Day 8: What is copywriting?

My 500 Words, Professional

Copywriting is the creation of text surrounding the publicity, sales, or marketing of a product or service. It is the words or text that strive to promote and persuade the target audience to engage, decide, or act in a certain manner. It is…everywhere. I found myself asking what exactly copywriting was after a conversation that started with me very sure that I knew what it was and ended with me googling it to be sure. I had always thought about copywriting and “copy” in terms of advertising campaigns, and it is. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about this nebulous term and to learn of its broad scope. I decided to sign up for some online courses and to download a copywriting podcast to listen to while I work.

I am learning a few interesting things, but I am struck by one general nagging thought. Copywriting as a profession seems to be devoted to knowing your customer or target audience and telling them in the most efficient and effective way possible how your product or service solves their problem. This spoke to me, as it is about communicating in the most effective way to a certain target audience. And, it sounded fun. So, I was implored to keep learning.

I learned some terms that seemed important as well: value proposition, direct-response copywriting, conversion copywriting, and the 100 audience formula. Why don’t we talk about the importane of copywriting and persuasive messaging more? This seems so critical to the sales and marketing success of an enterprise, but I have only heard it as a freshman year journalism student when kids talked about what kind of jobs they would be OK taking. I was confused then and now, even after many years attempting to understand the professional and regular world in all its weird splendor, it seems like we never talk about the things that matter. If this is a skill, it seems like it is an underdeveloped or at least acknowledged one. Sales is often seen as an ability, a calling, or a product of persistence or beauty. And, yes, perhaps it is all of these things. But, really, it is a skill. And copywriting, the messaging, and the mindset that goes into the creation of impactful words in strategic times and places can teach us a lot about how to sell.

I have been told at various points of my young professional life that I was great at sales, terrible at sales, should definitely make that my career, and should look elsewhere for opportunity. The room has been split. I have found ways to connect and do well and have found plenty ways to fall flat on my face. Luckily, my ego is bothered by the thought that I can’t do something well and especially that I just can’t do it. I like to try to overcome it. Maybe studying copywriting, which combines the need to sell, which exists in every business, and my interest and passion for writing. It would be great if this new avenue to explore might be a fruitful, or at least interesting, one.