Someone I met recently asked me, “What exactly IS copywriting and how does that differ from other writing?” Copywriting, by my definition, is an art. You create a memorable header that shows a clear benefit to readers (saving time, saving money, etc.), add persuasive sales copy that awakens readers’ interest what you’re selling and toss in a call to action to wrap things up. And if you’re fortunate enough, readers fall to their knees in awe, sing hosannas, arise and gallop off to purchase whatever product or service you want them to buy.
The most difficult part of copywriting is creating a written piece that is fabulously original and not copied from any other source. Ideas flow from different sources. Some ideas may be triggered by spotting a great image and creating copy that is the perfect accompaniment. Other ideas use an everyday phrase, tweaked in order to give it a new and humorous interpretation. I have also found chocolate to be a source of inspiration on occasion. (Try it…you won’t be sorry.)
Marrying the copy to quality art helps, too. (“I hereby pronounce you a fantastic and trend-setting ad! Pick up your Clio Award at any time!”) Thanks to the wonders of Photoshop and other software, an artist can tweak a photograph or video clip until it properly hooks someone’s attention.
I notice that social media has done quite a bit to change the art of copywriting, but in good ways. Social media sites are about making connections with others and developing relationships, so copywriting has had to adjust accordingly. Hard selling has no place in social media; a gentler approach is needed. In addition, copywriting has to be even more attention-getting, since there is so much for readers to see such as blogs, news aggregator websites, Twitter, Facebook and everything else.
I wonder where copywriting’s going in the future as technology continues to advance? It should be fun finding out.