What is Copywriting?

Are you intimidated by copywriting?

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If your answer is yes, welcome to how 99% of marketers feel.

If your answer is no, are you some kind of wizard?

Copywriting is the reason why people buy something.

By Ben Griffin

There’s a reason copywriting is so intimidating—because copy is the straw that stirs the money milkshake. Copywriting is the reason why people buy something. Copywriting is the text that makes somebody stop thinking, “I can live without it” and start thinking, “Why am I living without it?”

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a series of words.

That’s why I’m going to give you an in-depth look at what copywriting is, how it has changed with the rise of digital marketing, and the different types of copywriting, as well as provide tons of examples for you to find inspiration.

The goal is for you to walk away with a wand in your hand ready to cast your copywriting spell on every ice-cold lead and prospect you encounter.

What is Copywriting?

Officially, copywriting is defined as:

“The activity or occupation of writing the text of advertisements or publicity material.”

Copywriting definition from Google search

Let’s put that dictionary definition into everyday examples.

Copywriting is the content you see written in the caption of a Facebook ad. It’s the headline of a Google ad or the description of a YouTube video. It’s the text on a website, from the landing page to the product page.

Outside of digital marketing, it’s the text written on billboards, the title of a newspaper article, and the sign outside of a brick-and-mortar store.

When people talk about “clickbait” headlines, they’re talking about copywriting. Copywriting motivates people to click on a website, tells them why they need to buy the product, and persuades them to swap their money for goods and services.

As we talk about copywriting throughout this article, we’re talking about content put on websites, social profiles, ad campaigns, and email campaigns that are designed to make somebody want to buy a product, become part of a community, sign up for a free offer, etc.

What is Copywriting NOT?

The short answer: pretty much any other type of writing.

Copywriting is intended to move you to action. It is strategical and to the point. So anything that doesn’t do that? Not copywriting. A blog post about Facebook ads? Not copywriting. That book on your shelf that talks about what copywriting is that you haven’t read? STILL not copywriting.

See copywriting is often confused with content writing. But they aren’t quite the same.

  • Content writing is this article in its entirety
  • Copywriting is the text you see promoting the DigitalMarketer products within this article

See the difference?

But there is often some level of overlap.

Content writing says, “Here’s some free value in the form of useful information. If you feel like it, check out our other useful information or get it delivered to your inbox, sign up for a free trial, etc.”. It’s usually longer form content (500–3,000+ word articles).

Copywriting doesn’t beat around the bush. It says, “Sign up for this free thing” (in a very convincing tone). It’s shorter form, 100–1,000 words that tell you what the product does, why you need it, and how to buy it RIGHT NOW.

So know content writing can help with your copywriting, but the reverse is true in spades. Having the skills to drive action in just a few impactful words can boost the quality and value of your content writing.

(NOTE: Before you get started honing your writing skills, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Customer Avatar

How has Copywriting Changed Since Marketing Went Digital?

Before the internet age dawned on the marketing industry and decided that digital would be king—copywriting was alive and thriving.

What was happening in advertising in 2000? Forward-thinking marketers, like Gary Vaynerchuk, were on top of the Adwords launch—he launched his first Adwords campaign the same day that Adwords came out. But the rest of the marketers were still focused on traditional marketing methods, trying to figure out how to make their catalog advertisements get traction.

The Google Advertising page before Google Adwords was launched

Google Advertising circa 1999

In March of 2000, Inc Magazine published an article called, “Design and Copywriting for Print Advertising.” They highlighted 8 of the most important factors to consider when writing copy. Factor #2 is to “Focus on Selling.”

Clearly, marketers were talking about copywriting on a macro level (to say the least). We could get away with saying things like “Focus on selling,” and other marketers would nod their heads and say, “that makes sense.”

As digital marketing has evolved, it has made copywriting more complex.

But this is 2019, folks. We’ve shifted to the micro-copywriting picture.

If DigitalMarketer wrote an article today and one of our techniques was to, “Focus on selling”—what would be your response?

“Yeah sure, but what does that mean?”

Instead of saying, “Focus on selling” we say, “Here are 4 Persuasive Sales Copywriting Techniques to be a More Effective Copywriter.” Then we outline these techniques in detail.


Because as digital marketing has evolved, it has made copywriting more complex. Facebook and Google ads are everywhere, which means our audiences are saturated with bids for their attention (and more importantly, their money).

Google cashed in $27.7 billion in revenue in Quarter 3 of 2018—only 13.24% ($3.6 billion) of their revenue didn’t come from advertising. At no other time in history has so much copy existed in the world.

If we want to stand out, we can’t focus solely on selling; we have to use psychology and proven marketing methods to get their attention and hope they’ll want the value we’re offering them.

Who Needs Copywriting?

If you have a product that you’re trying to sell to people—you need copywriting…

Read more…article continues HERE on DigitalMarketer’s website

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