What Is Copywriting? How Is It Different From Writing?


copywriter in a cafe

Are you just starting your career in marketing? or maybe you are an aspiring writer? At some point you will come across this word ‘Copywriting’.

It’s a word you most likely will never come across until you get into the industry. So if you are like me and had no clue, your first reaction might have been to look it up in a dictionary or search the net. Something along the lines of ‘The text of advertisements and TV commercials’ should come up.

You then realize that it is a type of writing with a catchphrase for selling or promoting something. Yes, this is not false. But there is a whole lot more depth in the world of copywriting.

Here are some definitions that might help you get a better idea of what copywriting is.

“The art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.”


“The process of writing advertising promotional materials. Copywriters are responsible for the text on brochures, billboards, websites, emails, advertisements, catalogs, and more.”


“It’s like hiring one salesman to reach all of your customers. A sales team contacts customers one at a time; a copywriter reaches all of them at once through billboards, magazine ads, sales letters, blog posts, and more.”

Quick Sprout

“Getting them to WANT to engage with you….not spamming them with offers. Generously giving something valuable to the person….not just “greedily asking” for stuff. Getting them to WANT to buy from you….not out of pressure, but because they enjoy your content and help.”


Now we get the idea that ‘Copywriting’ is the written or spoken words that are used in advertising medium that pushes that button in people’s hearts and minds to get them to take a certain action such as purchasing a product.

Where Can You Find Copywriting?

First, let’s imagine that there is a new cafe that just opened down the street from your home.

What methods would they use to try and get new customers coming in through their front door after opening day?

  • Product Brochures
  • Direct Mail Postcards
  • Internet Advertisements
  • Radio Advertisements
  • Twitter/Facebook Page Promotions
  • Blog Posts and Promotions

How about a franchise used-car dealer that opened up in your city?

In addition to the above they may use…

  • Magazine Advertisements
  • Billboards
  • Catalogues
  • Press releases
  • TV Commercials
  • Sales Letters
  • Website Content
  • Sales Videos
  • Telephone Scripts
  • Newsletters
  • Posters

This is just a very quick list up, but copywriting can be involved in all of the above and a whole lot more. Whether it is writing from scratch or editing the existing text, when something needs to be promoted and sold, a copywriter is the knight in shining armor.

A copywriter may have the ability to do all of the above, or even focus on one field. For example a copywriter may be specialized in mail type advertising such as newsletters, sales letters and post cards.

A Copywriter’s Job

As stated above, a copywriter’s ultimate job is to make people take action through their words, which is called ‘copy’. These words are powerful to the point that they can trigger people’s inner desires, wants, curiosity and even fears.

So how is this important when doing a business?

To put it simply, the more effective the copy (more action is taken by the reader) the more sales it would lead to (conversions). A famous quote from John E. Kennedy, a pioneer of advertising and copywriting explains it in three words.

“Salesmanship in Print”

This is exactly it. A copywriter’s copy is a salesman for your product or service. Just like a hired salesman the copy will be the face of the product, reach out to customers and persuade them to say ‘Yes, I’ll take one!’ or ‘Sign me up!’.

And when you add that copy to an advertisement, let’s say 10,000 flyers then in a sense you have 10,000 salesmen going out and promoting your product. Compared to one salesman who can only make 5 sales calls and manage 2 client meetings in one day.

These words are vital to business. With the overflow of information now available in our society today, it is even more important for a business to convey a strong message that reachers their wanted customers.

Interested. But Where Do I Start?

The best place to start is with the basics. With the overwhelming abundance of information on the internet it is definitely more effective to go straight to the classics, rather than spending time searching.

You can get all the up-to-date info when you have built a more solid understanding!

Allocating time to read as many books as you can is a big mission and picking the right book for you isn’t always easy. So here is a brief list that featured a lot in copywriting book recommendations and the books that I actually read when I started my copywriting journey.

Tested Advertising Methods -by John Caples

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman

Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy

You can find these classic books sold on Amazon, and if you are tight with money, there is no harm in purchasing one second-hand!

In Addition Here Is A Must-Read!

The Gary Halbert Letter

It isn’t a book, but originally a paid newsletter that has made it’s way on to the internet with credible know-how and examples of copywriting and marketing. A valuable and free resource for aspiring copywriters!

Next articleWhat Type Of Copywriter Do You Want To Be?
The Boost Writing Team sorts useful copywriting advice from the web. Copywriting can be complicated. So we keep things simple so copywriters can spend less time rummaging through information and more time creating copy that converts.