What is Copywriting: A Basic Guide to Compelling Copy (+ Types)

by Sam Driver


Have you ever wondered, “What is copywriting, and how can I use it to create compelling content?”

Well, you’re in the right place!

This article isn’t just about defining copywriting; it’s about showing you, yes you, how to turn ordinary words into extraordinary messages that captivate your audience.

With actionable insights at hand, we’re about to explore the intriguing world of copywriting.

Ready to unlock the secrets of persuasive writing?

Let’s dive right in!

What is Copywriting?

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Ever found yourself captivated by a billboard while driving? Or perhaps, you’ve been drawn in by a well-crafted product description that painted such a vivid image, it felt as if the item was right in front of you.

If so, congratulations, you’ve encountered the persuasive power of copywriting!

But what exactly is copywriting?

In its most basic sense, copywriting is the art and science of writing text (also known as copy) for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing.

Its primary objective? To inspire action.

That action could be anything from making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, signing up for a free trial, or even shifting a reader’s mindset.

Copywriting is everywhere. It’s the catchy headline that draws you into a blog post, the compelling narrative that sells you a product, or the inspiring call to action (CTA) at the end of a charity appeal.

It’s a crafted blend of creativity, psychology, and market savvy that’s designed to catch your attention, engage your interest, and guide you towards a specific outcome.

It’s important to note that while the terms ‘copywriting’ and ‘content writing’ are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing.

Content writing is typically more informational and educational, creating long-form content like blog posts or articles designed to inform or entertain the reader.

Copywriting, on the other hand, is all about persuasion and conversion, crafting messages that spur readers into action.

Why is Copywriting Important?

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Picture this: an ad campaign filled with vivid images but no words, just silent messages.

Intriguing? Maybe.

Effective? Not so much.

This scenario illustrates the essential role copywriting plays in marketing. It’s like the voiceover in a movie trailer or the chorus in a catchy song — it adds personality, creates context, and tells a story that sticks.

Copywriting is more than just decorating your advertisements with words. It serves as the foundation of your brand’s voice and messaging.

Good copywriting breathes life into your brand, highlighting its uniqueness and showcasing its value proposition. It effectively communicates your brand’s personality, values, and promises to the audience, making it stand out in a sea of competition.

But the importance of copywriting extends even further.

Great copywriting doesn’t just sell products — it also builds relationships. It engages readers on an emotional level, appealing to their desires, needs, and aspirations. It creates a conversation that makes readers feel understood and valued, forging a deeper connection between them and your brand.

Let’s consider a simple example. Suppose you run an online bookstore.

Instead of just saying:

“Buy our books.”

A good copywriter might craft a message like:

“Lose yourself in a world of imagination. Discover your next great read today.”

The first message simply tells; the second one sells, evoking emotions and creating a more engaging and persuasive CTA.

Remember, the effectiveness of your marketing efforts largely hinges on the strength of your copywriting. No matter how visually stunning your graphics or how innovative your product, it’s the power of words that can seal the deal.

After all, copywriting is the art of selling with words.

5 Essential Types of Copywriting You Should Know

common types of copywriting list

Copywriting comes in many shapes and sizes, each suited to different marketing strategies. Let’s explore some of them…

1. SEO Copywriting

Ever wondered how some web pages always seem to have a VIP pass to the top spots in Google search results? That’s SEO copywriting doing its magic.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization copywriting, leverages keywords — those commonly searched terms that your audience types into search engines — to improve a website’s visibility and ranking.

When done right, SEO copywriting doesn’t just sprinkle keywords here and there like a chef adding spices to a dish. Instead, it masterfully weaves these keywords into engaging, readable content that both human readers and search engines love.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your business sells eco-friendly yoga mats. An SEO copywriter might use keywords like “best eco-friendly yoga mats,” “sustainable yoga gear,” or “green yoga products” in blog posts, product descriptions, and landing page content.

But the magic doesn’t stop at keyword use.

An ace SEO copywriter understands the importance of keyword density — not stuffing too many keywords into the text, which could make it read awkwardly and potentially lead to penalties from search engines.

