What is copywriting? Definition + Why it matters

If you've recently heard someone mention that they do “copywriting” for a living, and you've asked yourself, “What is copywriting?” , this article is made for you.
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Copywriting is always a bit confusing for people when they first hear about it.

Many don't have the faintest idea what these pen artists are doing.

To do that, we're going to pretend you've never heard of it so we'll have to ask the question over and over again.

If you've recently heard someone mention that they do “copywriting” for a living, and you've asked yourself, “What is copywriting?” , this article is made for you.

I'll explain to you what copywriting is and why it's such an important field (the biggest sector you didn't know existed).

Plus, I'll even teach you the basics (it's much easier than it seems).

What is copywriting? The Simplest Definition of Copywriting

The simplest definition of copywriting is as follows:

The Copywriting Is the process of writing words intended for elicit specific action from the reader. The Copywriting is always related to the act of promoting or selling a business, organization, brand, product or service, which in fact, by definition, A form of marketing.

It has become an essential skill in the field of marketing, it is not for nothing that it has a leading position in modeling the “T-Shaped” Growth Hacker:

Growth Hacker T-Shaped
READ MORE: What are the skills of Growth Hackers? -->

Here's how a few other sources define copywriting:

  • “Copywriting or the art of writing to sell: whether by email, on your website or social networks, Copywriting is essential to generate leads and win customers.” - SLN Web
  • “A copywriter writes in order to convince his reader to take immediate action (buy a product, request a quote, register for an event) while the web editor writes based on a long-term content strategy. “- Hubspot
  • “A designer-editor (or copywriter in English-speaking countries) has as a profession the search for concepts that promote communication, aimed at the public or business (B to B) allowing the valuation of a product, an activity, a person, an opinion or an idea. “- Wikipedia

If you read each definition of copywriting, you'll notice that the same basic statement is present in all of them.

Copywriting is writing designed to encourage action

Copywriting can take a wide variety of forms:

  • Publicity
  • Websites
  • Emails
  • Blog posts
  • Landing pages
  • Brochures
  • Presentations
  • Video scripts
  • Products description
  • Lead Magnets
  • White papers
  • Etc...

Sometimes you want to urge immediate action, this type of copywriting is called”Direct response copywriting“.

Here are a few examples of writing a direct response:

  • A Twitter ad designed to get a click
  • A billboard designed to encourage you to take the next exit and visit the establishment.
  • A landing page designed to obtain registration by email
  • An email designed to get a message in “response.”
  • A product description designed to encourage people to click “Add to cart.”

Sometimes immediate action is not the aim.

The reader may not be able to take immediate action when they see your text (or getting the reader to act immediately may not be the priority). This type of text does not have a catchy name, but the current marketing concept for future results is essentially associated with a brand strategy.

Here are a few examples of copywriting focused on brand image :

  • An advertisement in a magazine intended to make the brand known to readers.
  • A blog post designed to educate and connect with the reader.
  • A white paper intended to establish brand authority.

These types of copywriting require action at a given “moment” :

  • Magazine advertising wants the reader to think about the brand and remember it when they are ready to buy one day.
  • The blog post wants the reader to share the article, join the brand's mailing list, and/or buy from the brand at some point.
  • The purpose of the white paper is to encourage the reader to buy from the brand or to make a subsequent purchase.

The difference is that this type of writing isn't designed to elicit immediate action, and that's important because trying to elicit immediate action is counterproductive in many marketing scenarios.

Imagine that every blog post you read is trying to get you to buy something right away or being so focused on getting an email subscription that it cuts off the main conclusion of the article and requires you to sign up to read it.

Les brand image scenarios And the direct response scenarios are an important part of the marketing process.

READ MORE: Selection of the best AI-assisted CopyWriting tools -->

Why is copywriting so important?

Copywriting as a service and career choice has exploded in recent years.

And the reason for that is very simple.

Every online business needs copywriting... and business on the web is booming

According to one from Statista, global sales of $5,424 billion are expected by the end of 2022.
For comparison: in 2014, it was 1,336 billion euros — That is 3 times less..
Évolution du commerce électronique mondiale
Evolution of global e-commerce - Source: Statista

In this context of digitalization and globalization accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this evolution is inevitable: And each One cent of these current or future market shares is based on Copywriting.

