fbpx

What is Copywriting & Is It Important for My Business?

What is copywriting is going to take a few minutes to answer, but I can answer the second question for you real quick.

Yes.

If you have an online business and you wish to make money with it, copywriting is going to be important to your business.

In fact, if you have an online business and you’re asking yourself, “What is copywriting?” there’s something you should know.

You are already writing copy.

The question then becomes, is the copy you’re writing working for you?

What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting is writing that encourages a person to take action.

It makes sense that what you write to sell your product is copywriting. Because, of course, you are trying to encourage the person who is reading to purchase your product.

But if you think about it, there’s a lot of other actions besides buying something that you might want to encourage a person to take.

You want them to click on your pins so that they can come see your blog post.

You might want them to opt in to your email list.

You might just want to encourage them to click to another post on your site.

These are all actions that you might be encouraging your reader to take and copywriting is how you are going to encourage them to do that.

We’re going to get to the best ways to do that, but first, let’s talk about the difference between copywriting and content writing.

Copywriting vs. Content Writing

Content writing is different than copywriting, but that does not mean that each of these types of writing don’t show up in the same places.

In a blog post, you should be able to find examples of copywriting and content writing.

Copywriting is encouraging someone to take a desired action.

Content writing is about educating and/or entertaining your reader.

Sometimes the difference between what is copywriting and what is content writing is really easy to see.

Think about a YouTube video. Let’s say you just watched a really informative video on how to tie your shoelaces. That’s the content.

When the creator encourages you to like, subscribe and click the bell for notifications, that’s the copywriting.

It’s a little harder to notice when you are thinking about the written word.

In a blog post for instance, what is copywriting and what is content writing?

Let’s take a look at all of the places that copywriting might show up in blog posts or other types of written communication.

3 Examples of Copywriting Elements

There are many more places that copywriting can show up, but these are the ones that you will probably be writing on a daily or weekly basis as an online business owner.

#1 Headlines & Titles

Headlines and titles are the most important things you will write.

They are expressly for the first principle of business, Get them to notice you.

If you can’t get people to notice you, then you don’t stand a chance of getting anyone through the rest of the Pocket Business Framework. You remember the Framework, right?

  1. Get them to notice you
  2. Get them to pay attention to you
  3. Get them to trust you
  4. Convert that trust into money

You can read all about them in the Pocket Business Handbook if you need to, but, for our purposes, your headlines and titles are how people are going to notice you.

They are going to see a title on a pin or in their search engine results.

That’s not a lot of words that you get to use in order to get them to click over to read more from YOU.

We’ve got a great guide on writing blog post titles that will help.

Headlines, the ones you might see on a sales page, for instance, also have to do a lot of heavy lifting.

Your headlines need to be able to convey to your reader in very few words what exactly you are promising them with the product or service you are about to tell them about.

If the headline doesn’t do its job, it’s not very likely that your reader will continue reading your sales page.

You may also use a sub-headline that can give a little more support to that headline by adding more detail about the transformation and benefits that your reader can expect from your product, but the headline does the real heavylifting.

Here’s an example of a Headline and a Sub-headline:

One Story, Six Figures” is the headline. “Your Brand just needs one story to connect with the world. What’s yours?” is the sub-headline.

It makes you want to read more, doesn’t it?

Oh, and “Introducing Fairy Tale Funnels“? That’s called a Kicker.

#2 Body Copy

I don’t know who comes up with the words for some of these terms, but I’m going to say right now, Body Copy is a terrible phrase.

It’s just weird.

But that’s not important. What is important is understanding what Body Copy is.

Remember, it’s copywriting, not content writing, so it’s not the bit of your post that is the “how to make brownies from scratch”.

Body Copy is when you are writing in order to encourage someone to take an action in long form.

So, instead of a few words in a headline, body copy is paragraphs, a bulleted list or even your introduction of a blog post.

Body copy is going to show people the benefits of what you are about to show them. On a sales page that might be a description of how you were transformed by the process in the course you have written.

A bulleted list on a sales page might list the features that are available in the course.

In a blog post on the other hand, your body copy is a little different. I consider the introduction paragraphs of a post to be copy and not content because you need to use those paragraphs to encourage your reader to read the rest of the post.

If you are writing a post that is geared to getting an affiliate sale, then you better believe you’re writing copy and not just content all throughout that post.

The whole point is to encourage the person to purchase the product that you are an affiliate for, right? That’s copy.

#3 Captions & Blurbs

Captions and blurbs show up as copy in lots of different places. Think about print advertising that comes to your mailbox every day. A lot of captions and blurbs, right?

