by Amy Swift, Chief Product Officer,
Ladies Who Launch
As a copywriter for much of my career, I always used to wonder why struggling writers never turned to the world of advertising to make a living (while toiling away on their novels!).
Copywriting provided a lucrative career for me and one that gave me huge creative freedom, financial liberation, and the chance to work with some of the world’s most innovative art directors and graphic designers, as well as several leading brands.
What is copywriting? Creating copy (what you’re reading right now) is as simple as writing words—but true copywriting is actually more complicated. Copywriting is the skill of creating a message or explanation around a product or service, mostly with the intention of selling that product or service.
Examples of copy you may have seen before: Just Do It. Coke Is It. Don’t Leave Home Without It. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
These are all taglines that we have come to associate with major brands like Nike, Coke, American Express. A tagline is short, to the point, and, in the fewest possible words, describes what something does or is. There are many nuances and strategies behind taglines (but that is a different article!). Other types of copy could be supporting messages (sometimes called “romance copy”) that further describe a thing.
Example: Turns dry, brittle hair into smooth, lustrous locks.
This copy explains what the product does (a benefit promise) that you might see on a Web site or on product packaging.
Web copy tends to get fumbled the most. At Ladies Who Launch we see a fair number of early entrepreneurs, who may not have experience creating language that works online, take a stab at their own copy. The biggest problem is that they write exactly how they would talk. Web copy needs to be:
You need to say the most in the smallest amount of space and convey the message in a way that creates a “hook” without falling back on lazy man’s copy like exclamation points or spam attractors like “New and improved” or “Just in!”
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