the art of persuasion, not deception.
Great copy can bring the guest to your table, but you still need to convince them to stay. A copywriter is only as good as the story you provide them.
So, the question remains. Why the hell do you need it?