Whether you’re a freelance writer just starting out, or are looking for a new avenue to explore and exercise your talents, copywriting is another option available from standard writing techniques. Most people don’t realize there are some signature differences between ‘traditional’ writing and copywriting. Copywriting is essentially designed to sell; this is why you’ll find many marketing departments looking for copywriters who can meet specific guidelines and work only with a few particular brands in developing content. Standard writing, on the other hand, may involve facts, statistics, and angles that are designed to inform, argue, and sometimes persuade. Still confused? Here are five key differences between a writer and a copywriter.
First, a writer presents a topic while a copywriter raises awareness and grabs attention. Although many writers do a combination of both when they are creating material for publications and journals, the primary incentive for a standard writer is to ‘show and tell.’ Copywriters on the other hand will focus on a central message and proposal in an effort to sell.
Secondly, a writer’s purpose is to connect the content presented, while the copywriter’s purpose is intended to entice the reader to buy something. While the writer creates a balanced formula in developing each paragraph, the copywriter cuts everything down to short and succinct proportions in an effort to deliver a marketing message.
Third, a traditional writers make you think and ponder after reading the material, while a copywriter encourages action. If you’ve heard the term ‘call to action’ filtering from the marketing department, this refers to the specific keywords and sentences that will entice readers to do something. A writer does this as well, but in a much more subtle form.
A traditional writer attempts to connect with the reader on a personal level. This highlights parts of their personality, creating a relationship and helping the reader learn more about them every step of the way. A copywriter’s goal is to remove their personality from the final product; their aim is to create a situation where the reader connects with the product or idea itself.
Writers create content from an idea, while copywriters develop scripts. This is why advertising agencies and public relations departments refer to articles and text as ‘copy.’ Copywriting involves developing a systematic presentation of ideas through the use of language. Press releases are a good example of this; they follow a general template that is easily recognizable from other media or marketing materials. Most copywriters deveop and enhance each style according to specifications, but there are some consistent standards across all industries.
So there you have it, five key differences between a standard writer and a copywriter. If you have a marketing background, or simply a marketing mindset that has a way with words, venturing into the world of copywriting may be just what you need to shift gears for a while. You can be involved with anything from direct mail pieces to website content. Copywriting is a great avenue to explore as a freelance writer, and can give you a larger scope of projects to choose from!