Get All Access for $5/mo

What Is Copywriting? How to Write Excellent Copy. Are you considering a career in copywriting but don't know where to start? Continue reading for everything you need to know to write excellent copy.

By Dan Bova

Whether you are a business owner, a social media influencer, a budding entrepreneur or someone simply trying to get their first copywriting job, knowing how to write clear and compelling copy is critical to your success.

Copywriting is another marketing tool to add to your advertising strategy; correctly written copy can make or break your marketing campaign.

Continue reading for everything you need to know about copywriting and how to improve your copywriting skills to write excellent copy.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the fundamental process of writing a copy. Now, you're probably wondering what copy is, right?

Copy is written work mainly to help sell a product or service or promote a company's brand.

Copywriting encompasses many different avenues. It can include:

Related: What Does a Copywriter Do? (Infographic) | Entrepreneur

How is copywriting different from other types of writing?

The main difference between copywriting and other writing professions, such as content writing, is that it always includes a call to action (CTA).

A call to action is essential in writing sales copy, as its primary purpose is to help generate sales and brand awareness.

This is why the copy needs to be informative and tell the reader how to proceed in purchasing a product or service from the company.

Related: The Real Difference Between Content Writing and Copywriting | Entrepreneur

What are the different types of copywriting?

With a form of copywriting being just about everywhere you look these days, it isn't surprising that most businesses are taking advantage of this form of advertising.

Continue reading for nine examples of copywriting and what copywriting strategies you can implement into your writing.

1. Marketing copywriting

Marketing copywriting is typically the form of copywriting that most people are aware of.

Some types of marketing copywriting include:

  • Online digital marketing ads.
  • YouTube videos and podcasts.
  • Radio and TV commercials.
  • Flyers.
  • Billboards.
  • Branded stickers.
  • Direct mail.

This type of copy can be done through paid ads or traditional marketing strategies.

Marketing copywriting is compelling, clear and concise; the goal is to sell something.

Related: 5 Myths That Kill Marketing Copy | Copywriting Marketing Messages | Entrepreneur.com

2. Social media copywriting

With numerous social media sites available, it is essential when planning your social media copy to use your research skills to figure out where your target audience tends to spend most of their time when planning your social media copy.

Great copywriters narrow down which social media sites they want to focus on, then they can write the copy accordingly.

Social media copywriting differs from other copy in a few ways.

Below are a few of the ways it is different than other copywriting types:

  • Emojis are regularly used in the copy.
  • It is written in a more informal tone.
  • The copy almost always accompanies a visual aspect.
  • The ad might be a paid ad stretching across numerous platforms.
  • The copy then redirects the reader to a website's landing page.
  • The copy should be clear and short.

Related: Examples of Social Media Business Ideas | Entrepreneur

3. Brand copywriting

Writing effective copy that communicates the brand's message is of the utmost importance in brand copywriting.

When writing this type of copy, it can help to keep the brand's main image and brand voice in mind. This can come from a logo, their theme song, a common phrase they use or even one of their company traits.

For brand copywriting to do its job, the customer must be the first thing you think about.

It is essential to know who your target audience is, and you can gain insight into this by utilizing the following:

  • Audience surveys.
  • Targeted focus groups.
  • Blind testing.
  • A/B testing.

Related: Make Your Brand Stand Out Online Through Better Copy | Entrepreneur

4. Direct response copywriting

With direct response copywriting, the primary purpose is to entice the reader to take action immediately.

This type of copywriting can be used in numerous different ways, including:

  • Landing pages after the customer clicks on an ad.
  • Open-ended emails.
  • Pop-ups.
  • Special limited-time offers.

When a customer is on a webpage, and a pop-up appears on the screen before they change or leave the page, this is another form of direct response copywriting.

This method is effective as it helps entice them to stay on the page by compelling them to sign up for something the company offers.

5. Technical copywriting

Technical copywriting is precisely what it sounds like.

This involves writing copy where the primary purpose is to explain the technology and provide a detailed product description to the reader to help sell a specific product.

To sell a technical product, the copy has to explain to the reader what it is, how it works and why they should buy it.

Once the customer fully understands the product and its benefits, they can decide whether to purchase it or not.

As the technology industry continuously evolves, technical copywriters are essential to help the tech industry advance.

Related: 5 Exercises That Improved My Technical Writing | Entrepreneur

6. Public relations copywriting

Public relations copywriting is used to help inform media outlets and the public regarding a business, product or service.

