What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is writing for the purpose of persuasion, action, or promotion. Learn more about what it is and successful examples of copywriting in action.


Photo by Pixabay


As a freelance copywriter, I get asked this question a lot: what exactly is copywriting? The title “copywriter” sounds so formal and complicated when in reality the role itself is pretty straightforward. While a lot of people might be unfamiliar with the word “copywriter”, everyone is familiar with the work of a copywriter, whether they know it or not.


The formal definition of copywriting, according to the Oxford dictionary, is the act of writing the text of advertisements or publicity material. To put it simply, copywriting is writing for the purpose of persuasion, action, or promotion. It is writing that requires intentional thought around who the reader is and what exactly you want them to do.


You are looking at copywriting any time you scroll through an email, browse a web page, read a blog, or get a leaflet in the mail. Copywriting is also the words you hear in a television advertisement or a company video. Any words spoken or written with the intention to persuade, sell, motivate, or promote is copywriting.


Copywriting is everywhere, but the most effective copywriting is the one that tells a story or seems to speak directly to you. We’ve all had that Instagram ad or brochure in the mail that made us go “YES! This is exactly what I need.” And before you know it, you are inserting your credit card details. That is effective copywriting (and crazy specific Instagram algorithms) at work.


What makes copywriting hard to understand for so many people is that it can take the form of a lot of different things. Copywriting can be found in e-books, white papers, websites, blogs, emails, product descriptions, social media posts, fundraising letters, catalogs, videos, and the list goes on.


The below examples of copywriting in action give you a better sense of how copywriting can be used across different mediums:


RXBar packaging


I love the RXbar package because it is copywriting at its simplest. It is addressing a challenge consumers face today: distrust in processed foods that have a paragraph list of ingredients. The call-out to “No B.S.” and the simple act of listing out the ingredients immediately communicates transparency.

Aubrey Marcus Collection product description


Sometimes it feels like companies forget to put any effort into their product descriptions. So many product descriptions feel like a long list of “blah, blah, blah” and don’t spend any time inviting you in or compelling you to purchase. However, this is a crucial moment to capture the attention, build intrigue, and encourage action in your reader. When a person is reading your product description they are quite literally making the decision at that moment if they want to purchase. That’s what I love about this Aubrey Marcus shoe description because it tells a story while simultaneously selling you on what kind of person wears these shoes.

Dumb Ways to Die video PSA


One of my favorite advertisements of all time is the “Dumb Ways to Die” public service announcement made by Metro Trains to promote railway safety. What could have easily been another boring video telling you to stay away from train tracks was creatively made into a song that still manages to get stuck in my head today even though it came out back in 2012.


Articulate “About Us” page


The “About Us” page is a great opportunity to showcase your company’s personality and can benefit from some thoughtful copywriting. What I love about Articulate’s “About Us” page is that they stray away from the boring norm and in the process, they come across as fun, authentic, and trustworthy.


Harry’s Home Page


I LOVE Harry’s home page because it is so simple yet effective. To me, the most successful home pages are the ones that tell me (in as few words as possible) what exactly they are offering me and why I should buy it. Capture my attention first before you sell me on all the details. With Harry’s site, I know immediately that I am getting an all-in-one offer, that using the product will give me a high-quality and smooth shave, and that I can easily give it as a gift or get a trial set for myself.


As a health and fitness copywriter, my role is to write effective copy that argues the case for the product or service and sells the story of the offer we are making. Like the examples above, this is done by speaking the language of the reader, addressing their biggest challenges, and making it a no-brainer for them to take action.


Not every business hires copywriters but every business has to write copy. The businesses that invest in copywriting resources and professionals tend to be the most successful. This is because copywriting is a craft that when done correctly persuades a reader into action, builds their trust, and establishes credibility and loyalty around your product or service.

Interested in hiring a copywriter to craft authentic, action-oriented, and persuasive copy for your business? Schedule a call with me this week to chat more about your content and marketing goals.

59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All