In fact, today, you literally cannot complete an online transaction without reading a copy urging action: the better the text, the more likely you are to buy.

Copywriting has become very important, that's why it's a highly sought-after and highly rewarding skill.

  • Most people have trouble communicating complex ideas in writing.
  • Many people have trouble communicating simple ideas in writing.

When Your income depends on your ability to communicate In writing the value of your product or service, it is absolutely It is logical to hire a person specialized in this type of writing.

Now that we know why it's so important, let's dive into the field of copywriting.

The 4 fundamental goals of Copywriting

For Copywriting to work, it needs to achieve four key goals.

AIDA
AIDA

These goals are referred to under the name of one of the most used frameworks to encourage action: AIDA

  1. lookout
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action
AIDA method applied to emails
READ MORE: 5 copywriting methods to sell more (AIDA, PAS, 4C, Before-After, Storytelling) -->

Let's dive into each of these steps.

1. Capturing the reader's attention

You need to get the reader's attention in order for them to start taking an interest in your text.

If you don't get the reader's attention, nothing else matters. That's why Attention is the first objective of copywriting.

Attention example - Source: Marketing definition

2. Arouse the interest of the reader

You need to arouse the interest of the reader so that they engage with the entire text after they start reading it.

Just because they start reading doesn't mean they're going to keep reading.

Interest is what keeps them engaged.

Translation of the example above 👇

Idea:
To do such a stupid commercial,
That people will want to look down to see who paid for this shit
.”
Exemple : Intérêt (AIDA)
Example: Interest

Think about how frustrated you are right now that I cropped this image... that you can't look down and see who actually “paid for this shit.”

You are so mad.

That's what it means to arouse interest.

3. Exploit the desires of the reader

While capturing people's attention and interest will encourage them to engage with your text, engagement is not a goal in itself.

Commitment is only a prerequisite for people to read our text. The true objective of the text is linked to desire and action.

We need to tap into the reader's existing desires and connect them to our product or service.

4. Persuade the reader to take action

The aim of copywriting is action.

You need to get attention. You need to arouse interest. You need to arouse desire.

But at the end of the day, the only measure that matters is, “How many readers took action?”
  • How many people sent the copy/pasted speech I gave to them in my email?
  • How many people actually went to buy or order my product?

That's all that matters to a Copywriter.

And a good text is written from start to finish with action in mind.

READ MORE: 5 copywriting methods to sell more (AIDA, PAS, 4C, Before-After, Storytelling) -->

10 tips to improve your Copywriting

To conclude this introduction to copywriting, I would like to give you my ten basic principles for writing texts.

There is a bottomless well of copywriting tips, tactics, and techniques to be found on the web.

But to be honest, you only need to follow the basics to get started, and I've found over the years that the simple act of improve in the fundamental principles Is the most Effective way to improve your copywriting.

1. Start each project by identifying the target audience

Imagine being asked to give a speech but not being told who the audience is. You imagine a room for business owners and think about what's important to them, what challenges they might face, what they might find funny, etc.

Then you show up to speak and your audience is a junior high school class in the neighborhood next door.

Your speech would be absolutely lousy, because it Is aimed at the wrong audience.

Knowing who you are talking to is the first thing you need to identify as a Copywriter. This will determine each part of your text: the challenges you focus on, the benefits you highlight, the personality you integrate, etc.

If you don't identify the target audience, you've already failed.

2. Start each project by also identifying the purpose of the copy

Just as you need to understand who you're talking to through your writing, you also need to understand what you're trying to achieve by speaking to them.

What do you want the reader to do after reading this text?

Copywriting is not a passive discipline with vague goals.

It is a specific and intentional discipline, designed for get results. Expected results should be clearly defined before you write a single word, otherwise your text will not be effective.

3. The purpose of each copy line is to get the next line read

The primary purpose of a line of text is to encourage the reader to move on to the next line. If the reader does not continue to read, the message you want to convey is irrelevant. The arguments you want to make are irrelevant. And you can forget about the action you want him to take.

Writing texts should take you longer, word for word, than writing a blog post, especially if you've been writing texts for less than 10 years. It's not natural for most people to be intentional with every word, phrase, and sentence.