They also know to create compelling meta descriptions and title tags, including keywords that entice clicks from search engine results.

Remember, the goal of SEO copywriting isn’t just to rank high in search results. It’s also about creating content that offers real value to your audience.

2. Social Media Copywriting

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Scrolling through your social feed and stopped by a compelling post? That’s social media copywriting. Social media copywriters are the wizards behind catchy tweets, compelling Facebook posts, riveting Instagram captions, and engaging LinkedIn updates.

Social media copywriting isn’t just about crafting a charming line or two. It requires a deep understanding of each platform’s dynamics, audience preferences, and the art of writing concisely.

A skilled social media copywriter knows how to utilize hashtags strategically, evoke emotions with emojis, and build an authentic connection with readers in as few as 280 characters.

For instance, let’s say you’re launching a new product.

Your Instagram post might use a vivid image along with a caption that tells a story about the product’s development.

Your tweet could be a short, punchy message with a call to action that sparks curiosity.

And the LinkedIn post might be more professional, focusing on the product’s benefits for businesses.

The power of social media copywriting is vast, ranging from boosting your brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and even skyrocketing sales with a single viral post. It’s the art of making every character count!

3. Technical Copywriting

Imagine trying to understand the mechanics of a new gadget without a manual.

Nightmare, right? That’s where technical copywriters step in.

They translate complex information into easy-to-understand language, creating user-friendly manuals, digestible white papers, and crystal-clear product descriptions.

Technical copywriting isn’t just about simplification, though; it’s also about precision. A great technical copywriter knows how to strike a balance between maintaining the accuracy of the technical details while keeping the language accessible to the target audience.

Consider the user manual of a new smartphone. The technical copywriter won’t just tell you to “turn the phone on.”

They’ll guide you through every step of the process, explaining where the power button is located, how long to press it, and what to expect once the device powers up. They turn daunting technical complexities into a smooth, user-friendly experience.

The magic of technical copywriting lies in its ability to enhance customer experience, reduce customer support issues, and contribute to the overall image of a brand as user-centric and reliable.

4. Email Copywriting

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Ever received an email that you just couldn’t ignore? Thanks to email copywriting.

Email copywriters specialize in crafting engaging content for newsletters, promotional emails, and more. Their primary goal is to create compelling subject lines and body copy that readers can’t resist opening, reading, and taking action on.

Email copywriting is an art of balance. A superb email copywriter knows how to pique curiosity with an irresistible subject line, maintain interest with concise and engaging content, and persuade with a compelling call to action – all while avoiding sounding too salesy or pushy.

Consider a promotional email for an upcoming sale.

A good email copywriter won’t just announce:

“We’re having a sale.”

Instead, they might say:

“Get ready to find your perfect style at a price you’ll love!”

They’ll craft a story around the sale, evoke the reader’s anticipation, and ultimately, motivate them to click through and shop.

With effective email copywriting, you can foster a deep connection with your audience, boost your email open and click-through rates, and significantly increase conversions. It’s the key to making every email count in your marketing strategy.

5. B2B Copywriting

Ever come across a detailed case study or a persuasive white paper that nearly had you reaching for your company credit card? That’s B2B copywriting working its persuasive powers.

B2B, or business-to-business copywriting, is about creating compelling content that businesses use to sell their products or services to other businesses.

This form of copywriting calls for a distinct voice — one that can speak the language of business, understand industry-specific challenges, and present clear-cut solutions.

Imagine a company selling customer relationship management (CRM) software to other businesses.

A skilled B2B copywriter doesn’t just list the features of the CRM software. Instead, they weave a story.

They might start by painting a picture of the common frustrations businesses face when managing customer interactions — disjointed information, missed follow-ups, lackluster customer service.

Then, they introduce the CRM software as the solution to these problems.

The masterful B2B copywriter knows how to articulate the value proposition convincingly. They understand that they’re not selling just a product or a service. They’re selling a solution to a problem, a pathway to success.

