Copywriting – writing for visibility, users and sales in 2022

May 31st, 2022

Copywriting is one of the oldest marketing skills, pre-dating not only the internet, but also the printing press—and it’s also one of the most important assets for any brand. In this article, we take you through everything you need to know about copywriting, from its very beginnings to what we can expect in the future.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the practice of creating promotional materials that, whether directly or indirectly, encourage you to take action. It’s all around you: every advert you see on TV, every website blurb you read online, every marketing email you receive, every social media post and product description. As such, there are many different types of copywriting.

Take your inbox, for example. You probably have more than a few emails in there meant to persuade you to purchase a product or service, or perhaps asking you to make a donation to a charity. There might be non-profit organisations inviting you to click on a link and sign a petition, or a weekly newsletter asking you to click through to an article.

It doesn’t have to be online, though—the leaflets you get through your letterbox, the billboards and more—from scripts for TV and radio adverts to the taglines on every product on your supermarket shelves.

The origins of copywriting

It can sometimes seem like advertising has been around forever, but it might surprise you to know how long it’s actually been going. In fact, copywriting came about even before the printing press, back when making multiple copies of a text meant painstakingly writing it out by hand over and over again.

However, it wasn’t until the 1800’s that copywriting became a profession. When mass printing became commonplace, newspapers were easy to make and were sold on street corners throughout the country. In turn, companies began hiring writers to craft adverts to appeal to new customers, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Why is copywriting important?

You might be wondering if copywriting is even right for your business, especially if you’re worried about spending lots of money and not getting the desired results. However, copywriting is essential for building and maintaining your brand – because it covers almost everything. Your webpages, your social media posts, your email campaigns and newsletters. It’s all copywriting.

So let’s look at some of the most common copywriting questions.

What’s the point of copywriting, anyway?

Simply put, copywriting makes sure the content you produce is engaging, persuasive, and effective. Customers want to feel like they’re making a good choice when they buy from you, so your copy needs to reassure them that they don’t need to look anywhere else to get what they want. This is why copywriting became a specialism in the first place.

Why can’t I just do it myself?

Well, chances are you don’t have enough time in the day to be writing copy and doing your day job, especially if you’re writing for social media, websites, and email campaigns. It’s just too much. Hiring a copywriter will ease the pressure and give you more time to do what you do best—plus, they’ll already have honed their copywriting skills during many years of education and experience.

Isn’t copywriting just putting one word after another?

Technically, yes, but of course it’s not that simple – any more than ‘piling bricks’ could be used to describe the bricklayer’s profession. A professional copywriter will have expertise in optimising your content for wherever it’s being published, ensuring it gets the best results for your business.

Do I really need copywriting?

In a word, yes. Copywriting isn’t just about improving your relationship with your customers. Like every other form of marketing, it’s an arms race with your competitors—and you don’t want to be left in the dust.

The characteristics of great copywriting

So you’ve decided you want to involve copywriting in your marketing strategy. You’ve seen plenty of copywriting examples, and now you want some for your own brand. Good! But how do you set the parameters for what constitutes great copywriting?

Part of the answer lies with you. After all, you want a copywriter who can adapt to your brand. They’ll need to master your brand’s tone of voice, or help you to craft one, to emulate that in all their copy—making sure that everything they produce feels uniquely you. Your customers will recognise that note of familiarity and feel more favourably toward supporting your brand.

The other side of it is the ability to write engaging content. Even if you think there’s no way to make what you sell interesting, copywriters can prove you wrong. Whether that means leaning in with self-awareness, or showing the passion that got you into the business in the first place, customers will appreciate that touch of humanity—especially if there’s humour involved.

So what does great copywriting actually look like?

screenshot of part of Innocent Drinks’ ‘The Big Rewild’ campaign.

This extract from Innocent Drinks’ ‘The Big Rewild’ campaign is a perfect example. In just a few lines, they’ve said it all, laying out what they’ll be doing, why they’re doing it, their goals, and even sprinkling in a bit of humour. The section uses 92 words to get the message across in a simple and fun way, and they also make their figures easy to understand with a handy example!

screenshot of part of Innocent Drinks’ ‘The Big Rewild’ campaign.