Often written by a publicist, this type of copy usually details an event the business hosts and is shared with different media outlets.

Public relations copy primarily aims to form a more personal relationship with the public and other organizations instead of just getting the business's message across using radio and TV advertising.

7. Thought leadership copywriting

This type of copywriting is slightly different.

Thought leadership copywriting is a type of copy written by a content writer who is a prominent and well-respected member of that industry.

For example, if a prominent attorney wrote an article recommending that everyone add a specific clause to their Will to help ensure it is legal and binding, that article would be considered to be thought leadership copywriting.

The main difference between this type of copywriting and others is that it isn't selling or promoting a product but instead tries to compel the reader to believe a specific idea.

Related: 10 Steps to Effective Copywriting

8. SEO copywriting

With SEO copywriting, the main goal is to utilize specific keywords and phrases that search engines can find to help bring that particular copy to the top of the search results.

A sales page can be advanced in the search engine results (SERP) if done correctly.

Related: 7 SEO Copywriting Tips to Get Your Business Ranking on Google

9. Email copywriting

One of the primary sources of copywriting work is email copywriting.

When you utilize email marketing, ensuring that the copy you send out to potential customers is well-written and practical is critical.

Some components of email copywriting include:

  • A catchy subject line.
  • A well-thought-out preview sentence.
  • A well-written introductory sentence for the body of the email.
  • A riveting call to action.

Email copywriting can be educational, such as a newsletter or informational brochure, or more sales focused, such as a free trial promotion.

With email copywriting, B2B copy differs from B2C copy in the following ways:

  • You write for a logical buyer instead of an emotional one.
  • You build a personal relationship with the reader.
  • You encourage the reader to start a conversation with you.
  • You utilize more industry-related terminology.

Related: If You Aren't Leveraging Email Marketing, This 7-Course Bootcamp Can Show You How | Entrepreneur

How do you become a successful copywriter?

Once you have decided to add copywriting to your business's marketing campaign or branch out into a new and exciting copywriting career, you will want to ensure success.

Continue reading for seven copywriting tips on how to become a successful copywriter.

In-depth knowledge of your client

If you are writing for a client rather than your own business, in-depth knowledge of their company is vital in helping them reach their goals.

To do this, it is a good idea to research their industry, including their competitors and how your client fits in.

The next step to writing good copy is to look at your client's information to get a feel for their brand and the tone they use.

This can include looking at their:

  • Webpages.
  • Reports.
  • Documents.
  • Brochures and catalogs.
  • Press release information.
  • Social media pages.

Once you have done that, it never hurts to check out their competitor's content to see how other copywriters tackle some of the common challenges you might face in that particular industry.

Related: 5 Tips for Improving Client Relationships | Entrepreneur

Know your prospective customer

This step is crucial in becoming a successful copywriter.

You need to know your prospective customer in and out to target that specific demographic best.

To do this, talk to prospective customers. If that isn't an option, you can also check out online conversations on bulletin boards, social media pages or wherever your target audience tends to spend most of their time online.

Things you are going to want to keep an eye out for to get more clicks and subscribers are:

  • What motivates your target audience?
  • What problems do they face that the company you are writing for can help solve?
  • What are their hopes and dreams?

Related: The How-To: Figuring Out Who Your Customer Is | Entrepreneur

Fine-tune your craft

Writing is an art. You must take pride in it and continue to work on and develop your talent as you move forward.

As digital media is constantly changing, to be a successful copywriter, you need to keep up-to-date on the following:

  • Website homepage and landing page development.
  • Email communication practices.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.
  • Pay Per Click advertising techniques.
  • Social media advertising.
  • Blogging and online article practices.
  • Digital advertising strategies.

Related: Improve Your Content Game: Four Writing Tips To Fine-Tune Your Articles | Entrepreneur

Research your industry

Knowing the ins and outs of the industry you are writing copy for is essential. This is how you can truly become a successful copywriter.

To do this, read books, articles, blog posts and anything else you can get your hands on regarding the industry you are writing for.

Researching and knowing your industry backward and forwards will help inspire you to learn what to write and avoid writing about.

Related: How to Become an Expert in Your Industry | Entrepreneur

Flexibility is key

When you are working with your client, being flexible is critical.

As a professional copywriter, you need to have confidence in yourself and your writing abilities but also know that your writing represents your client's business and therefore has to be approved and written using their brand voice.

