There’s been some confusion about the word, copywriter. People ask what copyright has to do with writing articles for the web.
Not a thing!
The problem is that the words, copyright and copywriter, sound similar.
According to Merriam & Webster — copyright is the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work.)
A copywriter is a writer of advertising or publicity copy.
To make things even more confusing, it’s possible for a copywriter to write about copyright.
Copywriters write about all sorts of things.
Words are carefully chosen
People think that copywriting is only used for selling spammy products.
Copywriting sells IDEAS. Any ideas.
Each word is carefully tailored to improve the client’s message. Copywriters don’t like crapshoots, we want our words to sell.
As a copywriter you’ve got to be quick
That doesn’t mean being a fast writer, although it helps.
Only 20% will read the whole thing and most people, only a quarter. This means that the headline and first few lines of copy MUST grab a reader’s attention.
And a good copywriter knows how to keep people reading.
Copywriting in Action
Here’s an example of how copywriting works. The before example comes from an informational website about horse care. The after example is by yours truly.
Your horse’s stall should be cleaned every day.
Your horse lives in a 12’ x 12’ box. This is same as you living in a small closet. He eats, drinks, and excretes in the same space. Wet shavings rot his feet. Ammonia fumes make him cough. At dinnertime, hay and feces mix on the filthy floor. Good luck keeping him healthy after that.
The second example has more punch because it’s sensory. Once you’ve visualized the horse’s existence, you bet you’ll keep that stall clean! The situation is real to you.
Words That Sell, ANYTHING
99% of what you see on the internet today is copywriting, and that includes blog posts. Everyone is selling something, and not just products, ideas too!
I’ve been a professional writer and editor for thirty years and I know how to make words work.
Email me and let me know how I can help you get a better response from your writing.
Sara Light-Waller, Freelance Writer
P.S. My mother used to say, “per aspera ad astra” as a sort of rallying cry. I think it’s because of those words that I became a space opera fan. Go figure!
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