They are usually short clips of text that are set outside of the rest of the text in a speech bubble or a text box.

For you, as an online business owner, captions and blurbs show up in a couple of ways.

One of them is your Opt In box. Here’s what ours looks like: (it’s not a real opt in box, you can opt in at the end of the post if you want to!)

What is copywriting? Image of an example of an opt in box.

The words inside that box, those are copy all day. They are doing the very hard work of encouraging someone to hand over their precious email address in exchange for whatever value you have promised them.

It’s not a lot of words that you can get in that box, is it?

You also will use captions and blurbs on your sales pages to help certain things stand out.

The speech bubble or text box helps get the words that you put there noticed, but once they are noticed, it’s up to those words to keep your readers attention.

Choose them well, copywriter.

#4 Sales Emails (formerly known as Sales Letters)

This is your favorite part, right? Sales emails?

No??

JK, I know most people hate writing these. But they are a very important bit of copywriting that you do need to learn to get good at.

I mean, you do like money, right? We can all agree on that.

Your email sequences might not be the only way that you make money, but they should be one way and they should be a reliable way to make money.

And in every sales email you write, you are trying to encourage someone to do something.

Buy your Offer or possibly even an affiliate offer that you love.

When you think about your business, if you see the funnel as starting at the very top with the people that clicked a link to come visit your site, then you’ve gotten them through several hurdles in order to get them onto your email list

You wrote a title and introduction that was good enough to get them to your opt in. You wrote a blurb for that opt in box that was good enough to get them to commit to entering their email address.

You probably sent them a few nurturing emails to make sure they know that you are the guide for them and now it’s time to present them with your offer.

The goal with these emails is that by the time they get to your landing page, they already know they want what you are offering.

To be honest, if you write good sales emails, you’ll stop hating them so much.

Part of the reason you probably hate them so much is because you read so many terrible ones. You don’t have to write terrible sales emails.

The best ones are based on stories and are rooted in the problems and emotions that your Hero is experiencing.

Tips for Improving Your Copywriting

There are very simple ways to quickly improve the copy that you writing that anyone can do.

1. Tell a Story – Stories connect people. Your reader (or listener if it happens to be an oral story) inserts themselves into your story as you begin to tell it.

You don’t have to have exactly the same experience as someone else, but when you use stories to relay information, the reader will automatically start picturing themselves in the story.

Stories show your reader you can empathize with them and that is the easiest way to quickly form a bond between you and your reader.

2. Cliffhangers, but not that dramatic – You don’t have to go all Dallas style with a “Who Shot JR” type of Cliffhanger.

(You can Google that if you weren’t around in the 80’s. It was a big, big deal. Ask your mom).

In your copy you can just leave smaller scale cliffhangers. It might be as simple as saying something in your introduction like, “But, I’ll get to that in a minute…”

In an email sequence it’s just easy. “There’s also this amazing tip, but I’ll cover that one tomorrow because it deserves it’s own email”.

There are more subtle ways of doing cliffhangers but those will do the trick.

If you’re into a more subtle option, check out this article on Open Loops.

3. Don’t forget the value – Remember we talked about the difference between content writing and copywriting? You want to make sure your content writing is bringing top quality value to your reader or no amount of excellent copywriting is going to help you.

Readers are always trying to figure out what’s in it for them, so if you aren’t helping them solve a problem in your content writing, then by the time they are reading the copywriting in your sales emails or landing pages, they aren’t going to have that trust you need in order to get them to purchase something from you.

Or sign up for your email list.

Or do whatever other action it is you want them to do.

4. Forget what you learned in all of the English classes you ever took- Ok, that’s a little dramatic, you want good grammar (for the most part) and spelling and everything, but those term papers you wrote, toss those.

The most common advice you will get on how to write well for your blog or your emails is to write like you are chatting with a friend at a bar.

But how do you actually do that?

Well, first of all, you use simple sentences and mostly simple words.

Don’t use jargon. Jargon is worse than confusing. It makes your reader feel like you know something they will find hard to understand or learn and therefore they will stop reading.

And they won’t like you very much.

Write in a way that makes you smile and your Hero will probably be smiling, too. I have a rule that I have to make myself feel something (amused, sad, angry) in everything I write.

If I’m feeling something, then my reader probably will, too.

All the worst things I’ve ever written don’t do that.

Ready to Practice Your Copywriting Skills?

I kind of left you hanging with that “Tell a Story” tip, didn’t I?

If you feel like you don’t have anything interesting to tell, there’s a great tip that I learned from an amazing book, Stories That Stick that will help.