Write regularly

Practicing it regularly is a surefire way to improve your writing skills and fine-tune your craft.

The best copywriters get in the habit of writing every day as it helps keep the creative juices flowing and helps perfect their talent.

What happens if you don't have a work project every day?

No problem. Simply writing in a journal, on your social media page or even on your personal blog can do the trick.

Related: How Entrepreneurs and Executives Can Develop a Writing Habit -- and Why They Should

Keep track of your results

To become a successful copywriter, you need to track your results.

You need to know what strategies are working in getting the reader's attention and which aren't so you can adjust your writing style accordingly.

Learning how to track the data and analytics and figure out your conversion rates can help you produce great copy, which in turn benefits you and your client.

What is a white paper?

In the world of copywriting, a white paper is an extensive report or guide on a specific topic and includes the problems typically associated with it.

A white paper's main purpose is to educate the reader and help them understand and solve these problems.

Companies use white papers to communicate their thoughts on a specific topic, making a case for why their product is the best option or presenting their research findings on a particular topic to their readers.

Related: Can White Papers Help Boost Your Business? | Entrepreneur

What industries use white papers?

While previously mainly used by government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, consultancies and financial institutions, white papers have since seen a boom in other industries due to content marketing.

Any company that utilizes content marketing can benefit from also producing white papers.

Types of white papers

There are numerous different types of white papers that companies can use to help promote their business.

Two main types of white papers include:

  • The first type is the backgrounder, where the product or service's benefits are explained to the reader.
  • The second type uses a problem-solving approach where a problem is mentioned, and a solution is provided.

What is a freelance copywriter?

While a specific company can hire you to produce their copy, you can also branch out and become a freelance copywriter.

A freelance copywriter writes copy for a company on a contract basis.

Freelance copywriters can find their work by networking with potential clients or through certain agencies. You can also find freelance work on online job sites such as LinkedIn.

Related: How to Launch a Lucrative Copywriting Side Hustle | Entrepreneur

Why choose to be a freelance copywriter?

There are numerous benefits to becoming a freelance copywriter.

Continue reading to learn why freelance copywriting might be right for you.

Accessibility

Getting into freelance copywriting doesn't have to be complicated.

There are no specific qualifications that are required, specialized equipment needed or even any fancy software to purchase besides Word.

Flexibility

Being your own boss allows you to decide when you work, what jobs you take and what clients you work for.

You can even decide to pursue freelance copywriting full-time or part-time to fit your existing schedule.

You can work at home, in a coffee shop or anywhere else. You can work from anywhere as long as you finish your work.

Options

The options for who you work for are endless. You can choose who you work with, from large corporations to small family-run businesses.

Do you speak another language? Why not utilize that skill and work with international clients as well?

Related: The Future of the Content Writing Industry | Entrepreneur

Variety

Being a freelance copywriter allows you to work in numerous different industries.

From fashion to agriculture to technology, you can work with clients in various fields, which keeps things exciting as there is always something new to learn.

Copywriting opens the door to exciting new possibilities

Whether you decide to work for a single company or you want to branch out into the exciting world of freelance copywriting, the job options are endless.

You can specialize in social media, technical or marketing copywriting. You can even work in numerous fields to keep things interesting.

When you decide on a career in copywriting, you open the door to a new world of exciting possibilities.

Check out Entrepreneur's other articles for more information about copywriting and how to write excellent copy.

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim, and Spy magazine. His latest books for kids include This Day in History, Car and Driver's Trivia ZoneRoad & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff, and Wendell the Werewolf

Read his humor column This Should Be Fun if you want to feel better about yourself.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Starting a Business

He Started an 'Accidental' Business at 25 With Just $2,000 — Then Gave His Product to the Pope: 'Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur'

Michael Aram, founder of the namesake luxury home and jewelry brand, learned the art of metalworking in India — and used it to launch a global brand.

Fundraising

You Don't Need Venture Capital Anymore — Here Are 4 Funding Alternatives

Are you hoping to raise capital for your business without traditional investor interference? Here are four alternatives you could pursue.

Business News

Elon Musk Endorses Trump, Says He's Faced Two Recent Assassination Attempts: 'Dangerous Times Ahead'

Elon Musk endorsed former President Trump minutes after the failed assassination at a rally in Pennsylvania and says two attempts have been made on his life while living in Texas.