That said, don't Don't overcomplicate things.

Being intentional is not a particularly high requirement. It just means that after you've written a paragraph, look at it and ask yourself:

  • Does this line move the text forward and encourage the reader to continue reading ?

If not... change it.

4. The needs and wants of your customers are the only thing that matters.

The main mistake that most “non-copywriters” make is to focus on their business, brand, or subject rather than on the target audience.

When you think about your business, what matters most to you probably doesn't make a difference for your customers.

  • In most cases, they don't care about the income or lifestyle your business provides them.
  • In most cases, they don't care about the unique technology that makes your business work or how you developed it.
  • In most cases, they don't care about you or your business at all.

Like everyone else, they care about themselves, about their own needs and desires., and your business is only relevant in the specific context of satisfying these needs and desires.

Your copywriting should reflect that. Everything should be linked to these needs and desires., and if an element of the message is not relevant to these needs and desires, it should almost always be eliminated.

5. Write as if you were talking to a friend

There's something fun that happens when people try to write a text for the first time. They become very rigid and formal, and fill in their text with Meaningless jargon and vague phrases.

A good text reads a bit like a person speaking well to a friend. He has a relaxed and direct tone and gets to the point without rushing. It's not trying to fill the space. He's not trying to look like anything.

After you've written a piece of text, read it aloud and see if you're embarrassed. Or better yet, wait a day and ask someone else to read it out loud to you.

If you feel like you're doing business, think about the main points you want to demonstrate, then imagine talking to a friend about them.

6. The most important element of the text is clarity

Most editors and marketers love to make a big deal about persuasion and the magic of persuasive texts, but the truth is that The most important element of a good text is clarity.

Product/market fit (Product Market Fit) is what makes it possible to sell. Putting people in front of something they want or need is what sells.

The aim of the text is simply to make these people understand that the product is a perfect match for what they want or need.

There is another facet of Copywriting that focuses on manipulation through fear and greed, and while it's great for making quick money, it will never help you build a sustainable brand or business.

If you're working with a great product that customers love, you don't need persuasion, you need clarity. You need a clear and succinct message Who shows the customer why the product meets his needs or desires.

7. State the what, the why, the where, the who and the how

Part of clarity is covering all the details. It can be easy to forget a critical piece of information while trying to craft a story and consider other writing tips.

Be sure to identify all the information that needs to be provided in advance:

  • What is the offer?
  • Why is it important?
  • Where is it offered?
  • Who is it offered to?
  • How does that work?

Then lift your head up from your text and make sure you've answered all of these questions after you're done.

If that's the case, that's perfect!

8. Incorporate the evidence and draw inspiration from the evidence to write

The proof is the real magic of copywriting.

Anyone can say, “I'm going to do that for you.” But if you can accompany it with data, testimonials, examples, case studies, reviews, statistics, etc., that's where you can really make your text persuasive.

example :”Honestly, in on this site, you've presented me with more actionable advice than more than 90% of experts have in their documents.”

This is what an Internet user sent me one day. This simple sentence has 2000x more power and value than anything I could write about myself.

Add some social proof or feedback in your editorial office whenever possible.

9. Talk about the emotions and motivations behind the decision

Human beings very rarely make decisions from a purely analytical point of view. We are an emotional species and our Emotions strongly dictate our behavior.

As a writer, your job is to understand and then respond to the emotions and motivations of your target audience. You should link the specifics of your offer to the underlying objective that motivates the reader's decision-making.

It can be as simple as talking about the benefits or as complex as talking about life's hurdles and frustrating challenges. In any case, think about these emotions when you write your text.

READ MORE: 16 cognitive biases to use to convince your prospects -->

10. If you can condense it or simplify it, you should generally do it

The most valuable of all talents is the ability to never use two words when only one is enough.“- Thomas Jefferson

You have a limited amount of space and time to communicate your value and capture the interest of your reader. If you can say it with fewer words, you should generally do it. If you can say it in simpler words, you should.

This is why literature students generally make very poor editors at the beginning. They spent years trying to develop a writing style that is grammatically complex and uses a wider vocabulary.

In copywriting, the opposite is sought. You should be as simple and succinct as possible.

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Stephen MESNILDREY
CEO & Founder

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