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What Is Copywriting?

Updated on July 4, 2012
Ever wondered what a copywriter actually does?
Ever wondered what a copywriter actually does?

If you've ever been browsing writing forums, job websites offering work in writing or been handed a business card from somebody claiming to be a 'copywriter', then I'll bet if you've never heard the term before you don't know what 'copywriting; is, right?

It kinda sounds as though it's the term which should be used for somebody who goes around sticking circled Cs on everything.

But copywriting is actually a fairly easy concept to grasp - it's just a fancy way of referring to a certain kind of writer.

What is copywriting?

A copywriter is a writer who makes a living out of offering their professional skills with the English language primarily to businesses, writing their 'copy' for them for a fairly sizable fee.

'Copy' quite simply means the same as 'content'.

That's right, a copywriter is just a content writer, and as you know content can include an awful lot. Here are the most common types of writing a copywriter will create:

  • Web Content. Web content is primarily the words you see when you click on a company's website. The homepage, the about us, the product and services - all of this is called either web content or web copy, and when a copywriter is hired for this kind of job, these are the pages most likely to be written
  • Sales Copy. This is largely the letters sent out by businesses to other companies or individuals who might be interested in their services. Its main intention is to lead to sales, and sales copy can also include writing the words for specially designed 'landing pages' which a customer will land on after clicking a link, designed to direct and prompt a customer into following a set channel which inevitably leads to a sale
  • Article and blog writing. This also constitutes a small amount of a copywriter's work - although most copywriters will aim to land better paying jobs such as those listed above and the ones about to be listed below
  • Brochure And Leaflet Copy. As the title suggests, this is writing the words for brochures and leaflets. Similar to writing sales letters, but a more specialist approach related to the specific design of brochures and leaflets
  • Proposal Writing. Also called 'Grant Writing', this is the type of writing which usually involves using skills in the English language to create the wording for letters intended to be sent requesting something from another company - such as a financial package, loan or investment
  • Press Releases. A press release is often the name given to a cleverly disguised marketing technique used by businesses to promote their product. A press release (whether used for this purpose or for purely neutral purposes) is a piece of writing announcing a new product, service or event

Is that all..?

Being a full time copywriter, I could talk all day about copywriting and list a hundred more job roles completed by a copywriter, but instead I thought I'd leave you with just the main job roles fulfilled by a copywriter to give you an idea.


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    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      That's messed up. Ah, the self-appointed Hub Police...I've seen lots of other hubs about Elance, Guru, etc with links. I dunno. Well, good night, then.

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Heh heh. Don't worry I can leave it to you. I'm off to bed shortly, I think I'll let a few other folks crawl out their shells and grab a bit of limelight. Besides, I did write a full review of Elance (containing might I add just one link to the website and nothing more), in which I explained the benefits of such, the negatives of such etc... but it got repeatedly flagged as overly promotional. Still not sure why, but in the end I gave in and deleted it.

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      "...although most copywriters will aim to land better paying jobs such as those listed above..."

      Yup. $3-$4 Yahoo! articles are great for building up that empty portfolio with samples and help pay for web-hosting at the same time, but they don't go very far in paying the mortgage or the electric bill.

      For a beginning, online freelancer/copywriter with no college degree - but who has already built up a portfolio of sample articles, as you suggested - what sites would you recommend they check out next? (for writers who need/prefer ONLINE work from home)

      Some freelancing sites require proven expertise, degrees, etc and wouldn't work out for some of us...but for a beginner without credentials who wants to break out of the HubPages/Yahoo/Squidoo stage...what's the next step?

      Oh man, I think I feel another hub coming'll probably have it written and published before I could even finish my outline =)

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Kind comments, thank you

    • profile image

      Laurasmother 5 years ago from Europe

      I like your thoughts about copywriting. Blogging and writing articles or ordered content is a very interesting job.

      Regards, Laurasmother

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      No problem

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this overview of copy writing.