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What is copywriting?

This one’s dedicated to my brother-in-law who, like many people, asked me if copywriting is to do with trademarks.

Hint: it isn’t.

Copywriting has nothing to do with copyright (and this little revelation alone goes to show how important it is to get your spelling right, people).

Every copywriter or content writer will probably give you a different definition of what they do, and what the differences between copywriting and content writing are.

To me, the two are becoming ever more blurred, especially with the rise of content marketing (you know, all that stuff companies ping out to your social media and your inbox to make you feel part of their brand). With that in mind, I’m going to take a big breath, duck any professional colleagues who hurl things at me in disagreement, and lump the two together when I explain what they are. So when I say ‘copywriter’, please read ‘content writer’ too.


Essentially, copywriting is the business of writing something with the aim of getting the reader to do something, most often to buy a product or service.

It doesn’t have to be about sales though. You could be persuading someone to stop smoking, or to only speak to their kids on Tuesdays in Latin. It doesn’t matter. If you’re persuading them, it’s copywriting.

So what skills does a copywriter have?

Copywriting is an art and it’s a science. There’s a beauty to how a copywriter works with words to build a story and a life around their copy. And there’s a technical side to what words they put where to give their copy a chance with search engines, email filters and most importantly, the reader.

There’s also a whole bunch of research the copywriter does to learn about the topic they’re writing about, understand how potential (and existing) customers tick and build the most persuasive case they can. A business owner is often too close to their business to be able to pick out the best bits to focus on, but a professional copywriter takes the hard work out of that.

Oh, and a copywriter needs to be able to write. In lots of tones of voice. They need to be able to spell and use grammar correctly. And know when it’s OK to throw the grammar rule book out the window (starting a sentence with ‘And’, anyone?).

Don’t forget a freelance copywriter also has a good understanding of running a business, managing projects and marketing themselves – all useful insights that will help them understand and work with your business.

Examples of what a copywriter might work on include:

  • Blog posts
  • White papers and industry reports
  • Marketing emails and campaigns
  • Case studies
  • Leaflets and factsheets
  • Landing pages
  • Website copy
  • Newsletters
  • Training materials
  • Press releases
  • Guidebooks
  • Social media posts
  • The list is endless…

If you need help with writing something or improving something you’ve already drafted, let’s talk.

9 thoughts on “What is copywriting? Leave a comment

  1. Your brother-in-law is pleased to have learnt what a copywriter is and be the inspiration for your blog post.

    Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your writing.

    M x


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