What Is Copywriting?

Amplify your message using well-chosen words.

For those who aren’t writers or marketers by trade, the term “copywriting” might sound at once overly technical and confusingly vague. 

What is copywriting exactly? And how is it different from other types of writing?

Goals of copywriting

Copywriting is a subset of professional writing that always has a very clear objective in mind. Its purpose is to move readers toward specific intended actions — often to buy a product or service, or to learn more about them. But not always.

Sometimes, copywriting works simply to build brand awareness or brand prestige. The famous Got Milk? campaign or Nike’s Just Do It advertising tagline illustrate how copywriting can clearly and directly convey a brand’s message — using as few as two or three words — when done well.

Types of copywriting

Copywriting comes in many shapes and forms, which vary depending on the intended audience and message at hand.

Business to consumer (B2C) copywriting targets an audience of everyday product buyers. If you’ve ever read an ad on public transit or a postcard mailer, you’ve seen one prominent type of B2C copywriting: marketing copywriting, or advertising. Other types of B2C copywriting include:

  • Sales letters
  • TV or radio commercial scripts
  • Social media posts
  • Product descriptions

Business to business (B2B) copywriting, on the other hand, hopes to attract the attention of potential industry-specific clients or customers. This style of copywriting tends to be a bit more formal in tone compared to B2C copywriting, and it is often written with an understanding that intended readers likely have a broad comprehension of the field being discussed.

Examples of B2B copywriting include:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Web pages
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • E-books
  • Video scripts
  • Annual reports
  • Thought leadership social media posts

Why good copywriting matters

Skilled copywriters have a knack for connecting with their audience. They know how to craft an engaging hook, tap into readers’ inherent curiosities, and share even technical information clearly and accessibly.

Beyond simply reporting a product or service’s informational essentials — think traditional journalism’s who, what, where, why, and when — skilled copywriting conveys that information in such a way that it resonates with the reader long after their eyes (or ears) have moved on.

A good copywriter can take even a potentially mundane topic — like the need for a household cleaner — and turn it into a message that demands attention by engaging one of the key elements of rhetoric.

You might recall from your college writing class that rhetoric, a fancy name for the art of persuasive writing, typically involves an appeal to the reader’s logic or emotions, or their need for an authority opinion on the subject.  

So, instead of simply saying “buy X brand of cleaner,” a strong copywriter has a target audience in mind when they write marketing copy such as:

  • Fewer germs means fewer doctor visits. 
    Logical appeal targeting parents of toddlers during cold season
  • A clean home is a happy home.
    Emotional appeal targeting parents of toddlers during cold season
  • Germs happen. Send them packing with the cleaner used by 9 out of 10 doctors in their own homes. 
    Invoking or establishing authority/expert opinion to help parents effectively battle cold season

In fact, experienced copywriters know skillfully integrating an authority voice — often known as a subject matter expert, or SME, in B2B copywriting — is a quick and effective way to turn otherwise forgettable copy into something fresh and insightful. 

Topics that could cause eyes to gloss over when not covered well — tax law or the intricacies of establishing solid cybersecurity defenses, for example — leap to life when copywriters add well-chosen, illuminating quotes from SMEs to the discussion. 

In short, good copywriting matters because it makes even complex topics accessible and interesting for readers. 

And, what’s more, it makes for memorable messaging.

As any marketer will tell you, making a lasting impression is crucial, especially since recent research shows the average American’s advertising attention span continues to drop — with Gen Z losing attention after just 1.3 seconds.

Outsourcing your copywriting

If your business is currently without an in-house marketing or communications department, or if your in-house team is overbooked, consider outsourcing your copywriting to Dragonfly’s writing team.

Our writers have collaborative relationships with clients across a wide range of industries and sectors, from financial services, IT, and health care to architecture, engineering, and construction.

Whether you’re looking for eye-catching marketing collateral or fine-tuned copy to illustrate your firm’s expertise in a certain niche, we can help you tailor your message for the audience you’re after.

Connect with us to learn more. 

Dragonfly Editorial is a content writing agency. This writing service is also known as copywriting.

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