Think about your first. If you’re in the gardening niche, the first tomato you grew, for example. Make a list of a bunch of firsts. They usually stand out in your mind, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Then start outlining some stories around them and see where they might fit in in your copy.

Copywriting Exercises

Ready for some practice at copywriting? These copywriting exercises will start to hone your skills.

1. Write multiple versions of titles.

I mean many multiple versions. Just throw everything out there and do like 25 versions of a title for the same post.

This doesn’t have to be for just post titles. You could do this for email subject lines, Pin descriptions, headlines…

Any short piece of copy that won’t make you too crazy to write 25 different variations of.

This is good practice for your copywriting and it’s just a simple practice in creativity.

2. Go on a copy scavenger hunt for your swipe file.

If you don’t have a swipe file, you should start one now. A swipe file is just a collection of writing samples that you have found inspiring.

If you use something like Evernote for your swipe file it’s easy to add snippets of great copy whenever you come across them, but it can be fun to try to be proactive in adding stuff to your swipe file.

Go to Google and search random things. “Best camping spot in Alaska”. “How to Train a Dog to Stop Barking”.

Then look at the titles for the articles that rank high. If there are some that you love, save them in your swipe file to study.

You can do similar searches in your email accounts for email subjects and sales letters, too.

3. Do some copywork.

This is an actual thing. One good way of practicing your copywriting skills is to actually sit down and copy the copy of other copywriters.

By hand.

This article on {{{copywork}}}https://marketcopywriterblog.com/want-to-dramatically-improve-your-content-copy-other-writers-shamelessly/ has an excellent explanation.

The idea is you pick up structure and style that works. D

Popular choices for who to copy? David Ogilvy, Joe Sugarman and Gary Halbert.

4. Do over.

Stuck in traffic? Do over some copy.

If you’re sitting somewhere like the freeway or an airport, you are probably surrounded by ad copy in some way.

It might billboards, radio ads, signs, magazines and I’m sure a million others that you don’t even recognize as ads anymore.

Sit and rewrite them in your head.

Specifically, look for the ones that are giving you all the features and think about what each of the benefits of these features might be and how you could include them in the ad.

Other fun things to think about are what could you take away from the ad to make it better? What could you add? How could you make worse? (That’s for when you are really, really bored).

5. Read reviews.

People do not hold a single thing back when they are not happy with something.

Reading negative reviews of products is a good way to understand what exactly people are not interested in dealing with.

The opposite of those things are the benefits!

If you have ever read a review of an Ikea bed with under bed storage you will find that one of the biggest complaints is how difficult they are to put together.

Therefore, if you were Ikea’s competitor and you had a bed that was cool looking AND easy to put together, you would want to be sure to include how quickly and painlessly your reader will be comfy in their new bed because it is SO easy to put together.

6. Set a daily writing challenge.

You should without any doubt be writing every day.

Pick a word count you want to meet everyday and make sure you are meeting.

500 words a day is a good place to start and honestly it doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to do 500 words.

Look at your swipe file and rewrite something from there or choose a random product to write a sales email for.

Practice will help you not just to write better, but you’ll also teach yourself to write faster. The faster you can get your fingers to keep up with your brain, the better.

7. Ask yourself two questions.

When I’m stuck on something, I ask myself this first:

“What am I trying to encourage someone to do with this piece of writing?”

Remember, that’s what copywriting is. It’s writing that is encouraging a person to take an action.

Second, I’ll ask myself, what is the one benefit (not feature) the person wants from whatever action I am trying to encourage them to take?

If you can bring yourself back to those two simple questions you can refocus your thoughts.

Told You It Would Take a Few Minutes to Explain What is Copywriting

So now you have an understanding of what is copywriting.

You’ve even gotten a few tips and tricks on how to improve your copywriting.

I know it seems like there is an unending list of things to learn and get good at for your online business. And, well, you’re right.

But, what I can tell you is that if you can practice copywriting and get better at it, a lot of things are going to get easier for you. Writing posts will get easier, emails, titles, landing pages…

And selling things will get easier. And in the end that’s the whole point, right?

Create an amazing offer for your reader to purchase so that you can help them improve their life.

You owe it to them to do a better job of copywriting so that they feel encouraged to purchase what you’ve made for them.

Want to discuss this post? 🤗

As you can see we don't do comments, but that doesn't mean we don't want to discuss things. If you have a question, comment, or just want to chat with us about this post then send an email to scrivs@pocketbusiness.com with your thoughts.

Want to impress your friends? Share this post! 🧐

Studies have shown that you can prove that you're smarter than your friends by sharing this post with them. They'll think “dammit, this person obviously knows more than me because they read this post first!”