The Power of a Great Copywriter in Your Digital Marketing Plan

a chart showing a copywriting increase

Imagine your digital marketing plan as a well-oiled machine.

SEO optimizes your website, social media amplifies your reach, and your website copy seals the deal. It’s the well-crafted sales copy that pushes the reader from “just browsing” to “take my money!” 

So, do you hire a copywriter (or a copywriting service), or learn the invaluable skill yourself…

How to Become a Copywriter?

Eager to command the kingdom of words? Becoming a proficient copywriter doesn’t necessarily require an English degree or being a creative writing savant.

Instead, it hinges on understanding your audience, mastering the art of persuasion, and relentlessly refining your copywriting skills. So, consider the following:

  • Study great copy: Step into the shoes of your favorite brands. Read their advertisements, their emails, their social media posts. Dissect their words. Why does their copy work? What emotions does it trigger? How does it prompt you to act? Absorb their strategies and adapt them to your style.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Writing, like any other skill, improves with practice. Start by writing small ad copies, email subject lines, or even social media captions. Focus on making your words persuasive and engaging. As the saying goes, “write drunk, edit sober.” Get your ideas down, then refine them.
  • Seek feedback and learn: Show your work to others. A fresh pair of eyes can provide valuable perspective. Listen to the feedback, learn from it, and iterate your writing.
  • Understand your audience: Get into the mind of your readers. What motivates them? What are their needs, their desires, their fears? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your message to resonate with them.
  • Stay updated: Copywriting trends evolve just like everything else. Stay current with industry news, attend workshops, participate in webinars and online courses. The more you know, the better you become.

Remember, the key to becoming a superior copywriter lies in your understanding of your readers and what drives them.

With these steps in your toolbelt, you’re well on your way to making a mark in the realm of copywriting.

Looking to Hire a Copywriter?

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Hiring a copywriter isn’t just about finding someone who can string together beautiful sentences. It’s about bringing on board a strategic thinker, a listener, a word magician who can capture your brand’s essence and project it out to your audience.

  • Understand your needs: Are you looking for someone to write SEO-heavy blog posts, engaging social media content, or persuasive product descriptions? The type of copy you need will guide your hiring process.
  • Look for a good listener: A good copywriter listens before they write. They should be able to grasp your brand, your audience, and the message you wish to convey.
  • Review their portfolio: A look at their past work can provide insight into their writing style, tone, and versatility. Do they adapt their writing to the brand they’re writing for? Can they convey complex information in a simple, engaging way?
  • Consider their understanding of your industry: If you’re in a specialized industry, a writer with a solid understanding of your field may be advantageous. They’ll be able to craft copy that resonates with your specific audience.
  • Check their SEO knowledge: With the rise of digital marketing, SEO has become an integral part of copywriting. A copywriter who knows how to strategically use keywords will be an asset.
  • Test their skills: Consider setting up a small test project. This will give you a better sense of how they work, their creativity, and their ability to meet deadlines.

Hiring the right copywriter can make a significant difference to your content strategy. They can elevate your content, enhance your brand’s voice, and propel your marketing efforts forward.

Whether it’s crafting compelling ad copy, writing insightful blog posts, or improving your website copywriting, an adept copywriter is a priceless asset to any team.

Mastering the Art of Copywriting

So, you’ve made it this far. 

Bet you’re thinking, “Copywriting sure does pack a punch, doesn’t it?” 

And you’re absolutely right. 

It’s like holding the keys to a kingdom, your kingdom, where words reign supreme. 

But remember, mastering copywriting isn’t about outsmarting your reader; it’s about connecting with them, speaking their language, and sharing a story they can’t resist. 

Ready to make waves with your words?

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Sam Driver

Sam is an Associate Editor for Smart Blogger and family man who loves to write. When he’s not goofing around with his kids, he’s honing his craft to provide lasting value to anyone who cares to listen.


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Photo of author

Written by Sam Driver

Sam is an Associate Editor for Smart Blogger and family man who loves to write. When he’s not goofing around with his kids, he’s honing his craft to provide lasting value to anyone who cares to listen.

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