And Cultivated Wit’s ‘About Us’ page is an excellent example of how to convey a lot of information without it feeling like a lot. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a page about company missions and name meanings to be fun to read, but Cultivated Wit makes sure it is, with copy written in a friendly and engaging way. Remember, you have to have the page, but it doesn’t have to be boring.

Copywriting & SEO

When it comes to writing web content, you’re going to want a copywriter who’s well-versed in SEO. There’s no point in having your website out there if no one’s looking at it, and no one’s going to look at it if they can’t find you via their search engine.

Well, except those relatives who promised they would. But unless you’ve got a family tree with the purchasing power of a small nation, you might want to attract some other customers, too.

As you may have heard, content is king in the world of SEO, and a good copywriter will make sure your content is optimised to give you the best chances of ranking highly in search engines. SEO copywriting focuses on readability—so you don’t need to worry about keyword stuffing putting off your customers.

Copywriting & Ecommerce

If your business relies on ecommerce, you’ll want to do everything you can to boost sales, customer retention and engagement with your site. It’s common sense—the better your customers’ user experience, the more likely they are to return and shop again. So how can copywriting help?

When it comes to copywriting for ecommerce, less is more. Whether you’re writing product descriptions, landing pages, or email campaigns, you don’t want to bombard your customers with every little detail. An experienced copywriter can convey everything they need to know in as little text as possible, keeping the focus on your products and services.

They’ll also know how to use positive language to cultivate feelings of anticipation and joy in your user base—both proven to encourage purchases.

Copywriting & PPC

You might not think that copywriting has much of a place in something so small as a pay-per-click ad, but it’s crucial to make the most of your advertising ‘real estate’. An advert can commit no crime greater than being boring—but don’t worry, because a professional copywriter can leverage user intent to drive your ad’s impact home.

It all comes back down to word economy—saying as much as possible in a few words. Even when your word count is actually more of a character count, a copywriter will be able to get to the heart of what customers want and persuade them that clicking on your ad will help them achieve that desire, solve that problem, and improve their life.

Copywriting & Social Media

If you haven’t already, you might be looking to use social media marketing to grow your brand, and copywriters can help with this, too. Social media marketing is all about identifying where your potential customers already are so you can target them with your advertising. But you might not know how best to reach them, in a world of constant, ever-changing media.

A good copywriter will turn those questions of what to post into mere memories. Social media is where customers get to see the more human side of your business, and more importantly, it’s where they get to interact with your brand. So wordplay, witticisms, and word economy are all integral to the practice—and you already know copywriters are experts in all that.

The future of copywriting

You may be wondering if it’s worth getting a copywriter, when the marketing landscape is changing so quickly. Twenty years ago you hardly had to worry about SEO, and now everyone’s doing it. So what does the future look like for copywriting?

Well, judging by the longevity it’s already experienced, we can expect it to stick around for a while yet. The thing about copywriting is that it’s incredibly adaptable—all forms of language-based marketing rely on it. So unless we suddenly stop writing things down, stop typing on the internet, stop watching TV and listening to the radio… copywriting is safe.

What’s more likely is that we’ll see a broadening of the range of formats copywriters create content for. With augmented and virtual reality technologies advancing all the time, chances are we might start seeing adverts popping up in ‘real life’. At the same time, more and more companies are using artificial intelligence in business—and the scripts all use AI copywriting.

Whatever new technologies come in the future, copywriters will always be the best placed people to write for them, with key skills in adaptability and flexible working practices. Language, at the end of the day, is still language and, assuming you’re not marketing to the Martians, your customers are still the same customers.

The world is changing rapidly, but it’s been doing that for a while now. The future is now, and copywriting isn’t going away any time soon.

Does your brand need help finding its voice, speaking to the right people or about things that interest them? Contact us today to see how our experts can help.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin Youtube