I remember running along the canal one evening late spring. I was listening to the energetic, inspiring Heart + Hustle podcast (hosted by Evie Rupp and Lindsey Roman). It was a podcast about copywriting.
I had never heard of copywriting before.
A week later I started copywriting.
There is a whole lot of backstory to that little (actually kind of big) part of my life, but for now here are some basics about copywriting if you’re like me and had never heard of it. (Who knows, maybe it’s one of your callings, too!)
What the thing is
Wikipedia, that exciting place where we all get our info, says copywriting is “Writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. Written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.”
In a little less Wikipedia language—copy is a name for the words that you see everywhere your eyes land. You see it on billboards by the freeway. On your favorite author’s website. On the Instagram caption of the podcast you listen to every Monday morning. Newsletters, Craigslist ads, the back of books—these are all examples of copywriting.
Turns out, we all see written copy around us almost constantly, whether we realize it or not! Ever remember reading about a “copy desk” from old newspaper days? Well, this is exactly that. Traditionally, copywriters work with words to find the right combination of words that will sell a product—from handmade toys to a photography expeirce to a college course to a Youtube video.
This post that you’re reading right now is copy, actually—trying to explain and promote something business related.
What the thing isn’t
This is the most frequent mix-up that I’ve heard, and certainly an understandable one since the words sound exactly the same. However, copywriting and a copyright are two totally different things.
A copyright is having the rights to or ownership of a certain piece of written work. If you’ve ever looked inside the first few pages of a book, you’ll see “Copyright 2020” (or whatever year it was published). This is simply to prevent someone from copying an author’s work.
Copywriting (the product is called copy) is written text to promote a business or brand.
Why you might care
How does this affect you?
If you’re a small business owner or creative dreaming of starting a business—you might as well realize now that writing copy is an important part of that road. It is key that you know how to articulate your product or service and values in a way that is compelling and helpful to potential clients or customers!
If writing isn’t your thing at all—you might want to look into hiring a copywriter. (Hey I’m a copywriter if you need one 😉).
If you do enjoy putting words together—you may want to take an online course on copywriting; or else look up all the blog posts and Youtube videos you can find.
You know what? Copywriting isn’t always easy. Some days I wish I was back on that canal bank, just listening to Ashlyn Carter talk about how to write good copy, and understanding for the first time. It’s exciting, though, to be learning and growing and attempting to write copy in a way that lets others know about all the good things- honest brands, ethical products, helpful services- that there still are in the world. It makes me want to run like springtime.